Well, maybe it wasn’t exactly like that, but it was pretty retro when recently our grandchildren came to spend a couple of days with us, specifically to let our nine year old grandson crawl up into the deer stand for the first time as an actual hunter. Of course, he was extremely excited and with his 223 in hand, and with our oldest grandson (who can notch a squirel’s eye at a hundred yards) to watch out for him and show him the ropes, he had the world by the tail, probably the one Davy Crockett wore, I don’t know.
As beginner’s luck would have it, Mr. eight-point walked out, and it was the last thing he did in this life.
Now, while the boys were out playing Daniel Boone, or Little House On The Prairie, or something along those lines, my only granddaughter and I were doing our thing in the kitchen. Presley, who is the twin of the deer slayer, had wanted me to show her how to make butter for a very long time. So, she was ecstatic when she saw that this time I had the real-deal cream, and we were actually going to try our hand at butter making!
I thought about it long and hard because I wanted her actually to gain some understanding of just how hard it was for the women of centuries past to do every single thing in life the hard way. So, I tried to explain to her all of these things plus the fact that there wasn’t always the possibility of having butter because the cows did not always produce milk.
Okay, so I bogged down there.
I also knew that she would give out or give up long before she actually saw real butter if we used my old churn so I cheated. I showed her the churn and had her pump air for a short while and then explained just how long it would have taken the women of long ago to make butter for the family.
Then…we grabbed the food processor and had beautiful butter worked and molded in less than fifteen minutes!
After everyone had returned home, Rickey and I went back out to where they had hung the deer, and I sat and watched him skin it enough to get the backstrap so that the boys could have some jerky from the kill. As I watched in the quiet country afternoon, my mind began to wander, first to my own childhood where I could hear my mom as she read to me, “Bye Baby Bunting, Daddy’s gone a hunting to get a little rabbit skin to wrap his Baby Bunting in”…only in my mind, the skin in question was that in front of me.
From there it wasn’t much of a stretch to move my thoughts to the Texas prairie, the spot right where I sat once a part of the Comanche hunting territory. The longer I looked at that skin, the easier it was to see an Indian wife and mother as she carefully tended it, knowing that it meant warm clothing and footwear for the winter.
Of course, it wasn’t just the skin of the animal that would have been so very important a century and a half ago. No, there was a time when every single piece of the animal would have been considered a necessity, bone and antlers for tools, sinew for “thread,” and of course every single piece of life-saving meat salvaged against the hunger that so often invaded the world of centuries past.
By the time I had hashed all of these things out in my mind, Rickey was through with his dirty job and I pulled my thoughts back into the 21st century, thankful that God did not see fit to put me into those long ago days. No, as much as I love to study our Texas history and as much as I love to learn about days gone by, I am very, very thankful for my life today, a life that does not include having to kill an animal to clothe my own little Baby Buntings!