Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Men

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
The cabin of my youth that my father, uncle and grandfather would take my cousins and me to for hunting excursions was supposed to be a safe place. It was built by a group of friends back in the sixties’ for the purpose of bringing their families there for a lovely vacation in the mountains and bringing boys into manhood. Four wood corner posts were placed deep into permafrost earth, against these four pillars other trees were laid sideways. These decapitated and rootless trees had all the open spaces between them filled in with concrete. The roof was flat and in the winter we had to brush the mountain snow off of it daily so we wouldn’t be buried alive. Inside there was a wood burning stove that it was my job to keep supplied. A small kitchen to cook our kills and a room filled with four sets of bunk beds. On the walls there were pictures from hunting trips before, there was one of my great grandfathers asleep on the only couch in the cabin with a porno magazine spread open on his lap. It made the older men laugh and I laughed along because that’s what men do, and being in the cabin with them meant I was now a man.



It was the summer of my twelfth year when my family decided to drive up to the cabin again. My oldest cousin was leaving for college and we wanted to have everyone together one last time before the nest began to empty. I noticed on the trip up the mountain that many more houses had sprung up since my becoming of a man at age ten. Families sat outside on their wooden porches as the mountain summers were always beautiful. One such household had taken its place across the road from our cabin. A funny sight, as our cabin was a fairly run down shack while their newer house seemed to be scoffing in its lovely yellow paint. We unloaded our packed clothes and such into our weekend home and I felt the pressure of the cabin once more upon my entrance. This place was my families, where everything happens the way it should and always has but maybe not for me.



That day we went fishing at a local reservoir. I nearly caught a two foot long catfish myself by hand, but slipped into the frigid water. I wanted to show my father that I could catch fish without a rod like the crocodile hunter. I jerked up to make sure he hadn’t seen me fall, he hadn’t. Behind us a trail race was occurring and we cheered for the leader until he was out of sight. When we were hungry we drove around and found the race finish station and took some sandwiches graciously provided by the race managers. It was a beautiful day for running in my mind, but it always was beautiful in the mountains. Even in the midst of a terrible snowstorm I found some splendor and magnificence.


When we made our way back to the cabin my family pulled chairs out onto the porch to watch the sun fall into the horizon. Memories were the main language we spoke, with much alcohol among the adults to lubricate the conversation when it dulled. My eldest cousin was silent for much of the time, but I think I understand how he felt. That he wouldn’t be around for these conversations about times past that we had every time the family gathered. He noticed my distress and smiled in his way “Let’s go light some fireworks.” He said on the sly. Walking away from our family he produced two large and dangerous looking pipes of black cardboard sealed at both ends. The tubes said big bertha on the side. My cousin said to stand back as he lit both pieces of gunpowder contained in cardboard. He threw them high into the air, exploding with a bang loud enough for me to hear a distant ringing. Our laughter and the roar of an approaching SUV masked the boom from our family in the front yard. My Father said “Hey, remember that time Bo urinated on the SUV at the moose?” Everybody laughed, except for my oldest cousin and me.



My father eventually let me wander back to my cousins to play more bar hall games, and letting him most likely think deeply of days gone by remembering certain events with clarity that his sober mind would never accept. When the little clock with the flipping numbers on the bar table clicked its way to one in the morning my Father abruptly stood up and announced “It’s time to go my good friend.” Only to me but my uncle cousins and grandfather left too. Helping my father out to the car I heard the noise of someone urinating on a hard surface, the kind of noise that would make you say hose but the flow is not large enough to be a hose. I placed my writhing father in our beat up Chevrolet and turned to find my grandfather relieving himself on a large sport utility vehicles tire. His head rolling back from side to side in the ecstasy of relieving a bloated bladder. But much to his surprise the SUVs’ driver began to pull away, and my drunken grandfather felt so wronged by his urinal that he followed after the vehicle in his boozy gait. Unfortunately his feet were not steady enough to support him and he fell into the snowy gravel, “darn terlet.” He said raising his middle finger into the night. All I heard after that was the SUVs' engine running away into darkness.


They day after our porch gathering my father, grandfather, uncle, cousins and me went out into the woods that surrounded our cabin for a few hours of hunting. My Father said to me “This is your day son, it’s your turn.” My father let me sit alone on a ridge overlooking a small ravine while he disappeared with the other men. For the longest time I sat there, imagining deer where there was none, and falling asleep even though I knew I wasn’t supposed to. The sun began to shine more directly into my eyes because it was getting late and that’s the way the sun went when it got late. It was now that I heard a twig snap in a thicket across the ravine. A doe, fat with a baby I think came out into the clearing. I watched it for a moment before I remembered the heavy gun sitting in my lap. I raised the gun so I could see the deer inside the black scope on top. The doe was chewing on a piece of green, and I knew what I should’ve done. I should’ve killed that mother deer and her baby right then in the mountains. It would’ve been a man thing to do, but I didn’t want to kill that mother deer and most likely her baby too. So I didn’t, she moved off over the other side of the ravine and I didn’t see anything the rest of the day.


On the walk back to the cabin I heard my father say “How about you son?”
I said “I didn’t see anything dad.”
He patted my shoulder saying “That’s okay; you’re just a boy yet.





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

pageturner This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 31, 2010 at 11:42 pm
Interesting. I like the way you describe how in your tory men are supposed to act alike, tough and macho. How not evry generations the same
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback