Fathers Day is almost here, and it, of course, caused me to reminisce about my Dad. I'm grateful for my Dad and all the wonderful things he taught me. My Dad loves his guns and he certainly passed that love onto his three children, including me, his only daughter. Before I was even allowed to touch a gun I remember him going deer hunting in the winter in my home state of Illinois. He would leave before we woke up, and as it was before the age of the cell phone, we would wait around anxiously wondering if he would come home that evening with a deer. Luckily most of the time he did and it would feed us for many months to come.
When I was about twelve years old he made me a .45 caliber black powder rifle. I announced that I too wanted to join him whitetail hunting and fortunately for me he let me come. Keep in mind this was 30 years ago when other fathers were not taking their daughters hunting and it was probably considered a bit strange. In hindsight, this taught me another very important lesson. I was equal to boys. There was nothing that I could not do.
Now that I have my own small children, I understand even more how great it was that he took his kids hunting. I'm not sure if you have ever taken a child hunting with you, but it's often not very productive. Sitting still the required amount of time is not exactly a child's strong suit. He was patient and kind and fortunately took me again.
Eventually, I was old enough to sit in my own tree stand. I remember the early morning alarm waking us before sunrise to be in our tree stands early enough. He would walk me to my blind and make sure I had everything situated properly before he headed to his own. If we didn't get a deer by around 10 am and were frozen, we would take a break and drive into town for breakfast. We would almost always see other hunters doing the same thing. It was fun to know that we took part in a local small town American tradition.
He taught me how to gut a deer, how to track them, hang them, butcher them, and how to prepare yummy venison meals. Everything I needed to know to be a competent and independent hunter and shooter. It was a true gift to learn so many survival skills.
He taught me gun safety and even taught the hunters safety course in our community for many years. He taught me how to respect guns. How to handle them properly. How to clean them. And most importantly, he taught me ethics and principles that make America great.
If you happened to catch Wayne Lapierre's speech at the NRA convention my dad taught me the same ideals that the rest of the NRA's members believe in. Be honest, strong, ethical, hard working, and be proud to be an American. He taught me the importance of voting and taking part of the political process. I volunteered many times during elections to support those who support our beliefs, particularly our Second Amendment rights. He taught me to stand up for what I believe in just like my American ancestors before me. He wanted all of his children to know what made America great. He is also a staunch supporter of the NRA and even bought me my own lifetime membership. I am so grateful for that too!
Thanks, Dad, for everything you've taught me! Happy Father’s Day!
So, what has your dad taught you? I hope you'll share your stories in the comments.