Snipe Hunting ANYONE?
[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
My dad’s side of the family has a “take no hostage” kind of humor. It isn’t for wimps. I have developed a cynical kind of humor because of them, the kind of humor that not everyone “gets.” . I don’t say that in a bragging kind of way, I say it in an I-have-laid-on-the-shrink’s- sofa-and-evaluated-myself-and-came to-terms-with-it kind of way.
Case and Point: According to Wikipedia the snipe (a family of shorebirds) is difficult to catch for even the most experienced hunters, so much so that the word “sniper” is derived from it to refer to anyone skilled enough to shoot one.
I put that in here to ease the battered memories of my own youthful snipe hunting experience, which had very little to do with expertise, unless you count the cunningness of my two very mischievous uncles, Mark and Daniel. (No I did not change the names to protect the innocent, as innocent they were not and payback is everything).
Wikipedia goes on to state, “A snipe hunt is a form of wild goose chase that is also knows as a ‘fool’s errand.’” Okay”. Here we go, this sounds like the snipe hunt I know about.
If memory serves, I was in the neighborhood of 13-14 when my “way too to cool” older uncles (16-17 years old) decided I was old enough to hunt with them. My grandparents lived just down the road from us and had a huge pasture behind their home, the perfect location for snipes according to my uncles. I was thrilled. I loved spending time with these guys; they were funny, smart, popular, and had fast cars, all of which was so appealing to this would-be Daisy Duke.
With flashlight in hand, I sat out in the dark with a garbage bag and the perfect quacking noise to catch the coveted snipe. Sure, I felt stupid at first, but there I was quacking with the best of them. After a few short lessons they were off in another direction.
Soon, I was feeling a little defeated. Then I heard uncle Mark yell from somewhere across the field (or maybe, as I look back, the back porch of my grandpa’s house), telling me that maybe I needed to get down on the ground and crawl on my belly, as snipes “don’t fly.” Not wanting to disappoint or go “all girly,” I took the instruction. I am not too sure how long this went on before I caught on…probably until their laughter could be heard all over the coulee. “Ha-ha,” I said, madder than a hornet. I knew that they had got me, and boy was I mad. Of course the anger and humiliation only lasted until the next road trip.
I appreciate family and the rites of passage; I look back and am so grateful that they cared enough to bring me into the fold. I love the innocence of those days and how nothing was done out of wanting to hurt me, just family tradition. They were the youngest of five; knowing my dad and Uncle Wes, I knew I had been handled with kid gloves compared to what those two dished out to Mark and Daniel. I learned a lot from my uncles as I was growing up, of course mostly that they couldn’t be trusted.