His Old Coat

Discussion in 'General Wisconsin Hunting' started by spinner, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. spinner

    spinner Staff Member

    It is a classic. The padded shoulder and many
    pockets for game and shells. Inside the pockets there
    are memories. Memories of years past.

    As a young boy I always waited for my father to
    announce we were going hunting. Usually our dog Ginger
    gave out the first alarm when my dad took the hunting
    coat off the hook near the gun cabinet.

    She would howl and run around like her tail was on
    fire. Her body would quiver because she was so
    excited about going hunting. My dad would even pump
    her up a little. Ask her if she wanted to go get some
    Chippies (squirrels) or dirty birds (pheasants). She
    howled so much that my mother would kick all three of
    us out the door.

    We would load up the dog and make an inventory of
    what we had in the pockets of Dad's Old Coat. If we
    were going squirrel hunting...It was checking for the
    .22 shells for Dad and the .410 shells for me. It was
    a ritual. We had to have the squirrel call and 2
    plastic bags for the squirrels

    The same ritual was made during pheasant season.
    The plastic bags and the 20 gauge shells for the
    doublebarrelled 20 gauge. We usually loaded one of the
    pockets with candy bars. Both of us are sweet tooths.
    Not to mention the dog.

    The coat was also used for many duck and rabbit
    adventures. There was one thing that was always the
    same about each outing. It was that my mother would
    come out to bid us farewell before each venture into
    the outdoors. I can still remember her speech.
    She would tell me the same thing every time.
    "Guns are not toys." "Treat your gun like it is always
    loaded." " Always identify your target." "When in
    doubt do not shoot."

    Mom had a different speech for dad. His speechs
    varied from season to season. It usually ended by my
    mother looking at my Dad's Old Coat and telling him
    that she was going to wash that NASTY thing when he
    arrived home. It was a joke between my dad and mom..
    Mom knew that if she washed the coat it would take
    all of the magic and memories out of the pockets. She
    really didn't like the tattered blood stained thing
    that my father called a coat......but she knew that
    she should NEVER wash it.

    Many adventures came and went during my childhood.
    I added a few stains to the pockets and I took over
    the ritual of checking the pockets as each season came
    and past. I kept the coat ready for the next outing
    I always pestered my dad about the coat. I
    told I wanted one just like it. He would kid me and
    tell me that it was one of a kind and that he would
    give me the coat when I grew in to it. I remember
    showing him a catalog with a coat that looked like his
    and telling him that the coat came in my size. He
    finally explained to me that he was NOT going to buy
    me a coat like his. He said that coats are grown into
    not purchased. He had been given that coat by his
    father and that I would be given the coat when i grew
    in size and hunting skills.

    Years flew by. It is 1984. I had just got out of
    the Army. I went home to visit my mother. She picked
    me up at the airport. We talked all the way home. She
    told that my father would have been very proud of me
    if he were still around. Dad passed away in 1967 of a
    heart attack while deer hunting. I was 10 years old
    when he died.

    I stayed with my mother for the first few months
    after getting out of the army. Fall came and I had the
    itch to go hunting. I put my army coat on and took the
    410 out of the gun cabinet.. I filled the pockets with
    the proper tools. A squirrel call and 2 plastic bags..
    I took a couple candy bars from the kitchen and was
    headed out the door.

    My mother stopped me as i left. She said "Are you
    prepared for hunting?" I was little taken aback by the
    question. I told her: "Of course." She told that I had
    forgetten a key part of my hunting adventure.
    We went back into the house. I was little befuddle
    at what my mom was up to She led me to the gun
    cabinet. She reached to the hook on the side of it and
    grab IT. She said " It should fit now."

    "I am going to wash that NASTY thing when you get
    back." She smiled and sent me on my way.

  2. most of my memories of my dad was hip waders,
    good story

  3. buck83

    buck83 Guest

    Great story! It caused me to reflect on some of the great memories my father and I had when I was growing up.