The old man next door always has a bunch of dogs, sometimes three, sometimes more. I’m not sure if they all are his or if he’s just taking care of them for somebody. Somebody once told me he trained dogs for people, but I don’t know nothing about that.
When I stop over there he’s always laughing. Don’t know what that is about. One time I even pointed out the flat tire on the back of his truck and he said, “Well if that don’t beat all,” then chuckled a bit. If it were me I would have been pissed. He just went about fixing the darn thing while his dogs got in the way.
Behind his house he grows a big garden, more than two people can eat. His missus is the one that takes care of that. Most of the day he works in his shop, making things for people that pay him enough so he can take most of Octobers off to hunt birds. His missus is a pretty woman and I like to stop over there to chat with here whenever I can.
A few weeks ago the old man invited me over to shoot skeet with him. It wasn’t anything formal, like down at the club, but shooting skeet right behind his house. His dogs go crazy with the shooting, thinking that dead birds must be falling I guess. He laughs and keeps them out of the way when we launch the targets, but then they go dashing off into the weeds looking for dead things. I missed more than I broke, but he didn’t miss any.
Twice his dogs brought back intact clay pigeons that we’d obviously cleanly missed. It was sort of embarrassing in a way, but the old man just laughed and took the targets from the dogs, then flung them out to shoot at again. Recycling he called it.
Deer hunting is my favorite kind of hunting, but the old guy mostly hunts birds. Oh, he does hunt deer and other stuff, but every day in bird season I see he is out. Last year he invited me to go with him and it was fun to watch his dogs. It’s like they live to hunt birds, but then maybe the old man does too. You should have seen the smile on his face.
Three times the dogs pointed, like quivering statues, and I got to walk in and flush the grouse, but I never hit a one. A woodcock flying straight away dropped when I shot, but that was an easy one. The grouse were impossible.
This year he says we’re going to go again. I can’t wait.