Archives for August 2013

SD04137 Home On The Range

 SDTurkey2013 012Big skies, great plains.  Deceiving to the naked eye, sheltered by an endless soft blue breezy sky and camouflaged as one giant flat tundra.  Some would call this place a rugged, barren wasteland, unfit for habitation.

 But I know better. 

This place is a vast expanse of exquisite natural beauty, teeming with wildlife.  The lone birds cry, the coyotes yelp, my breath on the morning mist. Heavy sage, scented landscapes, flaring nostrils.  Sparse tufts of long grass amidst rock and SDTurkey2013 039cactus feed both predator and prey. Clusters of spindly trees and brush, tucked into narrow draws, clashing and twisting upwards, hoping to reach up to feel the suns rays one day, shelter the furred and feathered alike.  

 Wide open steel blue emptiness to the horizon, the occasional tumble weed rolling across country screams of determination and perseverance.  The epitome of benevolence.  Unwavering guts and grace.  Where the circle of life spins fair odds for the hunter and the hunted.  Be it the hare, snake, hawk, coyote, or man. 

Where the great mother earth challenges all to face the elements fearlessly, SDTurkey2013 031constantly; recording her daily losses, carrying the burden of proof that life can exist here.

Under a canopy of white billowing clouds, this place is a safe haven for all creatures that dare roam its hills and valleys; while posing as a certain death barrier for those less able to.

 And I, marveling at the good fortune of being here in this lonely callous prairie, boldly stand on point, always posturing for what might happen next.  Stealth, sturdy focus on feeding my passion and my belly.  Rain falling hard like tears of countless other creatures that canvassed this terrain before me. Sand heavy wind, whipping  tiny stings like needles, pelting me to resolve.  Ever prepared to be swallowed up into its mass body of dirt and rock, this wild place of challenge, of bitter odds and high stakes, I stalk the land with keen senses, and strong confidence.  Present me with opportunity, fair and square. On wild terms.

Drop me into these Great Plains to wander down the draws, up the hills, through the grasses and across the creeks.  Drop me onto the prairie to roam with the cattle, follow hoofed trails and turned rocks, and at the end of the day cradle me in a golden cast valley of soft blowing grasses to rest.  Keep me from the modern worlds crazy noise.  Protect me, provoke me, discard me. With wind in my face, sun on my back, and senses pumping strong I hunger to be connected to the soft whisper of the Great Plains.  I long for the escape to solitude, satisfaction, and resSDTurkey2013 016olution.  I yearn for the haunting call of the wild, the chase, capture and celebration of success.  Find me.  Feed me.  Fold me into the bareness of the land and the richness of the soil.  I too, am of this earth.

 Call to me, carry me, keep me home on the range.

SD04136 Hello Honey

Enough is enough.  I’ve been up and down and round and around the terrain so many times I am recognizing individual drops of scat and grains of dirt on the ground.  Twice I went into town to purchase a coyote-management rifle, only to find the pawn shop closed.  I am hot and tired.  Very tired.  Everything hurts.  My blind has been a welcome retreat more than once.  It is harder by the minute to remain positive and hopeful.

SDTurkey2013 014Three turkeys in six days?  Ha. What was I thinking?  It’s been eight days and I still have not harvested even one bird!  But not for lack of trying.  God knows I’ve been trying.  But it’s always something.  Jim is taking pity on me.  Thinks perhaps I’m due for another morning of him running my butt up and down the hills to get my spirits back up.

Yeah, I could use the moral support.

So it’s agreed we leave first thing in the morning.  We make the drive from camp out to the top of the road along the fence line as the first hint of the morning sun pastes a light glow on the horizon.  We sit silently in the truck, glassing to the west, the north, and the south.


One glance to each other, and we are out of the vehicle and heading across the top of the prairie to the east.


Our pace is brisk.  The wind is just strong enough to keep from breaking a sweat.  


That one came from the west.  We stop dead in our tracks. 

“what do you think?”

“well, what do you think?”

“I think path of least resistance, and if it doesn’t pan out, then go after the other birds.”

