Guest Blog from Realtree.com's Michael Pendley
I am the father of a teenaged daughter. Michaela is 13, going on 20. Headstrong, stubborn, opinionated, smart and beautiful, she is the love of my life.
And she is absolutely certain that I am wrong on just about everything. It seems these days that even the simplest of our exchanges end in a foot stomping, door slamming, screaming tantrum.
And that's just me. Her reaction is usually even worse.
My wife blames it on similar personalities. She uses a few of those same words to describe me, namely: headstrong, stubborn and opinionated. Maybe she's right, I don't know. What I do know is that there can't possibly be two other people on this planet that disagree more often.
But as the spring days grow longer and the drab hold of winter begins to lose its grasp to the green resurrection of spring, a change in our relationship comes to pass. Michaela and I share a passion for turkey hunting.
As the season draws near, we find ourselves spending more time together. We practice our calls, watch turkey hunts on television or online, go over gear and make a list of things we might need.
We share a tattered copy of Tenth Legion. She's still fairly new to the text and I'm comfortably familiar to the point of memorization. And mostly, as long as the topics don't stray too far, some sort of magic happens and we get along.
When the season finally does roll around, Michaela's normal aversion to rising before noon disappears and we spend the wee hours of the morning over our cups of coffee and tea, talking about the hunt to come, and waiting for everyone else to wake up. Sunrises, the call of the whippoorwill and the owl, the first gobbles to shatter the stillness of the morning - shared experiences we will talk about for months to come.
These are memories that bring us a little closer together during the times that find us far apart.
I love to watch her peer into the timber as her breath grows shallow and fast, searching for the first glimpse of color that signals the longbeard we have pleaded to for so long has finally capitulated to our calls and is headed our way.
No turkey has ever fallen to my gun that brings greater joy than seeing one fall to hers.
I remind myself from time to time, when both of us seem near the breaking point, that my little girl won't always be little.
Soon college, and life, will pull her in other directions. There will come a day when I spend the early mornings of turkey season drinking coffee by myself. A time when an unexpected gobble shatters the silence and I turn, grinning, to share my excitement with my turkey hunting buddy . . . and no grin answers me back.
Until then though, we will share the spring mornings and maybe, just maybe, it will help us get through the rest of the year with a little less strife.