I knew taking Grandpa shopping would be a major cause of embarrassment. Of that there was little doubt. The doubt came, however, in the form of, “How”, it was going to happen. Only time would tell. After cruising the aisles of Cabela’s, or as Grandpa referred to it, “The Candy Store”, we found ourselves in front of the lightweight super-duper body warming outdoor clothing. It was here, where grandpa made his move. And being the big fish that I am; I went for it hook, line, and sinker.
“I used to be a trapper?” Grandpa began while gently rubbing the lightweight, super-duper body warming material between his thumb and fingers.
“You don’t say?” I began…nibbling at the bait he laid out. “I thought I heard all your stories. I don’t remember anything about you being a trapper.” I queried, taking a little more of the bait.
“It was for the government, you see. They swore me to secrecy.” He said, feeding me a little more line. “I probably shouldn’t say anymore.” He said while looking about. “They might have this place wired and taping every word I say on one of them fancy recorders.” He ended, bugging his eyes out for emphasis.
“No, we had to think lighter. Those critters was to bulky! We had to go light! We was thinking nanotechnology before there were a name for it.” He looked over his shoulders, making sure none of the other shoppers were eavesdropping. “Now don’t go spreading this around, but smell this.” He paused to take a whiff of the material before passing it over for me to smell. “Do you smell that?” He asked, as his eyebrows shot up in recognition, and his nose wrinkled in disgust?”
“I guess so.” I said unsure what it was I was smelling. “What is it?” I asked.
“Fartskins!” He whispered with a twinkle in his eyes. “They feed us beans for every meal. We used to trap them in our sleeping bags. We called them fartsacks.” He laughed, unable to hold the laughter in any longer. Then he began to tease me. “Got you again, you wet behind the ears, kid.” My face turning red, as he enjoyed his joke. I made my purchases, and we left the store; off to an adventure we would share out on the ice, catching fish to share with our family.
Years later, I remembered that story while tightening the laces of my Cabela’s brand calf length gore-tex insulated boots with the Scent-lok feature; I stepped out into the pre winter cold, with a light breeze blowing against my exposed cheeks quickly making them numb.
“If only I had my gore-tex face mask.” I said to myself, smiling. I reached into my coat pocket to get my gloves, and my face mask rolled out onto the ground.
My faithful dog, Jacy, playfully reached down to pick it up, thinking we were about to play a game of keep away. I was quicker than he was, however, but his twinkling blue eyes clearly expressed he would forgive me, in exchange for a good walk in the snow. So with a command of, “Let’s go!” Jacy’s Husky blood raced as he pulled against the harness that was attached to the chain that linked us together for this walk in the snow.
The Cabela’s boots crunched big chunks out of the snows smooth, wind-blown surface as the dog and master made their way to the frozen lakes edge.
The master observed the thin ice, and tested its shallow edge. Using a fraction of his weight, the master heard the cracking, and immediately pulled his foot back. The 40-pound dog, however, took the sound of the cracking ice as an invitation to go play. So with a smile on his face, the dog ran about sliding upon the lakes slippery surface. Finishing his ice romp, the dog made for less slippery snow-covered ice and began sniffing for any treats suitable for a good dog like himself.
They walked like this for half an hour more, seeing frozen cattail’s glistening under the sun surrounded by dry, brown reeds dancing to the winds persistent chorus under a clear blue sky. Red berries were hanging nervously to bare, brown twigs of the recently denuded bushes; betrayed by falls stripping of their camouflaging cover, they were now fully exposed to the hungry, winter birds who would feast on them as winters grip tightened.
At last they arrived back to the house. The master released the hasp of the leash that held the dog in check, then released the mechanism that held the dogs harness together. The dog tiredly trotted to his water dish for a refreshing drink, as the master removed his coat, and then his boots, which kept his feet warm and dry. Fartskin technology hard at work, no doubt. The master smiled to himself.
The master could feel the perspiration form around the collar of his shirt, and while walking to the coffee pot with socks melting halfway off his feet, he heard the dog sigh in satisfaction of a good walk; as they rested there, in the warmth of the house by the lake.