Hunting season has many happy memories for me but I've never been in a deer blind.
Mine is a hunting family. My Dad had a gun rack upstairs in our Negaunee Township house. He subscribed to Field and Stream. He prepared for hunting season like soldiers ready themselves for an invasion.
He loved to hunt.
My Dad hunted from a camp with his brothers Biff, George and Leo. It was the perfect grouping because my Dad and Leo were Detroit Lions fans while Biff and George rooted for the Green Bay Packers. The Prusi brothers brought their sons and others from the younger generation out to camp and they had a blast, no pun intended.
While many women are hunters - more power to them - I never for one minute was jealous my brothers got to go hunting because my Mom and I, like so many Upper Peninsula women, had our own deer season traditions.
My Mom would bake breads, rolls, cookies and pies to send out to camp with Dad. My mother was an extremely talented baker, so my Dad probably got an extra warm welcome when he arrived at camp with the goodies.
But she didn't just make hunting season about the guys and their foray into the mighty woods. She made hunting season fun for me.
We'd have special meals at home, foods my Dad wasn't so fond of such as chicken cordon blu and the like.
Even more exciting for me as a youth: We'd go out to dinner. Eating at a restaurant was a much more rare experience back in those days so it was a genuine treat to go to Big Al's to have a hammy sammy or if my Mom was in an especially good mood, to go to the Villa Capri for some lasagna and garlic bread.
Of course, the best part of those meals was the conversation. We always talked at the dinner table at home, of course, but having my Mom to myself on those special nights out made me feel like a grown up. We'd talk about school and she'd share her stories about growing up as one of eight kids in Ishpeming.
There's a moment when you're a youngster when you finally see your parents as people and it was probably during one of those dinner conversations my Mom became a distinct individual to me. She was a character and told stories so well.
But hunting season was more than some good food and conversation. It was sitting in the living room afterward with the stereo on instead of the television. My Mom wasn't much for TV but she loved music. She was never upset that