Cabela's post about Vivian's first Duck Hunt said it best: "Firsts. As hunters, anglers and outdoorsmen and women, there is nothing quite like the thrill of a First. And witnessing a child experience these spectacular moments only reminds us why we have spent our lives celebrating the outdoor passions we value so dearly." It was a morning filled with long-anticapted thrills for our family, and needless to say, especially Tony. Since the day this family began talking about children, we saw their future through the lens of their upcoming outdoor experiences. And in our family, Hunting takes first place. The traditions, the legacies, the values we love so much. And on Sunday, September 9th (Mom's birthday!), Vivian took her very first steps in her brand new waders, and plunged heart first into the marsh.
As anyone with kids knows, letting them in on a big upcoming event can sometimes backfire... Childlike excitement can wreak havoc on things like bedtime...staying in bed...and staying asleep. So on the morning of Vivian's first Duck Hunt, she was awoken to the surprise herself! Without batting an eye or hesitating a nano-second, Dad's first whisper in the early morning darkness, "Vivian, wake up, it's time to go hunting!", was greeted with a big smile and a big bounce out of bed. Her new Cabela's camo was laid out the night before, and mom was summoned to do her hair (Dad's good at a lot of things - pigtails aren't one of them). Within minutes, the snacks were packed, and Dad helped a still slightly-off-balance Vivian into her first pair of waders before heading for the Lodge to meet the clients. As she carefully got her legs into the wader boots, she couldn't help but repeat, "Now I have these just like DADDY!" It was a morning filled with grateful smiles...and the occasional teary eye.
Out in the field, Vivian was a natural. Bounding right along through the marsh as if she'd been born to do it (ok - maybe she was). From helping Dad toss decoys, to handling birds retrieved by Ki, to just being a kid and eating donuts in the blind...it was a perfect September morning that will never be forgotten. The memories may fade or become fuzzy for Vivian given her age, but for Dad and Mom, it was one of the most special days in this family. Watching traditions being passed down, and the hunting heritage we love so much be embraced by our own, is a joy that can't be put into words. God Bless this community, our family legacies, and the rich opportunities that the outdoors provide.
Where, or where, would we be without it all.