When I woke up today, it was 1947!

Dec 19, 2019 | 1 comment

Duck Hunter Dobby Wiegardt

I was in the wrong bedroom and in the wrong part of the house — not in my familiar upper southwest corner with a view of the church — but in my snuggly, sleepy state that didn’t really register.  What woke me this morning were the sounds of duck hunters’ shotguns out on the bayfront.  Such a comforting all’s-well-with-the-world sound here in Oysterville.  At least to me.  It took me right back to my childhood.

I have a number of friends who take umbrage with those nostalgic hunting thoughts.  I don’t think any of them are deeply rooted here along Willapa Bay.  They didn’t grow up with relatives and friends (all “menfolk” in my memory) going out in the pre-dawn hours of fall and winter to “bag a few” ducks or geese for dinner.  This morning I wondered idly if whoever it was out there was hoping to score their Christmas dinner on this cold, rainy pre-dawn.

Of course, even when I was a child, there weren’t many folks who regularly supplemented their diets by hunting.  Not like in my grandfather’s childhood.  In those days, the late 1800s, the most “famous” holiday hunting exploits took place at Thanksgiving in Bay Center.  The men supplied the ducks (or other fowl) and the women cooked the rest of dinner which was served to the entire community in Tom Olsen’s Hall.  As part of the fun, the hunters divided themselves into teams and assigned point values to the various birds:

Duck Hunters Chris and Larry Freshley

Crane or Coot 5
Teal, Butterball, Jacksnipe 10
Widgeon, Redhead, Spoonbill, Bluebill 30
Mallard, Canvasback, Sprig 40
Brant 60
Canada Goose, White Goose 80
Honker Goose 100
Swan 200

The winning captain got the biggest pie; the loser had to make the first speech. The winning team got all the wishbones; the losers had to help clear off the tables after the feast.

I can’t help but wonder how such a community event would go over these days.  Maybe pretty well in 1947.  But in 2019… probably not so much.




1 Comment

  1. Berntza Kristina Jones

    Beloved Cuz, Probably I’m your last commentator, but I sure have loved reading your headily nostalgic blogs of the last few days. No, you’re not losing it, yes, you are impatient, but mostly you are Hugely Dear. I remember picking out bits of shot from successful duck feeds; singing carols, playing charades, generally carousing about and enjoying each other enormously over the holidays. I am glad to be visiting kids and grandkids this year and I hope that your ebullient laughter and golden heart have a wonderful time! Love, KK


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