First Deer Hunt

Dawn hadn’t broken yet. I woke to the sound of my father stoking the woodstove with chunks of oak and ash needed to get the fire hot, hot enough to boil water for coffee. Hunting boots and wet wool shirts hung from a drying rack behind the stove. The smell of wet leather and wool clung to the air.  My father was seated at the kitchen table, his deer rifle in pieces in front of him. He picked up each piece with care, as if it were a china cup and slowly polished it with an oiled piece of flannel. He laid each piece back on the table in a precise order that was a mystery to me. “Go get your brother up. He needs to get his gear together.”

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