43. The Irish Shooting Season.
When on holiday I walk, when on holiday we walk. It is just one of those things we do to relax. I walked into town a couple of times and we walked up to the local Corner Cafe. Recreational walking is such a strange thing to do in America that everyone notices you. One morning upon tentatively bounding into the cafe, I was greeted with the words, ‘So you’re burning the shoe leather this morning’. It was such a strange comment that it actually took me most of my cup of coffee to work out what the hang he was talking about.
One particular day Sharon and I were out marvelling at Summit Lake’s need to have multiple mail boxes in front of each home. One for the post, one for the Antigo Journal, one for the Antigo Area Shoppers Guide and often many more. The whole display looked like a leftover from Halloween and why the hang they couldn’t use the one letter box with perhaps four little placards on it saying what they do collect, I don’t know. Anyhow I digress.
So we walked. Ronnan’s owner had suggested that we walk a track near some local lake. So off we toddled(133). It was a rather typical, dreary, overcast and misty ‘Up North’ autumn day. The lake, the trees, their reflections and even seemingly the sky seemed to be all shades of brown, but a beautiful brown nonetheless. We were strolling along, chatting away, minding our own business when suddenly a man with a gun popped out of the bush. Sharon instantly tensed up; personally, over the years, I had encountered a few North American guns pointed at me. Plus why should we fear, in this part of the universe the local vicar probably strolls though the bush with his shot gun? So I let out a cheerful ‘Hello’. He replied. I thought gosh this is fun, talking to a nice man with a gun in the middle of nowhere, so I said ‘How’s hunting? Are you getting anything?’ His reply was ‘Are you Irish?’ He did not call us Australian or English, so we were not offended, but instead rather bemused. I said ‘No, we are from New Zealand. Why?’ He said ‘Are you staying on such-a-such road?’ I freaked a little and said, ‘Yeah why?’ And he said ‘My sister was out collecting the mail the other morning, saw you walking and heard you talking, she came in and told me that there were some people from Ireland walking down the road.’
America, if you would put in some footpaths and exercise your sport shoes, then we foreigners would not look like total freaks pounding your bitumen whilst desperately trying to subtract those nasty food additives. Can you believe it, here we are in the middle of the bush, perhaps an hour in and we were speaking to someone who had heard of us; we had only been in the town for a couple of days.
Anyhow oblivious to what a hunter walking through the bush actually meant, we kept on walking. When all of a sudden on this cool autumn morning, I heard a firework go off, then we heard another one, and another, they were going off all around us. Oh my goodness, how stupid could we be? We were in the middle of the bush during hunting season and suddenly it seemed as if every local redneck had spotted a deer right beside us and was shooting. We never saw the sucker, but I promise you, we got our butts out of there, lest they fall prey to some hapless hunter and our mugs(134) become stuffed and displayed above someone’s fireplace.
I had never been caught in crossfire before, but gosh I was cross with myself for such an ignorant display. Never mind, such is life ‘Up North’.
Tune in next week to read about a lot of blood.
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You may have noticed some bracketed numbers in this chapter. These numbers correspond with explanations and definitions that are in an accompanying glossary. To read the glossary you will need to by the yet to be released book. Sorry!
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