Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's What We Call Deer Camp... sorta...

Well as everyone knows, when the day's air turns crisp, and there settles on the lawn a bit of frost, it can only mean one thing... Deer Camp! Deer Camp has as many traditions as the men, and families that follow it. When you live in Northern Michigan, hunting deer has the fervor of a religion, and the spirit of a two week long Super Bowl. Point of pride up here, in The Hundred Acre Woods By The Inland Sea, is that many businesses, and almost all of the local schools, are closed on Opening Day!  The businesses realize that not only will they not have any customers strolling in to make purchases (unless they sell ammunition or shelled corn), but most of their staff invariably call in sick. The schools finally got wise to the when somewhere around half of the teachers and students were mysteriously ill, and they just planned it into the School Year. So, yes, you could say that up here, Deer Season is indeed a Big Deal.

Our family has it's version of Deer Camp which goes by the name of "Man Of The Year Weekend". Said weekend was instituted when older son DJ brought his buddies from University home, ostensibly to hunt, for a weekend. This year marks the 11th annual pilgrimage to these hallowed hunting grounds, and it has been such a delight so see these young men assume the mantles of career and family, without shedding the brotherhood of camaraderie. Younger son Rob also comes when he can, but his career path since college put him onto a job with extensive travel.

WunderWife Barb gets to be Den Mom for "her boys" for a weekend, and I get to play with them, and also help with cooking and cleaning duties. even though yes I do hunt, I usually won't go out during Man Of The Year Weekend (MoY), as I wish to make sure the lads all get their chance to bag the ever elusive Thirty Point Buck. The aforementioned megadeer has never been spotted up here, much less actually shot at, but give a man his foibles! And believe me, we eat oh so well that weekend! In fact, this year I baked a 13 pound beef brisket, with gravy, that was an absolute hit! Last year I grilled just about an entire New York Strip.

Ahhh... but what about all the blood and guts you ask? Oh pshaw, you can get that anywhere, so you needn't bother with it in this blog. The real magic of our style of Deer Camp isn't field dressing an animal. The annual event isn't really to see which guy can drive home with the most ginormous carcass on the rooftop of his car. These guys have all been great friends while in the frat house at University, and ever since. They have been in, or at everyone's weddings, and now are all proud papas with WunderWives and papooses to boot! They take pride in each other's various accomplishment's and share in each other's frustrations. Somewhere along the way each of them made that transition from college student, to post college, to oh my gawd I'm a hubby and a daddy too! And they each did it in their own particular style. So for them, to be able to come up here, once a year, and just hang out with the friends, swap stories, drink beer, burp and fart, plus maybe actually do a bit of hunting, well there's the draw!

And as for the "Camp" itself... well... ummm... errr... it's like this... since we have a farmhouse next door that we use for vacation rentals in the Summer, the guys really don't suffer too overly much! Last year for one evening's entertainment, they drank beer and ate an entire brick of hotdogs! This year they went to a nearby casino, and also went bowling. Like I said, not really roughing it much! ;) I will say this however, one fine morning this year, the guys all pitched in and made breakfast! And yes it was a treat! Never underestimate how much goodwill can be gained by making a hearty breakfast for the Hosts! Now if they only would learn to do the dishes...