Switzerland County’s David Hewitt. The articles will center
on all things ‘outdoors’, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship
– to the simply pleasures of a late night campfire with
your son, as David talks about here. Look for more articles
coming in future editions.
“Are you bored, Bud?” I asked my 14 year-old as he lay
sprawled across the couch.
“No, not really” was his reply, but his body language and
demeanor told another story. “Well, I’m going outside” I shot
“What are you going to do?” he questioned…
What would I do? It was too late in the day to try and hunt
mushrooms and the undergrowth taking over the woods would
make it nearly impossible to tromp around and look for shed
antlers. We could shoot our bows, but this late in the evening
would make that short-lived and there wasn’t enough time to
load up the fishing gear and head out to wet a line…
Then it came to me, a fire!
“I’m gonna build a campfire”.
Almost before I could finish the sentence, he was off the
couch, boots on and out the door.
We gathered up some tender and kindling and made our way
to the make shift fire pit at the edge of the woods. In no time,
the boy coaxed a good flame from a tiny flicker that would
make any seasoned woodsman proud. The April air was just
cool enough to make the warmth of the fire welcome. The
flames popped and cracked and danced as the smell of hickory
smoke, green cedar and even some old kiln dried 2×4’s filled
We fed the fire and poked at its orange and white coals and
watched how they breathed. We talked about hunting and seasons
past and upcoming. We talked about shots taken and hits
and misses. Deer with giant antlers and gobbling turkeys. We
talked bows and arrows and sharpening knives. Trucks and tree
stands and survival skills.
We talked about fishing and bluegill fillets and ones that got
away. We talked about school and friends and classmates and
grades. We talked about noises in the dark and night time in
From him it was usually “Wouldn’t it be awesome if…” or “I
wish that we could…” and “When I’m older, I’m going too…”
I’d sit back and listen and nod and smile. From me it started
with, “When I was your age…” and “I remember when…” and
“We used too…” – and he’d sit back and listen and laugh.
For two solid hours, we did nothing – and at the same
time it was everything. We leaned into our chairs, prodded the
flames, bathed in the wood smoke and slugged our A&W’s
from their brown bottles.
We joked, we talked, we dreamed and we thought. We were
outdoors – but most of all we just “were”.
We were father and son.
A middle aged guy and his teenage boy just being what and
who we were supposed to be. No cell phones, no notebook or
laptop. No Dish or cable, just the two of us.
The flames start to die down as the last piece of punky wood
hisses and pops and sends sparks skyward. I take one last sip
of my root beer and glance at the young man to my left silhouetted
by the fire and wonder if he’s still bored…-