Chugging beers and chasing deer

You may read this title and think “what the hell!” Well, you should, but it’s not what you think. One afternoon, during my junior year in high school, I went hunting with my dad. It was at a place we frequented—located on the other side of a ridge that lines the back of our house. During that time there was a WW2 veteran who lived alone up there and would let us hunt his 100-acre property. His name was Al, and even though we weren’t related to him, as everyone else in the valley was, we called him Uncle Al. At the ripe old age of 97, he would still hunted—which commonly consisted of him sliding open his living room window sticking his rifle out of it and shooting a deer, where he would then call my dad to come over to get it for him.

That particular afternoon at Uncle Al’s place we had stalked a nice whitetail buck for most of the evening and up until the last minutes of shooting light. Our patience paid off though and lucky for me I was able to get a shot off. We stumbled through the darkness with a flip phone screen as our only source of light, but we were finally able to find him. By the time we had field-dressed him and dragged him back to the truck it was very late, and I had school the next day. We had told Uncle Al we would let him know if I got anything or not, so after banging on the window, the door, and the doorbell the deaf old man shuffled to the door and greeted us with a smile. Instead of quick congrats and on our way Uncle Al insisted we come in to have a celebratory beer. Al only drank when he had company, and he would welcome any possible opportunity to celebrate. Know this and partly owing to his stubbornness and deafness, we felt compelled to agree to his offer.

Now inside Uncle Al’s house was the definition of a bachelor pad straight from the Great Depression; tables were old wire spools, the bed was a WW2 cot cluttered with an array of old maps, guns, bullets, bottles, and a cat. I walked through this male history museum, and I sat down on a five-gallon bucket as Uncle Al smiled and handed me a Coors beer, as I looked over at the clock on the wall, it was getting close to midnight. My dad leaned over to me and said: “chug it so we can get you home, for school in the morning.” proceeded to chug, Uncle Al looked at me blankly and said: “you must be thirsty from all that work, I will get you another one.” Trying to tell him that’s was quite alright we need to go, literally fell on deaf ears, he opened me another beer. This time I drank my beer a little slower. My dad and I finally finished our beverages and explained, again, our need to get home.

Keep in mind that I was 16 years old, had already had a couple sips of whiskey (for “medicinal” purposes of course), so you might imagine what came next. I stood up and had a sudden feeling of lightheadedness, but I thought to myself “your fine” and I just concentrated very hard on walking towards the door. Well, as imagined, I was not fine, those two beers had gone straight to my head and feet as I stumbled toward the door following behind my dad and Uncle Al. While saying our goodbyes, it was all I could do not to sway. The last thing to do before going home was to put the deer in the truck, simple enough. Well, I hopped right up into the back of the truck to grab the head of the deer and haul it into the bed. As I bent over on the tailgate to grab the antlers my head suddenly became very heavy, heavier than the rest of my body apparently, as I toppled head first out of the truck bed into the snow. As I looked up at my dad, who was laughing hysterically at me, I said: “Papa, I think I am drunk.” The laughter continued all the way home. The next day at school I had a very nice headache—couldn’t tell you if it was from the two beers I had chugged or my eloquent dive from the back of the truck.

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