Hunting stories and brotherly love

My Sweet Al jumped at the chance of hunting with his brother. He spent two weeks getting ready. He carried totes of hunting gear from the garage to the house. He tried on his camouflage, found a couple of pairs of pants that still fit. He polished his gun and sharpened his hunting knife. He counted 20 boxes of shells, hoping there were enough, and found his hunting boots.
The day arrived. They drove to southern New Mexico to shoot doves. They paid a woman to hunt on her property, an old empty dairy with so many doves they had to step around them. The doves were on the fence, on the telephone poles and on the wires.
When Al arrived home, I asked, “How many doves did you shoot? Did you have fun?”
“I shot eight and left them with my brother. I can’t see so good with my good eye anymore. My brother said I needed a cannon to shoot one dove.”
Al came home empty-handed, but with a different hunting story this time. It was about his wonderful brother and the brotherly love they share. His brother called to see if Al arrived home safely and I heard Al say, “I love you, too.”
That’s a first. My, my, my, how some things have changed, but some things remain the same.
It wasn’t like the other hunting trips when Al hauled out a deer alone in 4 feet of snow. Or the story he told when he wrapped his coat around the elk he shot so he could find it later. He left the elk in deep snow with his tag attached to its horns and walked 2 miles to get help. When he approached the highway, his car had been towed. In the dark, with blood on his hands and clothing, the weather dipped to freezing and Al flagged down a car.
Suspicious and scared, the driver rolled down his window 2 inches. Al convinced him he didn’t shoot anyone, but he was a hunter who left his bloody elk in the field wearing his coat. I wouldn’t have picked him up, but the driver believed him and drove him to 84 and the Lower Blanco. At 2 a.m., Al walked the rest of the way home with no coat with frostbit fingers and toes.
Those are just a couple of Al’s many hunting stories, and I’ve heard them all more than once, but this story had a different spin. Wallpaper your mind with this picture. Two brothers, 80 and 83 years old, all dressed up in camouflage with 20 boxes of shells each, going on the hunt. They drove around the whole time looking for birds, never leaving the truck.
Hunting with his brother is not about sleeping on the ground or in a tent. It’s not about sitting around the campfire trading tales with his hunting partner. It’s staying in a five-star hotel with all the fineries.
At the end of the day, for David it’s about hunting girls. For Al, it’s hunting a Hallmark movie and making sure he’s in bed by 9.
This is Al’s hunting story. “My brother doesn’t have to look for the girls, they come to him. He loves the club crowd.”
The club crowd is totally out of Al’s league, so he left his brother in the bar and went to his room. His brother called me around midnight from the bar and told me Al was in his room and he was glad his brother wasn’t turned like him and how much he admired his brother. A few glasses of wine began talking for him. I told him that I’ve never worried about my Sweet Al. He is innocent to all of his nonsense.
When they arrived back in Albuquerque after the hunt, David told his brother, “Get cleaned up, we are going out to my favorite hangout.” He knows every woman who walks through the door. David claims, “I like the girls and will always like the girls. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m single.”
When they entered the club, Al and his brother split up. Al said he sat at the bar and ate his piece of pizza alone. David was hanging around the girls. Al didn’t talk to anyone, but watched his brother at the end of the bar. It’s the “Cheers” scene. They all know David’s name. He doesn’t sit on a barstool. He leans up against the bar and watches the girls. Women, one by one, paraded in front of David, hugged him, kissed him and whispered in his ear.
Al was mesmerized by his brother. After all of these years, he still can’t get over the women flocking around him. Those girls would have eaten my poor little Al’s lunch and his pizza, too. He’s no match for these young things.
I stopped Al in the middle of his story. “All the women were flocking around your brother, but why didn’t you shoot all those doves flocking around the two of you when you were hunting?” I could tell him what was going on with his brother, but I wouldn’t burst either of their bubbles and ruin their fun. The story was making Al feel good about his brother and I was feeling really good about my true blue Al.
His brother is 83 and these girls are in their 20s, like early March and late December coming together. They are packing heat and he is pumping Geritol.
Al is an observer and loves beautiful clothes. He described what the girls were wearing, not what they were doing. “One of the girls who came up to my brother was gorgeous, around 25, full of energy, and cute as a button. She was wearing cutoff blue jean shorts, cowboy boots and a white silk blouse.”
On the way home, Al asked him, “What about that gorgeous girl who was hugging on you?”
“I told her no, but she kept asking. I didn’t want anything to do with her.”
He asked his brother, “What about that other girl? You spent a long time talking with her.”
David shook his head. “I know her ex-husband. He’s a good guy. She has so much alimony she doesn’t know what to do with it, but she still wants more money. I know better than fall for that kind of girl again.”
At the end of the day David told Al, “I’m proud of you. You’ve got more than I’ve got. Good kids, good wife and a nice home. But, I couldn’t live your life, I love the women.”
Both brothers went home happy after a week of hunting. They admired each other, enjoyed each other, but were puzzled about the other one’s life. Al isn’t telling him about the Hallmark movies he watched in his room and his brother isn’t talking about what was going on in his room.
Final brushstroke: As different as night and day, those brothers love each other. They have been through thick and thin together. For David, the girls know his name and make a fuss over him. For Al, he’s happy to come home, knowing I’ll be waiting for him and will make a fuss over his hunting stories.
Readers’ comments
Send in your hunting stories to betty@bettyslade.com and I’ll post them. But, don’t be surprised if I put my spin on them.

This story was posted on September 28, 2017.