“Ok.”  And we continue on to the east.


Our pace quickens.  I swear he can cover a mile a minute.  Jim is on his 3rd cigarette, and I am falling behind, as usual.  I look like the Taliban, sweating profusely under my camo garb, I sound like a cardiac emergency, and am humping along 50 yards behind him.

At least it seems like that.

Jim takes a sharp left down a game trail, drops into a draw, and leans against the side of the hill.  Eventually I drop down next to him with a heavy sigh. I know where we are.  About two miles from the truck.

“I think we should set up the decoys here, and just wait it out.”

“Sounds marvelous!”


We fuss around setting up decoys until I think Pretty Boy and The Girls look ‘just right’. 

Then we wait.

Friends don’t let friends hunt alone.  Friends don’t let friends get into places that would be dangerous either.  Jim decides to leave my side, to go look over that next hill.  Well……okay.  I know he wants to go have another cigarette.

And he is gone.

Hard to believe how many body parts can begin to loose feeling when you are hunched down on the side of a hill for an hour.  That goofy warm fuzzy feeling of numbness in the feet, the legs, the butt, the hands, the arms…….after an hour or more, what isn’t numb? Still, I crouch ready to shoot the first bird I see.  Jim is long gone.  Probably fell asleep on the other side of that hill.  I could use a nap myself…I’ve completely lost interest in staring down my decoys, and start nodding off. 

Suddenly I catch a glimpse of movement to my right. SDTurkey2013 011

I shift my weight to better glance to the right. 

Well slap me silly it’s a hen!  She’s too far.  Can I get closer?  Oh!  I try to shift again to get feeling back in the legs.

“foooshhh, foooosh, whhhoooooop-whhhhhoooppp” the flutter of giant wings to my left sends me reeling the other way, to discover a jake making his escape flight low across the bottom of the hill behind me. 

So caught off guard, I don’t even have a chance to shoot!

I am surrounded by birds.

I quickly turn my attention back to the hen.  She is out of sight. Suddenly her head pops up from behind a ridge.  She is part of a string of birds—about 60 yards away.  One, two…three….five……….six birds in a row, making their way around this whole hill and decoy set up.

Where is Jim?

I am weighing out the idea of going after these birds that are sneaking up behind me, or focus on the possibility that another bird or two will appear over the top like the jake. If I jump up and go after them I will be exposed to everything else out there.  How bad do I want a hen?

And where is Jim?  Hopefully not between me and the birds.

The line of birds are now over yet another small hill behind me, and a good football field away.  I turn back to the decoys, and survey the area that jake came from.

Suddenly I spot frantic, flailing movement on the top of the hill.  It’s Jim.  It’s Jim, on his knees, making wild hand signals. 

What the…..?

He is pointing down, making the binocular signal, the shooting a bow signal, the “very big buck” signal,  pointing, waiving, and I have no clue what he is actually trying to say, until he begins to seemingly motion me to come up the hill.


Well, okay.  I begin to skirt up the hill.  As I get closer, he raises up his hands over his head, extending an antler.  Is that what this is all about?  He found an antler?  Good grief.  I stop and stand there looking up at him, shaking my head.  Suddenly another bird busts through the trees on the far side of the hill, completely out of range.

Jim is back to pointing down, jumping up and down and pointing down and motioning me to come forward.  I continue up the hill, staring deep into the brushy ground with each cautious step.  There must be something there.  Oh, sure, it would have to be between me and him.  I motion him to get out of my possible line of fire.  He drops out of sight. 

Well, that’s almost worse.  Now where the heck is he?  As I pause with concern, suddenly right before me a big black blob rises straight up from the brush, massive wings exploding out of the dirt, heavy thrusts heaving it 6,10, 15 feet up while gaining twice as far a distance away from me, veering to my left.

Well hello, honey!

Instantly my gun is up and I am firing.  Firing. Firing.  Feathers flying.  Smoldering hot powder smell.  Black blob tumbling in mid-air. Tumbling, tumbling… of feathers drifting…drifting….




