August 12, 2012
My wedding day.
A day I will never forget.
Everything was perfect.
My wife was breathtaking.
We had planned everything and it was all going smoothly. We had talked about our future so many times over the last 2 years of engagement that I had a pretty good mental image of the next 60+ years of my life. I felt more prepared for this moment than anything I had ever done in my entire life.
I was pro. I was so pro that I told other people I was pro. I had a great relationship, great family, great friends, and a great place.
Oh the place! It was perfect! I had been to this place many times before; walking the dogs and even having an anniversary dinner on a small cliff band overlooking the shoreline. It was the perfect spot to get hitched.
All 190+ relatives and guests took their seats on the shoreline as I prepared to walk down the aisle. My fiance was going to come to shore on a boat to the spot where we were going to say our vows. It was perfect!
I began to walk down the aisle to the familiar '80s ballad by Europe, "The Final Countdown". (Did I mention how cool my wife is?) Anyway, that's when I blacked out. Just kidding, but seriously, the night was amazing. Everything had gone as planned.
I woke up in the morning and was so excited to be married! And I even had a plan for the next 60+ years of perfect. I had all the confidence of a man with a lethal combination of zero experience and zero fear of failure.
And then IT happened.
I hadn't planned for IT.
I didn't even see IT coming.
I opened a card from my old college buddies. One of them was even one of my groomsman. It read these fateful words. Words that could only be uttered by someone who knows what drives you to do the craziest things you've ever done in your life. It read simply, "Congratulations, Your Off Season just became an On Season".
As a passionate mountain biker and skier, that left only one true season in the High Rockies.
Autumn, the infamous dead season of the resort towns of the Rocky Mountains.
I again thought, "what the hell are they talking about?" How could this be my "On Season"?
The card was attached to a Weatherby SA-08 12ga. Shotgun.
All 364 days of the year that followed my wedding and the previously planned 60+ years of marital bliss went out the window.
On August 11, 2012 my life changed forever. Everything I thought I knew about life: gone. Every bit of experience I had; didn't matter. Every single last bit of planning 60+ years of life changed that instant.
I was given the greatest gift of a lifetime.
I became a hunter.