Snipe hunt

Posted: January 3, 2015 in brain belches
Tags: , , , , ,

There is a time honored rite of passage called the Snipe hunt. When I was about 12 years old, I got welcomed into the club.

I was on a camp out with the youth group from St. Henry’s Catholic Church. (I think St. Henry is the patron saint of men who smoke pipes.) we had backpacked, ate a large amount of canned beanie weenies and sat around campfires, farting and giggling. It was a memorable trip into the deep woods of north east Oklahoma. I don’t mind saying, We survived some pretty harsh conditions, we hiked for minutes, our tents flooded one night and we ran out of Vienna sausages. Then late one night, we were told by the older dudes that the conditions were perfect for a snipe hunt. Evidently, The perfect conditions were a moonless night and a bunch of gullible 7th grade boys. We were instructed that we were going to catch (and probably kill and possibly eat) the exclusive wild snipe. We were ready! We were MEN and we were ready for the hunt. Snipes were described to us as cross between a wild mongoose, a Pygmy goat & an electric eel. Needless to say we were horrified but we were men so we hunt…right?
We were given a musty burlap bag and 2 sticks and carefully worded instructions: The older guys would take us into the snipe hunting grounds and help us find the perfect spot. We were to stand there,expectantly, with our bag ready to snag a snipe. We also were told to bang the sticks together and make the snipe mating call, which sounded like this: “kissy kissy woooo!” The snipes would then run into our burlap bags. It sounded pretty easy…a little scary, but simple…right? So we did it. the older guys separated us and took us out and left us alone in the dark with a burlap bag making kissy noises. We waited and waited and waited. It was dark and scary. It’s really not fair, being 12 years old is already a really hard and confusing time. It’s even harder when you get left in the dark. There were weird completely unfamiliar outdoor noises. Then, when you were really creeped out and about to lose your mind the older jerks…I mean guys would sneak up on you and scare the crap right out of you. It was all a lot of fun…if you were an older guy. I was crouched in the dark with my burlap bag making kissy noises. I wasn’t a big fan of the dark at home, but in the woods I was consumed with wide eyed, crazy fear. Right about then, my friend, Arthur’s brother, Phil, snuck up and grabbed my leg. My finely tuned survival skills kicked in and I did what came primal. I had two sticks so I used them. I started beating the crud out of Phil with my sticks. He was yelling “LUKE…LUKE…IT’s ME!!!” I shouted back: “I KNOW!!” I still feel kinda bad about that, Phil was a really good guy.
Looking back there was something real cool about that night. It was scary and earthy and dark and mysterious. But waking up the next day we were different. We were in on the joke. We were part of the club. We packed up camp and hiked back to the station wagons waiting to take us home. We were older and wiser and manlier.
Now, Pass the beanie weenies.

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