“Woooooooo hoooooooo!  Woooh!  Wooooh!  Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”


Laughing, crying, screaming,  I am so far beyond the Snoopy dance it’s ridiculous.  Jims head pops up over the hilltop, I am running to the fallen bird, screaming “I shot a turkey! I shot a turkey! I got one! I got one! I did, I got one!” He makes his way back down the hill just in time for me to body slam him a huge jumping up and down hug. I am overcome with out of this world excitement.  He is laughing. I am laughing.  I am trying to gather up the beautiful plumes scattered all over the ground.  We get to the bird. 

“Yup, you shot a bird all right. At least I think it was a bird.”  he smirks.

Okay so I got a little over zealous with the shooting.  What can I say?  It’s been a morning.  I just wanted to make sure this one didn’t get away. 

After a quick photo shoot session, we break down the decoys, I gather up my fine hen, and we begin our two mile journey back to the vehicle.  Jim is proudly carrying his half a six point rack.  I have my turkey proudly slung across my back.  What a great friend, putting up with all this crazy.  Bet he doesn’t get this much entertainment with “the guys”.

We walk shoulder to shoulder for almost 5 minutes with me talking a mile a minute about the shot before I start to SDTurkey2013 086fall behind.

Yes, I the stealth hunter, have harvested me a wild turkey this fine May 9th morning.

SD04135 Dog Town

At first glance, they are kind of cute.  Chubby little fur balls, sitting up on their hind legs as though they are begging for a treat or a pat on the head.  A field of fur balls.  Maybe a hundred of them, all looking around, quizzically, wanting that pat on the head. 

 Such timid little creatures.  At the first sign of movement, sound or danger they dash across the ground and scurry inSDTurkey2013 038to their holes.  Amazing such short little legs and such a roly poly body can move that fast!  Once they are safe in the hole, they intermittently rise up out of their holes with that same quizzical look and begin to chirp the official “alarm”. Back and forth, back and forth, chirping to each other, so there is no misunderstanding throughout the town, THEY HAVE IDENTIFIED A THREAT.  The alarm doesn’t stop until the threat is gone. 

 “The hills are alive, with the sound of… prairie dog……”  wait, that’s the wrong lyrics to that song…..

 If you have set up a blind near their town and they spot you—well—that’s when they stop being so cute. Suddenly the cute fur ball transforms into the rodent that it actually is. The bubonic plague carrying rodent that it actually is.  Hours of that shrill chirp is far from being cute.  A few minutes of that shrill chirp, and you are wishing you’d also carried a .22 250 with a scope.  Remember that video game “whack a mole”?  Now you get the picture. 

 The prairie dog is a highly social, territorial, and very industrial animal.  Did you know that one prairie dog will dig a tunnel maybe 50 feet long and 5 to 10 feet deep, with probably 6 different entrance holes, and no other prairie dog is allowed in that domain unless it is in imminent danger?  Each prairie dog has its own tunnel system which has at least 3 compartments; a food area, a birthing area and a living area.  Male dogs may have several females, each producing offspring. Once a prairie dog reaches adolescence, it is kicked out of the family hole and must create its own tunnel system.   One 40 acre “dog town” can have hundreds of residents.

 That’s a lot of tunnels.

That’s a lot of holes.

Not to mention, that’s a lot of prairie dogs.

 It’s a wonder that the whole darn works doesn’t just collapse when the cows come through trying to graze.  Certainly, the farmers get tired of the infestations of prairie dog rodents eating what little grass is out there. Oh, wait, sometimes the ground does collapse under a hoof, and that’s one of the reasons ranchers lose their cattle.  A cow may fall through a hole, break a leg, and become lame and an easy mark for coyotes.  Oh, but don’t punish the prairie dogs!  I think the activists call that “aerating and fertilizing the ground so more plant life can flourish”. 

 Hmmm, I call it more good reasons to take aim on the fur balls. 

 But despite all that, there are a few benefits to prairie dogs.  Yes they are destructive, and yes, they are a pain in the rear.  They don’t seem to serve a positive purpose, other than….dare I say… practice?  But, they are a food source for many other animals.  Eagles and coyotes are two, but surprisingly, the prairie dog rodents are also important to the endangered Black Footed Ferrett from the weasel family. 

