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"I’ll remember this day…" September 9, 2008

Posted by Joe in Family.

There are some days that you’ll always remember. You may not realize it at the time, but you’ll never forget that moment, those sights, and those smells.

I remember the very first time my Dad took me dove hunting. I remember wearing a green M*A*S*H 4077 tee-shirt. I remember sitting in a clearing with our backs to some pine trees and the field in front of us. I remember the trees on the other side of the field and hearing others shoot just the other side of those trees. I remember.

A couple of years ago, when Benjamin was 7, I was invited to go with BePops on an opening day dove hunt. It would be Benjamin’s first time going on any kind of hunt. He patiently sat beside me with our backs to a tree line and the field in front of us. And there was a tree line just on the other side of the small field. Although he wasn’t old enough to wield a shotgun, he had fun. And he felt big, like one of the guys. We went again last year.

Earlier this month we were once again going to an opening day dove hunting with BePops. But this time, it was a little different. This time Benjamin would be old enough to carry a shotgun for himself.

And to make things even more special, the shot gun he would carry would be one that his great-grandfather had owned, one that BePops had learned to shoot as a kid. It’s an old side-by-side double barrel 20 gauge, complete with two triggers.

Benjamin was beside himself with excitement. He really felt big.

I shot it the first couple of times so I could tell him about its kick. You see, over the summer Benjamin shot a 20 gauge that my grandfather had given me when I was a kid. It was the first time he had fired a gun with recoil. He took aim and shot it at an old can. When you shoot at a inanimate stationary object, you feel every bit of the kick. It was more than he was comfortable with so we put it aside for a while.

But now, at the time of the big dove hunt, he wanted to try again. But he wanted to know if BePop’s shotgun kicked more or less than mine. I explained to him that it would likely kick a little more, but that he would hardly feel it. You just don’t feel the recoil when you’re focusing on a moving target.

With a little apprehension, he sat there and watched a few birds go by without firing a shot. I encouraged him.

The next time a bird flew by, he raised the gun, took aim, and fired. The bird flew on. But that didn’t matter. His face lit up with joy. “You were right, Daddy. I didn’t feel a thing. It knocked me back a few feet, but I didn’t feel a thing.”

We sat there the rest of the day, side by side, each with our own shotgun. He shot a few more times, smiling from ear to ear each time.

Finally as the day drew to a close, he said, “I’ll remember this day for the rest of my life.”

I will too.




1. Marci - September 9, 2008

What a great memory for both of you. He looks like a natural.

2. Kathryn Richards - September 13, 2008

Man, do I envy you. I look forward to taking baby Matthew to his first dove shoot in a few years. If we don’t pass on traditions like these, they will be lost forever. Tell Ben to hit’em hard.
Tim Richards

3. Joe Webb - September 14, 2008

You’ll be taking Matthew dove hunting before you know it. And loving every minute of it.

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