Today is Monday. I am one hurting fool. Yesterday I kinked my neck something fierce. Now I'm sort of a wussy and have to sit with my head all straight. And it sucks. But like other things, nothing's gonna stop me from enjoying this "summer solstice."
Summer Solstice is supposed to be the longest day of the year, but I live above the Arctic Circle. We're still having our "longest day of the year" and its been about a month. And it'll be about a month until the sun sets too. But happy summer solstice anyway.
And happy Father's Day too, belated of course. My husband just had the BEST Father's Day of his LIFE. Seriously, you guys don't even understand. Let me explain.
The kids woke up earlier then we did and employed the help of Jake, our live-in-teenager, to make him "breakfast in bed" of the eggs, potatoes and spicy reindeer sausage variety. Although I didn't let them bring it into MY bed, I did let them jump on him to wake him up. (I'm sort of obsessive-compulsive about crumbs in my bed!)
Maddie had made him a freezer-paper stencil of a Beaver on Floats that he'd flown before and put it onto a t-shirt for him while the rest of the kids gave him several 80's era movies. Oh, and an Atari. But not the real deal, just a plug-and-play, but still fun and nostalgic, especially for a perpetual 80's child.
Then we packed up an entire carload with a table, watermelon, hot dogs, and chips, folding chairs, an axe and some horseshoes and headed off to meet the Swanson's for a picnic.
Even though we still have ice in the ocean, the kids brought their swimsuits and swam for four hours. Four hours in ice cold water. Hypothermia? Nah. They're tough and we don't have a pool so if you wanna swim, you're gonna swim in the ocean!
After a long day of grilling, roasting, eating, drinking, playing horseshoes, sitting in the sun and just plain relaxing, we bundled up the whole party BACK into the car and headed home. Nothing more than taking a shower and putting aloe on our shoulders and noses danced in our heads.
Then we got a call.
"MAIJA, MAN THESE CARIBOU look REAAAAAL FAT up here!"
"Wait, what? Caribou? Where?"
"Up here ON THE ROAD."
Now, this might not seem like an emergency situation to you. But holy cow did it feel like one. As SOON as I said, "DEAN. CARIBOU." He went into freaking "hunter" mode and almost left us all behind. Maddie was still in the shower, Max was already putting pajamas on and Jake and I were sitting on the couch. I swear, its like watching someone on Speed!
He grabbed Grandpa Max's .308, yelled at Little Max to "HURRY UP!" (he didn't quite know what to do.) I told Max to get some socks on, put real shoes on and get in the car NOW!
Rushing out the door, I grabbed some mosquito dope, the camera and my sunglasses and was quick on their tales.
During the car ride out there we were all smiles letting Max know what to do and what not to do. "Don't point the gun anywhere except toward the caribou." "Don't put your finger on the trigger until you're ready to shoot." "Make sure you breathe!"
Nervously, he said, "I hope the caribou are out there..." And they were. Four of them as a matter of fact. And our Maxie got his first caribou.
Here is the story in Max's words:
"Uhm, aana Fannie called and said she saw caribou on the tundra, then we drove out there. John Chase, he shot a cairbou, then they started running. Then we ran in the car, we drove ahead, and they ran behind this hill. Me and dad were up over the hill and they started running across the road. So we got off and dad said, 'Max, Max are you ready?'
He gave me the rifle, I was resting on dad's shoulder, you know the arm rest, or the stock thing, it goes on the shoulder, uhm, my shoulder wasn't on the stock it was over it. And when I shot my eye was right close to the scope, cause when I was trying to aim the crosshair was moving but not on purpose, but cause I was excited.
Then I shot, I got the scope burn and I got the caribou! So then my dad grabs the rifle from me, he shoots and misses. Then the caribou fell down dead. My dad turns around looks at me and then he sees there's blood all over my face and I'm crying. He asked what happened and then knew I got scope burn.
My dad's got one too, but mine is like right between my eyes, on the top of my nose. Then I couldn't stop talking and I stayed up until three am! From the time we shot it, we got all the insides out and brought it up, and then we cut it all up outside on the trailer then we went to bed, it was like three hours."
My husband's chest was busting out of his shirt, he was so proud. It was unbelievable. I even sacrificed my shins to walk down to the caribou in the tundra and take some better pictures.
And even though Dean had to get up extra early this morning to fly to Kobuk, the pride and happiness in his heart allowed him to stay up late, get up early and get to Kobuk on time!
Right now, Max is riding his bike around town to deliver meat to "elders." My aana told him that if he wanted to get more Caribou that he had to give the WHOLE thing away. And as we do follow Inupiaq tradition, I am sitting here, drooling because there is mounds and mounds of meat on my table...and I can't eat it!
Congratulations to Little Max. I think the hunting bug has bit you hard (right between the eyes)! Just like your daddy.