 Not that I know about this because I actually saw one on my Turkey Trail several years ago, causing a stir in the Dog Town until it finally outsmarted a female dog, got down into a hole and… well…had dinner? Hard to say what I really saw.  I’m sure that little black and white face could have been some “other” weasel type creature……anyway……

 Ranchers typically welcome shooters onto their property to thin down the dog towns. 

 Activists want people to adopt the prairie dogs and bring back the 95% of their numbers that have been exterminated. 



(this space represents massive bursting a gut while laughing out loud)



Me, I just want them to shut the heck up when I’m trying to hunt turkeys near their town.  And of course, I want to continue to be able to rise to the occasion and do my part to help out any rancher who asks for my help.

SD04134 Old Timers Rules

The main town near the area I’m turkey hunting is like a blast from the old west past.  Guaranteed the kids in this town are not only playing “good guy-bad guy” at recess, but they are likely playing Lone Ranger and Tonto, Cops and Robbers, and Cowboys and Indians.  I bet they all have their own personal arsenals of toy guns. At home, they likely have a couple real .22’s thrown in there too for some target practice.

What in the world is wrong with that?  Absolutely nothing.   

As I get out of my truck and head to the supper club, the fairly rhythmic sound of gunfire can be heard in the distance.  The sound of perhaps a round of trap or skeet.  While I perk up to the sound, it goes unnoticed by everyone around me.

 What in the world is wrong with that?  Absolutely nothing!

I, for one, am not afraid to stand up and say I’m disappointed and concerned at the direction our culture is shifting.  The American culture has gotten so out of hand.  In the midst of our ever present demand for freedom, equality, and fairness, rules and laws are being drafted that in effect, take away our rights, more than protect them.  Self appointed know-it- alls, opinionated, emotional and extreme in their views seem to have pushed our culture over a ledge that is creating a free fall of ridiculousness we may never come out of.

It’s not politically correct to call a sports team the Indians.  It’s not politically correct to call a nut case a nut case.  It’s not politically correct to exercise ones freedom of speech for fear of being accused of being racist, alienating someone or something….. It’s not politically correct to discipline your kids.  It’s not politically correct to stand up for simple common sense reprieves from the sensationalized media and bleeding heart mentalities and say “bull crap, MY kids are going to own and play with squirt guns—so get over it!”

Admittedly, the sound of the gunfire off in the distance would really make me nervous at home in the city.  I’d be locking the doors and getting out the Smith and Wesson. The sound doesn’t frighten me out here.  It feels natural.  The “Pop! Pop! Pop, pop pop!”  makes me wish I was with those people instead of sitting here ordering food.

As I sit eating lunch in the local supper club I overhear some old timer rancher-farmers talking behind me.  It sounds something like this:

Ed: Damn liberals.  Did you see the news?

Earl: Ya, what er they thinking, all this fuss about the guns?

Ed: Those schools are going crazy.  Closing schools because of a piece of paper?

Steve:  (chuckling)He, he he…remember back in school Earl?  Hell the school parking lot was full of guns.  Hell all us kids had guns in our cars or on us.  Teachers, too.  It was faster to count who DIDN’T have a gun.

They all laugh.

Ed: Yeah, how the hell would we manage the coyotes otherwise?

Steve:  Shoot, Ed, you couldn’t hit one if it stood and posed for you.

Earl: But no one ever shot no one neither. 

Steve: Nope they didn’t.

Ed: My pop would have tanned my ass if I mishandled a gun.  So would that Mrs. Gardner in 7th grade. Steve knows all about that, dontcha Steve?

Steve: (chuckling) that woman!  Boy if you did any misbehavin or disrespect, that woman would smack ya with the ruler and chap yer ass! 

Earl: Yeah I remember that old battle axe too.  She got me a few times for not minding my manners.

Steve: And now everyone goes to jail for disciplinin’ a kid.  There’s no rules; there’s no respect!

Ed: Yeah, the damn kids have more rights than the parents.

