The actual hunting is only a part of it. We don’t hunt for the trophies, we hunt for the meat…as a way to provide for our family. Once the deer is down, the real work begins. Growing up, every year dad got a deer it was the same thing…he’d bring home the deer and hang it up in the shop to cure. A few days later, we’d clear off the dining room table, set up an assembly line and cut and wrap the deer.
When I was Rylee’s age, I was in charge of the tape. I always so bummed all I got to do was the tape. If I was lucky I’d get to help label too. As I got older, and my sisters moved away, I was promoted to wrapper. When Andy came into the picture, he joined in our assembly line. Once we had kids, one of us would be on hand for cut & wrap and the other on kid duty. Sometimes my dad’s siblings will be there to help out. This year, my sister’s boyfriend got to join in the fun while my sister…uhhh…supervised. Our assembly line has changed many times over the years but one thing remains the same: it’s time we all come together and share in a family tradition that I have so many fond memories of.
This year I really looked forward to gathering around the table. This is the first year Rylee has been old enough to participate. After we all ate dinner, Andy took Reese home for bed and Ry stayed with me to help. She was excited and I was excited that she was excited.
We all took our places around the table. She asked Grandad questions about what he was doing.
Then she took even greater care in labeling each pack. Making sure to write “By Rylee” in case anyone wondered who wrote on it.
We all had our jobs. We shared laughs. We planted the seed of another beloved family tradition. There are so many things in life that now looking back I didn’t truly appreciate at the time. It’s amazing how appreciation and perspective changes and you get older. I hope that it’s something that when she’s an adult she looks back on as fondly as I do.