Picture from Chico, California early 80s

I ask my neighbor if he’s ever been to Chico. He met a girl from there who invited him to her mom’s, in Paradise. He took his shotgun since it was bird-hunting season, and drove his truck in the late October afternoon until the mud was so thick he had to pull over.

Tens of thousands of geese overhead, everywhere. So loud, he had to wad his ears full of cotton.

Chuck lays down in an irrigation ditch with his gun, waiting. He’s not even in camo. There’s a landing strip where they come in, but after they land, they take off again, swirl around, and come back in. He counts four varieties, and gets one of each, for a four-bird limit.

When he shoots, they don’t even scatter. One nearly hits him in the head when it falls to the ground.

Chuck loads them in his cooler and goes to his girlfriend’s mom’s house, asks if he can clean them on the deck. It’s easier to get the feathers out when the bodies are still warm.

He guts the birds and wraps the remains in a plastic bag, then buries it in the back yard so the bear won’t get to it. He has pictures but says it doesn’t matter, because you can’t experience the memory the same way.


About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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1 Response to Picture from Chico, California early 80s

  1. No, you can’t experience the memory the same way. This reminds me of the hunt of wild turkeys while I was on sabbatical. I learned how to skin a turkey with my bare hands, in the mountain, while the turkey was still warm. It was like undressing a turkey inch by inch. “Clean”, methodical, bloodless (with wads of Clorox wipes to sanitize hands afterwards.) Civilization has its benefits. Thanks for letting me remember.


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