Steve: Yeah.  The whole problem starts at home.  The family unit is gone.  There’s no more family unit. We may not a had a pot to piss in, but we had family….rules….respect…and no one ever even thought about blowin stuff up or shootin people.

Earl: Yeah, boy you didn’t talk back to your folks.  Always did what they said.

Steve:  Yup.  Sure did.  So, did ya get them lambs sheared then?

Ed: Yes we did.  Golly that was a day. Still need to do a head count.  May have lost a couple to the coyotes. 

Earl:  Better get out there on the ridge and shoot some b’fore we’re down to chasing ‘em off with sticks.

Steve:  Oh them damn liberals will find a reason to outlaw sticks, too….

Ed: Yeah they should get their sorry asses out here’n do some of this work.  See what they think then.

The men break into laughter and drink their beers.

Out of the mouths of babes…..or senior citizen ranchers, actually.

I’ve always been a firm believer that there is much to learn from our elders.  These guys, are a classic example. Tucked away in the remote reaches of South Dakota, a few good men have their heads on straight and speak the truth most of our culture will never hear, and certainly never comprehend.  The idea that this wise generation is fading away scares me to pieces.

And it should scare you too. 

SD04133 A Revelation in Loss and Turkeys

Day after day, up at 3:30 am, back at 10:00 pm, hiking up and down miles of steep plains hills of NorthWest South Dakota, searching for a hint of gobbler action.  Glassing and glassing the hills, canvassing the ravines and draws, walking miles and miles a day without success.  Feeling it in the legs, the Gluteus Maximus, the arms, the back, the neck, the pretty much everything, including places I didn’t even know I have.  Despite mass quantities of ibuprofen, every step feels like lead weights are dragging me down into the barren ground.  Yet I press on, determined to harvest a bird.

Sure there are the occasional spot and stalks across country mixed in there, the ones that seem to be leading up to a perfect execution in calling prowess.  The occasions where, after hours of crawling and calling and entertaining turkey ritual and dance, the birds are finally lured toward my decoys –only 100 yards away.  The ones where, after hours of crawling and calling and entertaining the ritual and dance, my efforts are only to be foiled on their final approach by lightening speed coyotes that arrive out of nowhere, determined to run the birds in the opposite direction.  Not once, not twice, but three times!  Yet I press on, determined to harvest a bird, now adding coyotes to the hit list.

And then this afternoon, I follow a new draw down to the bottom.  It’s a lovely, slow walk through scrub oaks and buck brush, laced with pheasants, a few deer, and even a porcupine.  No gobbles though.  Dead silent.   Still, I keep meandering along the draw to the bottom until reaching the old railroad road.  I walk about a mile down it, stopping to listen and glass along the way.  No gobbles.  But it’s early, and I know there were birds here before.  So, I decide to wait it out.  Two and a half hours go very slowly when one is sitting in a cluster of bushes and small trees, filled with wood ticks.  Killing ticks with small branches and flat rocks can become quite the recreational activity.  It can make two and a half hours feel like ten years.  Especially without one iota of turkey talk.  So at 7:15 I decide to stand up and stretch.

“Gobblegobblegobblegobblegobble!”  Holy hanna that sounds close!  Coming from my right! I freeze in anticipation.  No time for binoculars. 

“Gobblegobblegobblegobblegobble!”  OH my goodness he is getting closer!  I bet he is coming right to me!

“Gobblegobblegobblegobblegobble!”  Out of the corner of my eye  I see him walking right on down the railroad road.  Right down to me.  He’s all alone.  I have waited a long time for this.  It has been a long day.  A long bunch of days!  Finally.  Here he is, and it was meant to be!

 “Gobblegobblegobblegobblegobble!”   As he is shielded by thick brush I raise my gun into position and take a deep breath.  And another.  I want this to be perfect.  Wait….wait……here he comes…..wait til he gets to the little clearing in the brush to shoot through….one more step….focus, focus…aiming…aiming…

BOOOMMMM!  My 20 gauge expels a perfectly placed 4shot shell through the brush.

The bird jumps up and gracefully lands in the same spot. 

