So yesterday I passed hunter safety. Which means I can now hunt legally.
Not that I was hunting illegally or hunting at all, because as much as I dislike establishment in general, I have no wish to break the law. See, here in Wisconsin, if you were born after Jan. 1, 1973, -- which I was -- you need to take a class to teach you how to hunt safely, what the rules for hunting are and how to handle a gun. It's actually a good idea, in my opinion. But for the last 37 years of my life, I've never felt the need to go hunting.
And then I married Nature Boy.
Now, let me be clear, he has never pressured me to hunt. He's made it clear that he'd like me to join him in hunting and I can understand that. Hunting is very important to him and he wants to share that with his family. Also, we came to the understanding when we got together that he would come to my symphony concerts and I would shoot things with him. So far, I only have shot targets.
But then the Ubergoober got very excited about hunting. His idea of a perfect fall evening is sitting up in a tree with Nature Boy waiting for the deer to get close enough to shoot...
(Before I go any further, I'd like to clarify that we believe strongly in hunting for food and not for fun. We eat or donate everything we kill and we do our very best to make sure that we make a clean and humane kill. In between, we plant crops for the deer to eat, provide them with water [from our pond] and we watch them to make sure the herd is healthy and thriving.)
... and then trudging through the woods with Daddy and helping to process the meat. I think it bears mentioning that Goober is the only one of our children who doesn't vomit at the sight of internal organs.
A few years ago, Wisconsin passed a law that allows 10-year-old children to hunt as long as they are with an adult, licensed hunter. Which Nature Boy is. However, I am not and Nature Boy is not always available to take the small child hunting. Also, hunting is something we can do as a family. So, being a good mother, I volunteered to take hunter safety.
The most amorous I have ever seen Nature Boy was the day I sent in my registration for the class. That was one happy man.
Once I got my study materials, I started to panic. The class covers not only hunting guidelines and gun safety, but also animal habitats, hunting history, animal anatomy and how to take apart and put together different types of guns.
"It's common sense," Nature Boy assured me.
Oh, sure... It's common sense for someone who grew up hunting. It's common sense for someone who handles guns at least once a month. It's common sense for someone who spends more time in the woods than in the living room.
It's not common sense for someone who read "Gone with the Wind" in sixth grade. It's not common sense for a concert violist. It's not common sense for a woman who truly enjoys dissecting poetry and who does not enjoy dissecting animals. It's not common sense for someone who goes into the woods only to pick berries or apples.
So I studied like I studied for my college finals. I did all of the homework and then some. I gave in to all my Type A tendencies and ventured ever so slightly into OCD territory. I made Nature Boy dismantle one of the hunting rifles so I could put it back together and see how it all worked. (Unloaded, of course, and with all safety precautions.)
Eventually it became common sense. Once I understood the background, I began to understand why things are as they are.
And I passed the test. In a few weeks, the Department of Natural Resources will send me my certificate and I'll be all legal and stuff.
Now I have accomplished something I never thought I would. I did not expect to take hunter safety in a million years. This was just not a life I expected to have. But I do. And I liked having to challenge myself like this. Conventional wisdom says we should try to learn something new every day and I try to do that. Plus, you never know you can until you try. So I tried, I did and I passed. I'm proud of myself.
What have you done lately you never thought you would do?