A Good Night to Go Out

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Published on: Dec. 2, 2009

Last revision: Dec. 17, 2010

On the drive home from work, I watch the sun set in an orange sky, chased by a blanket of deep blue. The first stars are starting to show. Cool, clear and calm; I know it will be a good night to go out.

I pull into the driveway and look toward the dog pen. Inside are two fine hounds, both looking expectantly in my direction. As I get out of the truck and walk toward the house, they don’t bark or jump like they do on some days; they just stare and shiver, whining occasionally like dogs do when they seem to know what lies ahead.

When I stroll into the kitchen I am met with expectant looks from some other regular inhabitants—my two kids. Wyatt, 16 years old and usually focused on food, is finishing up refrigerator leftovers and Rozalyn, 12 years old and more studious, is finishing up homework.

After exchanging routine pleasantries about the day’s events, I say, “This sure would be a good night to go out.”

“I was thinking the same thing, Dad!” says Wyatt, as if he was just waiting for the right time, “Want me to get the dogs ready?”

“Hey, I wanna go, too!” Rozalyn adds, as she folds up her school work.

I stare up at the ceiling as if I am contemplating the situation. My wife, Cindy, who had been quietly watching the scenario unfold, gives me an odd look and rolls her eyes, knowing full well that she and I had discussed this before I left from work.

“Let’s do it!” I say, and that sets both of them into immediate action.

I swap my work clothes for coon-hunting garb, grab some supper-to-go and meet the kids outside at the truck. The dogs are already loaded in the dog box and the sound of their tails thumping against the wooden walls signals their excitement. I quickly go over the list of items needed: lights, dog leads, knife, rifle, bullets, water, GPS. After each item is called off it is followed by a “Check, Dad!” from Wyatt and Roz.

Satisfied that we have everything, we all hop into the truck and head for a place we nicknamed “Coon Paradise,” several large tracts of private land laced with row crop bottom land and wooded draws and hills, where the landowners have graciously granted us hunting privileges.

On the way to our hunting spot we laugh and joke, sing silly songs, and

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