And stands there.

What? I am dumbfounded.   What?  He takes a couple steps to the side, and casually looks around.  He looks like he is supposed to be meeting someone.   Hell yeah, it’s me.

BOOOMMMM!  My 20 gauge expels another perfectly placed 4shot shell through the brush.

He glances side to side, eyeballs into the brush I’m in, then opens up and flaps his great wings two times, turns around, lifts off the ground in slow motion, and simply glides across a huge field and over the tree line.


Without hesitation I leap out from around the little trees, dash up the bank, over the railroad road, and start running across the field, crying out,

“You are MINE!  You are MINE DAMMIT!  ARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!   You are supposed to be mine!” 

Half way across the field I am getting winded, I’m hot, sweat running down my forehead into my eyes, burning, I feel tears welling up and I stop running.  I stand in the field now crying out;

“Dammit I waited for you!  I waited for you, it was supposed to be!”   I drop to the ground, sobbing.  “How can you just fly away?  How can you just leave me?  Ohhhhh God!  I just can’t do this alone anymore!”  Now I am a bawling baby in the middle of the open field. 

We were supposed to be.  Hours pass as I cry and cry and cry in that field.  All that waiting.  All that patient waiting for just the right time.  The perfect circumstances for us to finally connect.  It was so meant to be!  How could he just fly off like that?  How could he leave me like that?

But that bird is now long gone.  Gone forever. 

Exhausted, I lift my head up, look around me and wipe the tears away on my sleeve.  The hills areSDTurkey2013 013 cast golden from the setting sun.  There is a soft breeze. The grass is flowing like rippling water.  Songbirds are flitting about and chirping.  I am surrounded by rugged beauty.  I am surrounded by challenge and opportunity.  Life.  There is so much to be thankful for even though he is gone.  I realize none of this is about the turkey.  He was simply the messenger, sent to tell me something. 

The only thing to do now, is to get up off my ass, brush myself off, and go find another bird.

SD04132 Jimmy K

A true reflection of his environment, he is a rugged man of the earth, with a million dollar smile.  Jimmy K could charm a rattlesnake with his bashful grin and boyish looks.  His leather tanned skin makes it hard to tell if he is forty, fifty, sixty or a hundred.  But that smile, when he turns that smile on, age becomes completely irrelevant.

He grew up out here in this desolate place.  Hasn’t ever strayed very far.  Steady, sturdy, and stealth, few can keep up with Jimmy K in the field, or would even try.  As luck would have it, I am one of those few who does try. 

Let me just say, a day on the plains with Jimmy K makes boot camp look like romper room.  He knows the area like the back of his hand.  He knows where every bush, brook and boulder is.  He knows where every bird is roosted, deer is bedded, and creature is burrowed.  With a quick glance up he knows exactly what time it is.  He knows if that ominous dark sky will reach us, and by when.

When we go out exploring his “back yard” it’s not all fun and games.  After all, he wears many caps, and doesn’t always have a lot of free time.  He may be up  hours before dawn, and not come home from his many obligations until almost midnight, so when he gets to go out and “play”, be ready!  His sure footed, quick step pace up and down the hills cannot even be slowed with a 60lb pack of gear.  Hard as I try to stay at his side, often I fall behind, gasping for air, questioning my capability since I try so hard to take care of myself and work out regularly, eat healthy, get proper rest……SDTurkey2013 085


Finally he will stop and light up a smoke while I catch up.  How ironic. 


Somehow, he seems to find the tallest peaks to climb just to get to the other side of the hill.  Somehow, though it seems there couldn’t possibly be another sign of life out on the plains, he will come up on game galore just around the next draw, nine out of ten times. 

Jimmy K is a quiet, reserved man.  He always has plenty to do.  He has a heart of gold.  If he is not out chasing critters in the vast wild of the Great Plains, he volunteers much of his time to the Moose Club, and runs the local chapter and caters events for most of the towns in the area.  He accepts challenges and responsibility well beyond normal expectations.  I often wonder how he gets it all done.  Plus he puts up with me, borrows me his gun and gear, shares his best hunting spots with me, listens to my hair brain ideas, and is always there when it counts.  That says a lot, too. 

