My father was a hunter. Every year, there was a deer carcass hanging in a tree outside our kitchen window proclaiming for all to see that he had not missed the shot. I avoided the kitchen as much as possible after he came home from a hunting expedition. My heart hurt to see the carnage.
As much as my dad would've loved to somehow bestow hunting fever on all of us, I could never look into an animals eyes and send him to his doom. To my way of thinking, they were each a Bambi at one time and they all had families like ours. I just knew that if I took up hunting, nature would somehow retaliate by guiding a million spiders into my bed one night or sending a tornado to pick up my house and throw it into a volcano.
Yes, I knew times were rough. I knew that sometimes my dad's hunting gains were all we had to eat. However, the rational part of my brain still could not reconcile itself to the horror of being the messenger of doom for some hapless creature. I refused to eat them, which is why I was so skinny back then. On the upside, my dad did teach us some valuable skills. He taught us all how to handle a gun safely and all of us were taught how to use a bow and arrow, (just in case we had to take down a chicken in the grocery store). We also learned how to track an animal by using "signs" and how to recognize the footprints of various wild animals. I will probably never need to track an animal as long there are sales papers for the grocery stores, but nevertheless, this knowledge of "signs" and tracking has become very useful in my everyday life.
For one thing, I can tell just exactly what kind of animal has gotten into my garbage cans, dragged out the bags and distributed trash from one end of my yard to the other. Not that this information would help one bit. It doesn't really matter what kind of animal committed this heinous crime. It's not like you can go track him down and force him to clean up the mess, Unless it was one of my children.
My children were always confounded when I figured out who took one bite out of an apple and then put it back in the fruit bowl. I always told them I had invisible spies watching them. But really, it's a matter of the size of the bite and which one of them was missing which teeth. It's like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle, Elementary, my dear reader.
When I would hear a crash down the hall and discover foot powder all over the bathroom floor, I always knew who did it because the curious little offender's footprints were clearly outlined in the mess. If I couldn't read that neon "sign," all I'd need to do was follow the white splotches on the carpet, all the way down the hallway, leading straight to the little mess-maker's lair. They really made it way too easy.
I like a bit of a challenge. That must be the tiny bit of hunting fever that I inherited from my father. Fortunately, my children have gotten much better at hiding their "signs."