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Little had changed in the office over the past 30 years. It had the same look and feel as when his Grandpa lived in the house. The furniture in the room was the same with the exception of a second gun safe that was added when David's Dad moved into the house after the death of his Grandpa.

His Grandpa's death was quite unexpected, but, not totally suprising to all that knew him. Always an active man, he enjoyed working on the farm and all the chores associated with it. He was cutting firewood one day, cutting down trees of the size that a man of 83 years had no business doing, when a tree he was cutting twisted and jumped back off the stump, crushing him underneath. It was, however, merciful in the fact that it happened in a split-second and not lingering in a way that Grandpa always said he dreaded. He died with his boots on.

David's Dad was sitting behind the roll top desk , rummaging through a drawer and pulled out an old battered three ring binder and loudly exclaimed " Exactly what I was looking for, Grandpa's hunting journal from his Michigan hunts." As they slowly leafed through the dog eared pages they came across an entry with a hand drawn map.

" November 15th" Brandon read " Clear and cold, 5 degrees below zero at 5am. Breakfast was Eggs , Bacon, Pancakes and Coffee. The old Army Tent is doing a fine job of protecting us from the elements and the Kerosene pot heater is keeping it a toasty 50 degrees inside. The top section of pipe rattles in the wind somewhat, but sang us to sleep last night. The camp is full with the seven of us and it is tight quarters at times, but, we are here to hunt and not lay about camp." Brandon continued " Drove the truck to the end of the two track at the snag tree and walked along an old fence line that is nothing but a line of broken and rotting fence posts through the swamp. It goes a true East and West and serves as a good landmark for me. I have drawn a map of the area as best I can that I'm hunting in as I feel it will be a valuable aid in the future."

Brandon finished, wiping a small tear that somehow had started tracing down his weathered cheek.
David, with a small lump starting in his throat said " I miss him too, he was a wealth of knowledge on a lot of things. Luckily, he always wrote things down , especially when it came to hunting."
"Well David , you have almost 30 years of his experiences written down here from that area, if nothing else, it will be some good reading."
" That's for sure Dad" David replied , adding " Can I borrow this for a few days? I'll want to read through this a couple of times anyway to make sure I dont miss anything."
" Of course you can" he replied , continuing " He didn't write this down just for me, he did it for everyone to share and use."

The rest of the evening was spent in much the same way. The journals not only told a blow by blow account of every deer and animal harvested, but was filled with the everyday life at deer camp. What struck David as odd was the details that went in to describing the meals. Steaks , Turkeys, Fried Chicken, Boiled dinners as main courses with Salads, Potatoes , Beans, Rolls, Biscuits as sides and all types of Pies and Cookies for desserts.

"What is up with all this talk of food, they must have spent all their time cooking" David asked his Dad. To which he repied " It's pretty easy when you think about it a little, all the guys brought a certain amount with them and it was mostly cooked ahead of time." "Pies and cookies were already made, soups and chilli was cooked and frozen and warmed up at camp, and it doesn't take long to cook steaks over charcoal even when it's below freezing" Brandon said , continuing " Let me explain how camp was set up. First of all it was a big army tent that had an oil furnace with a stove pipe that went out the roof." "Outside was a 55 gallon drum of kerosene and a hose feeding the heater was run under the side of the tent." "Pieces of scrap carpet was put on the ground so they wouldn't be walking in the dirt and mud." "Outside the front of the tent were a couple of propane tanks with a pipe running overhead through the center of the tent, off this pipe there were fittings to hook up low pressure lp lights so they could have light in the tent." "In the front of the tent near a canter pole was an lp stove/oven out of a camper built into a cabinet that they did most of their cooking on." " On the back pole of the tent was a 20 gallon gas water heater with the top cut out of so it could be filled with a bucket and it was hanging on that back pole with a hose hooked to the drain so they could have hot water." " All the cots were set up around the walls of the tent and finally there was a table in the center where everyone ate and then played Euchre after supper."

"Wow" David said " They had all the comforts of Home didn't they"
" Yes they did" Brandon replied, along with " Most of the guys worked in the Construction Trades and could afford to take time off in the Fall of the year when their work was slow." " A few of them set up camp on Halloween and stayed through the 1st of December"
" That's a long time to be away from home" said David
"Well" his dad repied " Not all the guys stayed that long." " Myself, I never stayed for more than 10 days as you remember"
" It seemed like a lifetime waiting for you to either call and tell us you shot one, or for you to get back home"

"DAVID.... " Michelle called from the top of the stairs. " Do you realize that it is almost 11 o'clock? " "We should probably head home so your Parent's can get to bed."
" Okay" David repied to his Wife, then to his Father " Well, you heard the Boss, time for you to go Nighty-Night."
Brandon, with a small chuckle said " Just one more thing before you go" and got up, walked over to one of the gun safes and started spinning the dial.
 

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Keep them coming Brian! At lot about that camp reminds of Colorado elk hunts with my departed brother-in-law and best friend. Sadly I didn't keep a similar journal.:(
 
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