The true story of an unforgettable youth waterfowl hunt in Louisiana

Louisiana Youth Weekend

By Megan Mayeux

Rolling down the rough, rocky road, the radio wailed as it was tuned to the Oldies. Two kids sat in the back on the mud-stained leather seats, in the old black pickup, rainbow-patterned bags begging at their feet. A grandfather with white hair, well in his sixties, shifted in the front. As he drove, a 20-gauge shotgun rattled in the truck bed. The two kids, both young girls, wore camouflage, as did their grandfather. One girl (Abby) was a sugar-filled girly girl, the other (Megan) a quiet old soul, more of a tomboy than a girly girl, but at the same time not really either. The girls colored as they rode, missing lines all too easily. They knew where they were headed. Just a few hours away, tucked safely behind overgrown weeds and seeds and a steel gate, sat a small house. A house that had seen its better days, that soaked up the dull forest green, with its yellowy white trim, a beauty in its day. There they would meet new friends, where they would play hide and go seek in the dark, and huddle on the rickety, creaky porch listening to the howling coyotes in the night. All they had to do was get there, ugh.

The trio strolled to a halt at the shack that stood before them. Yawning, they climbed out of the pickup, gathering their supplies as they went. Climbing the rickety, creaky porch, they noticed the beautiful lake that held small boats and geese. They made their way to the door, a piece of wood stapled to the door frame, no sturdier than a piece of cardboard, offering no protection from the outside. After pushing past the refrigerator, they made it to their room. The dingy and dusty room held no more than two bunk beds, some neon fishing rods, and a small, empty closet. Once they had all settled in, the girls ran outside to meet their new friends, as the huddle of grandfathers and dads got acquainted.

As the sky got darker, the friends became closer. They all played hide and go seek about a thousand times, splitting up into different groups, and playing again. At the camp, there were ten kids--four girls and six boys. During the times when the groups weren't playing all together, the girls and boys would split up and do their own things. The girls talked mainly about guys, while the boys wrestled. Once the sun was completely missing, the kids huddled on the porch, chatting about their day, and their day to come. Tomorrow would be the real reason they came to this remote place, to get some exercise and some food. The coyotes howled in the distance, while the mosquitoes circled around the few porch lights. As the men got ready for their early morning, the lights dimmed, and everything fell silent. 

The alarm sighed as the adults rolled off their mattresses and sauntered to the kitchen, the kids following right behind them. Once the men had finished their coffee, and stacked the cups in the overflowing sink, they all gathered their shotguns and headed out to their trucks. As the children snored in the back, the men drove, turning on their windshield wipers to wipe away the ink from the sky. When they arrived at their destination, they all dove into the undergrowth, where they would wait till noon. As the sky lit up with all kinds of colors, everybody waited as ducks flew here and there. Abby aimed to shoot, but was already too late--the duck had flown away.

The rest of the day went on like this, and eventually all three of them left, dragging nothing behind but their heads. By the time they made it back to that small house, lunch was already cooked, ducks with rice. Even though the food was delicious, it reminded the trio that they had missed every duck that had flown their way. As the rest of the plates were given a scrub and put back on their shelves, they all headed out to the field, guns in hand. The group decided to shoot clays as practice. As one orange clay soared in the sky, it was suddenly shattered to bits by the roaring sound. One after another they all did the same, every now and then missing. And after they had run out of clays, they all went back inside, where they had dinner, and fell asleep.

Before the girls and boys headed to their hiding places, they gathered their supplies and headed out the door. Abby and Megan had already figured that they wouldn't collect any ducks today either. As they huddled in the soggy grass, Abby spotted a duck. Doubting if she should even try and shoot, she aimed the gun, and before she knew it, she had shot the duck dead. Abby, excited and pleased, ran to the lake to fetch her prize. The trio marveled at the new member of the family, a mud, brown duck, with turquoise splashes creeping up his neck. His lifeless head hung down towards the ground. It was no heavier than a baby doll.

Once they got packed up and back to the camp, Abby happily handed Megan the duck to clean, as she ran inside to share the news with her family. Cleaning the duck was a bloody and feathery mess, but once the job was completed, they would have a fine meal for their last dinner together. After dinner was finished, the grandfathers and dads chatted at the table, while the kids went outside one last time. They played as long as they could, until the men called for them. They said their goodnights, got in their beds, and drifted into a warm sleep.

Their vacation had ended and everyone gathered their things. They passed the dingy and dusty room that held no more than two bunk beds, some neon fishing rods, and a small, empty closet. After pushing past the refrigerator, they made their way to the door. The door, a piece of wood stapled to the doorframe, no sturdier than a piece of cardboard, offered no protection from the outside. Climbing down the rickety, creaky porch, they noticed the beautiful lake that held small boats and geese. And finally the trio strolled to a halt as they looked back at the shack that stood behind them.

They all said their goodbyes and sat in the back on the mud stained leather seats, in the old black pickup, rainbow patterned bags begging at their feet. A grandfather, well in his sixties, with white hair shifted in the front. As he drove, a 20-gauge shotgun rattled in the tailgate. The two kids, both young girls, wore camouflage, as did their grandfather. One girl (Abby) was a sugar filled girly girl, the other (Megan) a quiet old soul, more of a tomboy than a girly girl, but at the same time not really either. The girls colored as they rode, missing lines all too easily. They knew where they were headed, just a few hours away, sat a beautiful white house, where their grandmother was waiting for them.