Fools in Paradise
Copyright© 2019 by UtIdArWa
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t spend all of my time shooting down the Professors ideas. I did spend a lot of time following along behind and observing what they were up to. I don’t know where my thinking was. Maybe I thought I could learn something. If I did, I couldn’t tell you what it was.
Most of my time was spent keeping an eye on things. Making sure nobody wandered off a cliff, or fell into the river. It wasn’t boring, really. But after a couple of days, it got routine.
Suzy asked me one morning if I could find something to vary the menu that night. I thought about it and suggested either pheasant or grouse. I knew of a meadow not too far that was prime bird hunting. Suzy got more than excited. She had some left-over cornbread for a cornbread dressing and her spice cabinet was perfectly set up for game birds. Enough said, I had my mission.
While I was changing the load on my greener, Vince asked what I was up too. When I explained what the menu plan was, and why I needed to change the loads in the Greener, He practically begged to come along. He had been spending a lot of time tagging along behind me. Taking everything I said as if carved in stone by Dan’l Boone himself.
I had even taught him the 15 wrong ways to make fire. I had to admire his stick to it attitude, But he finally got frustrated and demanded I show him the right way. This was what I had been waiting for. I pulled out a kitchen match and started the fire. He was not amused, until I explained to him WHY I had done it this way.
“Vince, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t carry at least 3 different fire-starting methods on you. In fact, in the field, more is better when it comes to survival. I then showed him the flint and steel that I carry with my multitool. The second flint and steel that is part of the design of my paracord bracelet. The butane lighter in my pocket, the kitchen matches I carry in a pill bottle inside my hat. Then the breath mint tin minisurvival kit in my daypack.
“I’ll show you the primitive fire making ways, but you should consider them as your last options.” I then showed him a half dozen caveman methods. Including wasting one of HIS candy bars to polish the end of an aluminum can and using that to focus sunlight.
That morning, as usual he had a million questions, at the moment they centered around why I was reloading the Greener. What followed was an explanation of why I put what loads in what position. I could tell that while he understood the words, He wasn’t quite sure what the meanings were.
As we were getting close to the meadow, He asked me, “Mr. Reynolds, How can you tell which way is north?”
I had a feeling that I knew which way this one was headed. “Remember Vince, It’s Matt, and there are a couple of ways to find north. Why do you ask?”
“Well, I heard that if you get lost, you should find which way north was.” Bingo, I think that just about every backwoods virgin starts out with things that the lone ranger and lassie taught them on TV or at the movies. Finding north leading the bill.
OK, this was a teachable moment. “Vince, let me ask you a question. Let’s say you are lost right now. And you figure out which direction north is. My question is, What’s North? What is north of here that will help you get un-lost?”
He had a confused look. This was an unexpected question. “I don’t know. It’s just something I’ve always been told.”
“Well Vince, knowing where north is can be valuable, IF you know where you are and where you want to go. So, Today’s lesson is how I lost-proof you. How I keep you from becoming a casualty, A report on the 6 o’clock news.”
We had arrived at the meadow I wanted to hunt. Despite my anxiousness to get started, I knew that Vince needed to unlearn some flatlander foolishness. “Vince, what are the 3 most important things to do when you realize you are lost?”
Vince didn’t look confused. In fact, he was eager. I swear if he had a tail, I would have been able to sweep snow off the walk. “I don’t know. Like I said, I thought it was to find north.”
“Vince, when you realize you are lost, you WILL do what EVERYBODY does, you will panic, Everybody does. It’s a natural reaction to the situation that you will find yourself in. You are smack dab in the middle of the twilight zone, and that is the Scariest place in the world to be in. Your survival is going to depend on 3 things that you MUST do.”
I knew I had his attention now. “The first thing you’ll need to do, “ I pointed to a large rock outcropping. “Sit down on that rock.”
He walked over, “Any particular place?” “Nope, just sit down.”
I sat down next to him. “Now do what I do. “ I lay back on the rock and pulled my hat over my eyes.
I could see that he was confused. “Vince, Like I said. the first thing that happens when you realize you are lost is that you will panic. People that panic do stupid things. Their body jumps into the flight or fight mode. Adrenaline pumps into their bloodstream. With nothing to fight you have an urge to run away. What you need to do is STOP, SIT DOWN, and CALM DOWN. Doing those 3 things will improve your survival chances immensely.”