When you make plans in life, life has a way of changing, altering or downright blowing up your best-laid-out plans.  You don't get many days like I had yesterday with the kids.

You can plan all you want.  Make you plans for an outdoor birthday party.  Hello Tropical Storm.  Plan a camping trip for the family.  Battery won't pop up the camper.  Vacation to the coast?  Go ahead and stay there, because work is downsizing and you've been deemed expendable.

There are many ways a typical day can go terribly wrong.  There's so much beyond our control that it's more of a surprise when things go according to plan.  For me, Sunday was definitely a day of things going haywire, but by the time the sun went down it had turned into a day to remember.


A beautiful panoramic picture of my "hunting" spot Sunday. Photo by Jamie Garrett


I woke up Sunday morning not planning on going hunting with my brother and a friend of ours, but after getting some household work out of the way early I decided to take the boys out for the final day of dove hunting season.  Technically, I don't hunt.  I shoot bullets into the sky.  To "hunt" would mean you actually hit something.  I don't.  I just enjoy the time outdoors and the chance to get the boys acclimated around guns so they don't end up being the kids accidentally losing a toe because they didn't know how to check if a gun was loaded.

As I've mentioned, you can make all the plans you want, but if there's an accident on I-35 between your house and your destination your plans get altered.  Luckily my older son, Tyler, caught a glimpse of the electronic message board that stated it was 43 minutes to go 18 miles to Hewitt (our destination, of course).  We had to whip out Google Maps on the phone and go through Moody on Spring Valley Rd.

Logan, 5, stands in awe at seeing a cow up-close. He's a city boy, for sure. Photo by Jamie Garrett

Problem solved, right?  Wrong.  Almost as soon as we get on this little two-lane road we get stuck behind an RV, a truck with a trailer and a slow-moving SUV.  I should mention for the sake of proving my point about altered plans that I'm an angry driver.  Every second I spent behind those vehicles got me more and more upset.  I don't know why.  It just angers me when you're forced to drive 20 MPH or more below the speed limit because an octogenarian isn't comfortable taking curves in a Winnebago.

My Hemi got me out of that mess, but every time I was clear of one obstacle two more popped up.  I was forced to pass car after car on that road, and I wasn't even speeding.  It was just an afternoon of Sunday drivers.  Once we arrived at our destination, it was another hour running around picking up this, dropping off that and buying something else before we could FINALLY make the hour-long drive to the land where the "hunt" would occur.

Once we arrived, it didn't take long for Tyler to strike gold in the "anger dad" sweepstakes when he went knee deep in a stagnant pond in school jeans and school shoes.  Taking off the shoes and rolling up the jeans never even occurred to him.  That amazes me.  He spent the better part of the rest of the afternoon standing in the sunshine to dry off.  That took care of one son.  What about the other?  I-Phone to the rescue!!

I brought pretzels and Goldfish snacks and thought I was doing alright before my brother busted out his chuck wagon set-up. Photo by Jamie Garrett

We were far enough out in the country to be in the middle of nowhere, but we still had enough bars to keep him happy.  That meant dad could go off looking for wabbit... or doves.  I'd say over the course of four hours being out there we saw no more that a dozen birds TOTAL.  We left empty handed.

What can't be measured by the number of feathers you pluck is the memories that will come out of the day.  From Tyler going knee deep in a dookie pond to Logan's amazement at his first look face-to-face with a real cow to my brother playing the role of "Cooky" with his pot of beans, it was a great afternoon.

I may not have provided the family with dinner, but I taught the boys a little about gun safety.  My buddy Danny promptly ruined every bit of gun safety I taught the boys by shooting me in the calf with my son's Air Soft gun.  Magical times, I tell ya.

The boys even got a firsthand look at a dying breed... Small Town, America.  We drove through Moody, Rosebud, Marlin, Lott and other great communities the boys have never seen with all the I-35 driving we do.  It's hard for a 5-year-old kid to fathom living someplace that doesn't have a Wal-Mart, but he saw it yesterday.

My plans were altered from the outset, but it was never about that.  It didn't matter if we were stuck in traffic, because the people we were meeting were running late, anyway.  It didn't matter that we didn't kill anything, because it was never about "the kill".  It's about the hunt.  Yesterday I wasn't hunting for dove that I'd never eat to begin with.  It was about spending a day together with the boys that they'll hopefully remember for as long as I will.