Buck Fever

Cynthia Chapman Willis

Feiwel & Friends

Dad returns to the kitchen, drops a jacket and boots onto a chair seat. “Today will be a lot different than all the other times we’ve been in the woods, son.” He attaches a nine-inch hunting knife, in its sheath, to his belt. “No searching out deer paths and food sources, no more just watching the habits of bucks. This day is about the hunt.”
He grabs his fluorescent-orange vest from the back of the chair and pulls the vest over his camouflage tan and brown jacket as he moves to my right.  If you ask me, he hates the hearing aid crammed into my left ear. It’s an advertisement that his only son has a defect. No, he’s never said this. But the fifth in Joseph Morgan MacTagert the fifth means I’m supposed to be a copy of Dad, the next in a long line of Joseph Morgan MacTagerts, all hunters. No one has to spell this out for me . . .
“Thanks, Dad.” I try to come off as thrilled. This isn’t easy. The jacket and the boots highlight that I’m not as big as Dad was at twelve. Having a five-foot no inches son weighing in at eighty-five pounds (wearing every sweatshirt I own) and sporting a hearing aid can’t thrill him.