Don't Go Down In There - Part 1

        It was very seldom, almost never that I told my dad what to do. Part of the reason would be that he was six foot six inches tall and weighed 300 pounds, was a star athlete at BYU and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers but he declined, and served a mission instead. Anyway, you think twice before you tell a giant what to do if you get my drift. But there was a time or two.

            One time I remember, was when Dad and I were hunting up on Mount Harrison with Bishop Brunt and his boys. Dad and I were by ourselves in the Jeep, we were down on the south face, west of the head of Clyde, where it drops down into Willow Creek I believe was the name of that drainage. The Bishop was hunting the other side of the mountain several miles to the east.  We were to rendezvous at camp later that evening after shooting light.  I had walked down in to the head of the Willow Creek Canyon and jumped a couple of deer and got one of them.  After dressing it out I hiked up to the ridge where Dad was with the Jeep, told him I had one down, and thought that the two of us could drag it up to the Jeep.

            Dad eyeballed the canyon and told me he thought we could Jeep down there and get my deer. I thought it was too steep and we might not make it out of there. Dad wasn’t in good shape physically and I couldn’t blame him for wanting to get it with the Jeep, but on the other hand it really did worry me that we’d get stuck down there. Well Dad sized things up again and determined he could do it. I felt quite strongly that we couldn’t, so I asserted myself and said as authoritatively as I could muster, “Dad, don’t go down there!”  Immediately I had the definite impression that I should have employed my diplomatic skills a little longer and with more finesse. “Get in,” Dad said, not unkindly, and with a hint of adventure in his eye like, “Son, I’ve been around the block many times with old Willey here don’t fret yourself.”

            So we started down into the draw, it was feeling dang steep to me, but Dad seemed ok so I relaxed some, thinking we’d most likely fare all right. We arrived shortly where I’d left the deer, and we loaded it in the back, climbed back in and Dad put it in compound low, and started to back out the way we came in. We only went a foot or two and something broke with a loud metallic sound. I looked at Dad.  He had this look on his face. It was the look of a person who committed a very bad sin.

            It was the u-joint in the drive shaft as I remember. Dad immediately assessed the damage, told me what it was, apologized, which I felt bad he had to say it, it was a humiliating thing I did not enjoy. But there we were, alone on the mountain, about three miles from camp, it was sundown and a snow storm was starting to drop its first few flakes. I had a very depressing, lonely feeling, and I was worried about Dad, because we had a long hike up to the top of the mountain, then another long walk to camp and I knew Dad was not in any condition for that.  I worried about a heart attack. I didn’t say anything about those feelings, tried to keep upbeat and positive, but inside I was slumping pretty bad. We put our coats on, got our rifles and started our long uphill climb...

To be continued...

This painting is entitled "No Short Cuts" which seemed fitting as far as the theme of this story goes!


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