My mom never intended to raise a girl to be a woman who shoots, hunts and fishes. We never did any of those things together. She shudders at the word “gun.” Yet, she raised a girl who turned into a woman who loves the outdoors, and all those aforementioned traditions.
In these times, when we ponder how to get more women interested in the outdoors and how to raise girls that are anglers, hunters and shooters, we need to understand that it’s never too late for a woman to get outdoors oriented.
For children, though, the process is best if it starts with play in the outdoors. As a kid in North Dakota, I spent a lot of time bundled up in my snowsuit, mittens, hat, scarf and boots. My mom sent my sisters and me out to find our swing set after a blizzard one time. I still remember my sister Brenda crouched over the spot where she thought it might be located, digging down and finding the top of one of the posts.
We ran a little wild, not totally wild. Some of my sisters tried to sell rocks to the neighbors. We played dead and hauled each other around in wagons with blankets over our heads. We became veterinarians in Africa and our giraffes were trees in the woods nearby, and we were cowgirls and Indian princesses and we went all tactical and played Army with the boys and dropped from trees in ambush situations. Our dad, a football coach, taught each of us to throw a perfect spiral and what the Fumbleruski play meant. He also created a super pot roast recipe that our family calls the Fumbleruski, but that’s for another column, and I would substitute venison instead of beef.
Our mom? When she visited my classroom when I was in the fourth grade, the kids said, “Your mom? Your mom! She looks like a moooovie star!” And she did. Marlys Ann (Knutson) Boschee stayed at home to raise us, and then went into the classroom and raised a whole bunch of kids who needed a mom (and toothbrushes, from the sound of it – which she supplied) and then, went on and got her doctorate degree and taught a whole bunch of big kids how to be great teachers and even rode in a convertible one time in the university’s homecoming parade.
And while she raised us, she pushed us to explore the outdoors and she played ball with us and packed us picnic lunches and climbed mountains with us, and made us learn to swim, even though she never could swim and always said, “I’m a sinker.”
No, she will never be a “sinker” in my book! She hit tennis balls back to us, and pitched countless softballs over the backyard base for practice, and sat up late at night to sew a velvet ball gown for me when I was a Sweetheart princess candidate, and jumped a sled in the mountains and my kids marveled and yelled, “Hey, look at Grandma go!”
I’m surprised she never really took to shooting or hunting or ice climbing, to tell you the truth, because she is that kind of woman. But then again, she’s not finished with her mission here yet either.
Thanks, Mom. ~ Barbara Baird