Family Traditions, страница 1
By Kevin Saito
by Kevin Saito
Copyright 2013 Kevin Saito
All Rights Reserved
Cover Photo by MorgueFile
Cover Design by Kevin Saito
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, trademarked products, events, and locations are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.
If you'd like to read more from this author, check out his website at www.kevinsaito.com or follow him on Facebook
Gerald sat on the rocky outcropping as the first purple and pink fingers of dawn crawled lazily across the canopy of the forest below. He watched the steam from his cup of coffee drift upward into the brisk morning air. Closing his eyes, he took a long, deep breath, savoring the heavy scent of pine mixed with an earthy musk. His own father had been bringing him to hunt in this forest since he'd been able to hold a bow and it had never lost its magic or appeal. It was his favorite time of the day in his favorite place in the world. And it was a very special day.
He felt the presence behind him and smiled. “It's your big day.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” came the hesitant reply.
“Yeah,” he said slowly. “I'm fine.”
He turned to face his son, putting a hand on his shoulder. “You’re fifteen today. A man,” he said. “It’s time to push and challenge yourself. Go beyond your limits.”
“I guess I’m just nervous,” the boy said.
Gerald smiled knowing he'd been just as nervous as his son when he'd gone through the traditional coming of age hunt. The first hunt had been a rite of passage, a rite of manhood in the family for time out of mind. Generations ago, when the family's survival depended upon the ability to put food on the table, it held a different and greater significance; but family tradition was still family tradition and he would not be the one to break the chain.
Besides, he loved being able to get out into this magical place and spend time with his son. They loved hunting together. Bonding. After countless trips into the woods together, he felt a twinge of pride blended with a profound sense of nostalgia blossoming within his chest. His son was becoming a man and he knew that things would inevitably begin to change. This could be one of the last times they walked through the woods together and enjoyed the serene simplicity of the earth and of the hunt. He blinked back the tears that threatened to spill from his eyes.
Stepping forward, he ruffled his son’s hair. “Don’t be. You’ll do great,” he said. “And no matter what, I’ll always be proud of you, Scotty.”
The boy smiled as he nervously fiddled with the compound bow in his hands. “Thanks, dad.”
“And besides, you can't go wrong,” he said. “I’ve taught you everything I know.”
“Don’t worry,” Scott replied. “I think I can overcome that handicap.”
He laughed out loud, shattering the stillness of the morning air and sending a flock of birds that had been nesting in a nearby tree skyward.
“Come on smartass,’ Gerald said. “Daylight’s burning and you’re on point.”
He watched his son, just a few yards ahead of him as they walked in the cool and damp air amidst the tall trees of the forest. He could tell that Scott was tense and watchful but to his credit, he looked calm and alert with his bow in hand, arrow nocked and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Scott wasn’t quite as tall as he was yet, but he was definitely more athletic and far stronger than he’d been at his age.
As Gerald walked, he wondered as he often did if he’d done right by his son as he’d grown up. Had he given him all of the advantages he’d never had when he'd been a kid? Had he given him the freedom and ability to choose who he wanted to be and what he wanted to do? Was Scotty happier than he’d been at his age?
He’d never had any choice but to follow in his father’s footsteps, eventually taking over the family’s woodworking business. It had just been expected that he'd take over the business when his own father stepped down. Gerald realized that he was lucky in the fact that he enjoyed the work enormously. He loved the act of creation and the creative freedom the work allowed. And it allowed him to provide a comfortable living for his family. But he was always keenly aware that running the family business had never been a choice for him.
When Gerald found out that Abby was pregnant, he’d vowed to do things differently than his own father had. He wanted nothing but the best in life for his son and made the decision that he’d give his child choices and opportunities that he'd never had. Scott could be anybody he wanted, do anything he desired Gerald swore that he would never force his son into a life that he didn’t want to lead. He just hoped that he'd never unintentionally influenced or coerced Scott into following in his footsteps and that the life he led was the one he genuinely wanted.
This day's hunt was the only tradition he'd asked Scott to adhere to. Simply because it was family tradition. And because he wanted to enjoy at least one more day in the woods with his boy.
“I found the tracks.”
Scott's voice pulled him back into the present. Kneeling down beside his son, he peered at the tracks heavily imprinted into the soft dirt of the forest floor.
“Nice catch,” he said. “See? Looks like your old man taught you some useful tracking skills after all.”
“Stevie Wonder could’ve seen these tracks, pop,” Scott said with an impish grin.
“Have you always been this much of a wiseass?”
“It’s a family trait.”
Scott grinned, stood up and followed the tracks. He just shook his head, smiled and followed his son deeper into the forest.