Today was a good day…

I woke up at 4am (I didn’t just ‘wake up’, I jumped up), and in a hurry ran downstairs, grabbed my hunting pack, my rifle from the safe in the garage, and started to pack everything together.

I didn’t have time to pack the previous day because, after a long work day I went to see Norm MacDonald with my sweetheart. Norm’s my favorite comedian who wrote a wonderful new book, so it was a treat to see him live.

This morning, with a few of his jokes still fresh in my mind and a smile on my face, I packed the truck and then took Teddy for a walk before I went to pick up a pal.

We’d gone earlier in the week and had two bucks in our sights, stalked them for an hour, but didn’t get a clean shot, so today we were pumped to get the first deer of the year…

… It turns out, so was the rest of Calgary.

The entire hunting area was filled with other hunters, and far too many had quads and ATV’s that made too much noise and spooked the animals in the area.

Being it that I work a full week, I forget what day the weekend is, my pal the same. So lesson learned, don’t hunt on the weekend.

We did have a great day, though.

A pack of wolves were in the area. Teddy’s got some big paws, but these wolf tracks dwarfed his, which is impressive, they have to be 150 pounds or so, big animals here in the Rockies, and big animals to hunt and eat those big animals.

After seeing a couple deer but none worth shooting, and hiking 15K with heavy packs, we decided to head to a nearby saloon for a coupla beers and a burger.

We obviously hunted in the country, in wildlands that border ranches. Nature is a far more spiritual and free place than cities and suburbs, obviously.

They revere their liberty more in the country, they appreciate those who fought for it, won it, and maintained it daily, it seems.

On the outside of the saloon, all the way up in Alberta, Canada, is a Civil War cannon from the States, if you look behind and to the right of it, there’s a bronze rifle holding up a helmet, surrounded by poppies, a monument dedicated to those you’ve fought for our country.

You walk into the bar, and along with posters that say ‘don’t bring your city into my country’, or pictures of patrons smoking cigars and riding bison, there are pictures of the heroes that fought for our country in the World Wars and other battles.

The monuments are there daily, they’re a constant, you see them every time you walk in for a beer or whiskey and you’re reminded that this wonderful freedom we enjoy seemingly less of every day, was won in blood, in death, and by heroes.

We won’t truly appreciate freedom until it’s gone.

That’s how it usually works.

Which is why rights, be they to keep what you earn, to believe what you want to believe, to build a business, to live how you want to live, to defend your family how you want to defend them, so long as you’re not hurting others or infringing on their freedom in the process, should be immovable, non-negotiable.

This freedom thing, this intangible idea that I could grasp when I was walking in the woods with my rifle looking for food, was won and defended by heroes that we should appreciate everyday, that we should never forget.

As the day wound down I came home, sat on my couch to write this newsletter, and turned on the TV for some background noise.

Don Cherry, a Canadian treasure (much like Norm MacDonald) was going through a list of Canadian World War One heroes.

He talked about who they were, those who died, those who survived and the sacrifice that great men make to defend the countries they love.

Today is Memorial Day here in Canada, and Veterans Day in America.

Men have, since time immemorial, fought for freedom against those who aim to take it away.

They’ve fought with their guns and votes, they’ve fought with their businesses and with their values.

Today we do what we should be doing daily, we remember the great and brave men who made our lives possible, who fought wars they didn’t start, but wars that had to be won.

God bless.

Chad Howse