Each year around this time I have an opportunity to go home. Not an opportunity to get back from a work trip to the house that I live in now, though that is true too especially once the Expo ends. But the home I’m speaking about is the one I grew up in.
Some of you know this, but I was raised in a small town in northeastern North Dakota. If you grew up in a small town, it’s probably a lot like yours. Folks there are salt of the earth. They will give you the shirt off their back if you ever need it, despite the fact that you don’t live there now and haven’t lived there in over 35 years. They still know you by name and if they see you in town will drop everything they’re doing and have a conversation with you as if you never left. I don’t know how to put that into words, other than to say that it’s just special.
This year my trip started just a little bit further south than it normally does as my wife and I moved to Kansas earlier this year. I found my way to South Dakota where I joined my brother-in-law Mike and we made the final trek to the north. We both were excited for the upcoming hunt, but even the drive is fun because we catch up on all sorts of things. And of course every once in a while we have to chuckle a little bit (and breathe a small sigh of relief) because rather than turning on the lights of his patrol car for these very much in a hurry hunters, the sheriff simply waves and points downward, indicating that we need to slow down a bit (or a lot). We both enjoy the simple opportunity of spending time together, just driving and talking, and of course getting lucky enough to get out of the speeding ticket.
Before we even make it to the mile-long driveway to my parents home, I’m already starting to feel at peace and definitely nostalgic. That seems to happen pretty much any time I go home to see my family. But because it happens each year around Thanksgiving, it always seems to be a little extra special.
I love hunting with all sorts of firearms, but this year I was not lucky enough to draw a tag for the annual North Dakota deer rifle season. My brother-in-law was more lucky. So I focused in on archery hunting, which I absolutely love, so it’s not exactly settling for second best in any way.
I spend many hours in the deer blind usually so in addition to watching the wildlife and waiting for “the big one,” it gives me great chance to think about a lot of things. This year I spent much of my time thinking about how overwhelmingly grateful and thankful I am.
- I’m grateful I live in a country where I can hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors.
- I’m grateful for a ton of friends and family that I get to work with and have fun with throughout the year.
- I am exceptionally thankful for an amazing wife who puts up with all the outdoor pursuits and joins in on some.
- Thankful that the 2021 NASGW Expo went off well and Covid did not impact our event or the health of our attendees. It was absolutely amazing being back together again in person.
- Finally, I’m thankful for all of you reading this and for all the hard work and dedication you have to making the shooting industry better and stronger than ever.
2020 and 2021 were hard years but we can take a lot of lessons from them. Some good and some not so much.
But now it seems as if we’ve come out on the other side, at least a little anyway. And that has me really looking forward to the holidays with family and friends. I hope yours are blessed and full of love.
Until next time,