Let me tell you about my friend Mary. Mary is 94 years young and an avid outdoors woman. Her hunting story started as a young girl during the depression when she was taunted by an older brother who insisted “Mary can’t hunt because she is a girl.” Mary spent a lifetime proving that not only can girls hunt...but they can do so even in their nineties. She is the ultimate proof that while many use age as an excuse, it is just that. An excuse. She continues to find refuge both on the side of a mountain and in tending her back yard paradise.
I recently had the privilege to spend many hours with Mary as she told stories that intertwined her life, faith, marriage and hunting. She is currently writing a book in the form of a memoir proving that even at 94, anything can be done. Mary has traveled the country hunting elk, deer, mule deer, sheep, bear, moose and about any other walking four legged beast your imagination can drum up. She encompasses everything I want to be when I grow up and inspires me to live life to the fullest. As a gal that also has a deep rooted love of Earth, nature, outdoors and clean eating through the harvesting of an animal, I immediately felt a kinship with Mary. And I have been blessed to have my story intertwine with hers.
For decades she has been hunting with a lucky hat. She insisted that indeed this hat holds the super power of achieving the ultimate connecting shot. In reality I think that this hat holds more than just luck or super powers in its wide set brim. It’s the memories attached to it which I could see so plainly etched in her expression and the softening of her eyes as she spoke of her days scaling mountains, camping, and hunting with her beloved husband and of course... the hat. These are her stories to tell and I hope to read them some day in her memoir. All I can say is Mary may have found a kindred spirit in myself because she has chosen to gift me with this hat. And it was not without a little tear and maybe a lot of trepidation that she handed over the hat and the magic it holds.
I promised her that I would be a good steward of not only the hat, but of the values it represents. She passed the torch so to speak. And I have a newfound motivation to live well through hunting, exploring, appreciating the magic of ordinary as well as seek out those extraordinary moments. Mary’s name is written inside the brim of this hat. I will keep it in hopes that someday when I feel my days are dwindling and my tree stand sunrises are numbered...that I can add my name to it and pass it on in hopes that it will continue to tell a story.