By Michael L. Ritchie D.C.
Apart from two years when I had midterms in college, I have not missed the Michigan rifle deer opener in 48 years. In that many years, you develop some habits or rituals. Good habits like sighting in your rifle, freshening up your blind with new cedar boughs, washing your clothes in scent-free soap, repacking your backpack with matches, compass, extra socks, shells, gutting knife, hunting license, water and, of course, snacks.
In 1976 my dad, uncle, cousin and high school friend, Al, were hunting together at our deer camp in Marion, MI. The 400 Club was the nicest piece of deer heaven a hunter could ask for. 400 acres of rolling hills, mixed hardwoods; beaver ponds all bordered by farm fields. It was loaded with game. The typical routine was that my Dad, Al, and I would arrive first and get the cabin propane stove fired up, the flies swept up, the wood for the wood cookstove stocked, water pumped for dishes, our bunks set up for the restless night’s sleep. Usually, Uncle Ken and cousin Kenny would roll in sometime after midnight. They’re ETA was always up in the air because of Uncle Ken’s work schedule. He would do all he could to get to camp for opening morning because in Michigan over 50% of the bucks were shot on the first day. You don’t want to miss it!
The three of us had dinner. Then we checked and double-checked our equipment, told stories, and confirmed on the map which blind each would be hunting the next morning. The anticipation was high, and it would be 1-2 am before we would get into a deep sleep. Uncle Ken and Kenny showed up later and more tired than normal “Mike, what time did you set the alarm for?” ” Five thirty,” I replied, and we finally all settled in. Wouldn’t want to sleep in on opening morning and miss it!
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The next thing I remember was the sunlight was streaming through the window and everyone was still sleeping. We had missed it! As I woke everyone up, the question was “I thought you set the alarm?” I did it set it but it must be broken!
Al took it out of my hand and says, “I will fix it.” While the rest of us are scurrying to get ready we heard a shot outside the cabin. We all ran outside to see who was shooting this close to the cabin. Al stood there in his boots and pajamas with a big grin on his face “fixed that alarm clock!”
The world we live in is in serious need of fixing. We all prepare for different important things like school, work, and play, for weddings, ballgames and, yes, opening day of gun season. What are we doing to prepare for eternity? There will be a day when the alarm sounds (trumpet) and we will rise to be with Jesus. We don’t know when that day will be. He wants us to always be prepared because he is coming without warning. Another consideration is who will we be bringing along with us? Heaven, like deer camp, is best enjoyed with those you love. Why would you want to leave anyone behind? Get ready, tomorrow could be opening day. I think I see the Son peaking through the clouds.
Never want to miss it
Never want to miss my grandson’s birthday
Or a sunrise on Higgins lake
Fall leaves in the Michigan Woods
My wife’s banana walnut cake
Yet one day I know that I will
The thought of it gives me a chill
So I’ll hold lightly on to this life
Will reach to heaven with all my might
Until you finally call me home
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=1%20Thessalonians%204:16-17&version=AKJV