What a blessing to be able to call Jimmy K a friend of mine.

SD04131 The Turkey Plan

Flexibility is key in life, and turkey hunting. 

 April 3rd

Still on the way home from Florida—Just got the news about Mikel.  I need to get home, quick unpack, pack and be ready to get back on the road to South Dakota after Mikel’s funeral.  

 April 6th

What?  Lynn will be in town for her Grammas funeral as well?  Her and the dogs will stay with me at the house. I will leave right after the funerals.  Hopefully that puts me in turkey camp by the 14th at the very latest.

 April  10th 

There seems to be some problem with getting Mikel home.  I will wait to find out more. In the meantime, how do I find room for Lynn, her dogs, and now a handyman to all stay at my house by tomorrow?

 April 13th

News that Mikel will not be coming home, there will be a Celebration of Life ceremony instead. It is scheduled for the 27th.   In the meantime, my house is full of people, dogs, and construction chaos. Guess I won’t be leaving for turkey camp tomorrow.

 April 15th 

It’s just as well that I am waiting until after Mikel’s Celebration Of Life Ceremony takes place to head west.  I’m not feeling so chipper about things these last few weeks.  Although I’m quite overwhelmed with all the house guests, at least I have gotten my kitchen sink fixed.

 April 17th

So much is spilling through my mind.  I want details. I want the circumstances.  I want to have a pulse on how the family is managing.  I really have no business wanting all this, yet I want it.  I want to hear it was a mistake, and that it didn’t really happen.  I want to hear he is alive and well, and we still have time for that talk….

 Instead, I am stepping around precariously in my house as it is under construction.   

 April 19th

I want room to move.  Privacy to scream and cry.  I want a bathroom that is fully functioning.  I want at least one of the many projects underway to actually get completed.  I want to feel like I am making headway here….I want my house back.  I want my dreams back.


I guess we all want something.


April 21st

Lynn has left with her dogs. Somehow, I want to scream and cry even more…. Oh, I’ve got to stop reading through all these old letters and do something productive….

 April 24th 

I need to escape.  Go turkey hunting.  Forget about the mess, the loss, the pain, grief, frustration, disappointment…all of it.  I will plan to leave right after the ceremony.  When is the ceremony?  The 27th.  There are things I want to prepare for the ceremony.  The toy hauler is almost all packed.  I have my blinds, decoys, calls, clothes, back pack,  gun, bow,  ammo, knives, some raingear, and miscellaneous gear for all of those “just in case” situations.  Dog food and accessories, work gear, my pre-made meals and a few special treats.  My live-in handy man now has the guest room, and a list that should keep him plenty busy while I am away.  I should come home to much less chaos. 


Sometimes we get what we need.  That time is coming soon for me.  If I can just hang in there a few more days.


April 27th

The day is not ending well for me.  The Celebration Of Life is turning out to be more challenging than I imagined.  Closure does not seem to be on today’s list of things to receive.  Another beer?

 April 28th 

Oh, I can’t seem to pull myself together today.  Staying under the covers seems to be a good idea.  I’ll just stay here for a few more minutes….or hours…..or perhaps the whole day….what has happened to the day?

 April 29th 

Enough!  It’s time to get back to the plan.  Finally, it’s time to snap to it, get up and go to South Dakota!

3:00 am:  get up, load up the dogs, my food, and get on the road by 4:00

4:00 am–1:30 pm:  drive, plan on several rest and gas stops

1:30 pm:  I will hit Mobridge

1:30–6:30 pm:  set up camp

6:30–8:00 pm:  visit with Jim, prepare for an early morning walk to listen for birds 

If I am lucky, I’ll have taken 2 birds within the first 5 days with my 20 gauge, then spend the remainder of the time bowhunting for my 3rd feathery prize.  I should be home with a load of birds by the 9th or 10th of May.

Pretty lofty goal, but what the heck?   

I will do this for me. 

I will do this for us. 

I will do this.

All aboard for the South Dakota Great Plains.