There are some family treasures that are treasures to me, but I don’t have them with me. But I would like to tell you about them.
I’ve mentioned before that my Dad worked in church work (Southern Baptist) all his working career. Looking at some of those in the “religious” field these days, you might get the idea that all pastors (my Dad was not a pastor) and church workers are rolling in the bucks. Let me tell you – it is NOT so!!
Consequently, being the farm boy he was in the beginning of his life, he would go deer hunting every season to bring his family meat to eat. We really ate well. Occasionally, Mom would go with him and they would bag two deer – we REALLY ate well those years.
And then, when my brother, Bill, was old enough to hunt with Daddy, he would go along, and they usually bagged two deer, again. I’ve used these pictures in other musings, but they bear repeating for this posting.
One thing I’ve failed to mention is that Daddy eventually began butchering his kill. Albuquerque is cold in the winter, so Daddy would hang the deer in the garage, skin it, then butcher it. He didn’t always do that. At first, he would take the deer to a local butcher and have it done there. But somewhere along the way, Daddy discovered that he was not getting “his” meat back. Don’t know who was getting it, but it wasn’t us. So one year he set a test – he put a straw under the tongue of the deer. And guess what? The straw wasn’t there when he went to pick up his meat. That was the last time he let anyone else butcher his meat.
One little footnote here – if you have ever wanted to cook venison, the recipe usually calls for soaking it in milk or something else overnight before cooking. Well, let me tell you…New Mexico deer eat only the “good stuff” in the mountains – pine nuts, etc. So there is no “gamey” taste to the venison. Mother would make roasts, steaks, and the best chili I’ve ever had, out of that venison!! After butchering, the meat was wrapped and stored in our freezer until she was ready to cook it. Yum..
I know that in previous musings I mentioned that one year Daddy bagged an elk. Those things are HUGE!! Lots of good meat for our freezer that year.
What I’ve not mentioned is that Daddy had a stuffed deer head on our dining room wall. I don’t know why – except it was always just “there” – part of the woodwork of growing up in that house. It may have been the first deer Daddy ever bagged – I’m not sure. What irritates me is that, after looking through ALL the pictures and slides from my growing up, I cannot find one single picture of that deer head!
What’s kind of funny is that there is a deer head in every Cracker Barrel we’ve ever been in. And the one in the restaurant near our house had one that could have been hanging on our wall! Here’s a picture of it………see the “ripple” on it’s neck? That is exactly like our deer head had! (I took this picture are our Cracker Barrel!) None of the deer heads in the other Cracker Barrel’s we’ve been to has the “ripple.” This one reminds me of the one I grew up with.
So, even though I don’t have the picture of our actual deer head, this one will do. This one is an 8-point buck, just like the one at our house. Who knows – perhaps Cracker Barrel acquired theirs from my family. Stranger things have happened.