|19 Time on The Line||Dec. 15, 1997|
a large boulder near the edge of the cove that was down wind from the two ducks. There I could see the ducks clearly but they couldn't see me. After some time the ducks started to swim toward the shore and in my direction. I started to get nervous. My hands started to shake, fine hairs at the base of my neck straightened and a cold sweat formed on my body. I needed to calm down and as I remembered my fathers words, "You better be careful. I dont want you getting yourself shot." I cupped and blew into my hands. This calmed me enough, enough to sly from the boulder to see where the ducks were. "My God," I said, under my breath. "They are only about twenty feet away - a clear shot."
I stretched out my arms with the gun perfectly placed against my shoulder. I steadied myself and took aim. I said, "please God," and fired. Then, after my shoulder absorbed the impact, I closed my eyes.I closed my eyes because I did not want to see two ducks flying off in the early morning sky.
Well, a few seconds passed by and I knew that I had to look. The waves were rolling upon the shore and further offshore, near a small shoal, white laps were forming. It was then that I noticed a wave trying to make its way to shore. Riding on the crest of that wave was my family's Christmas dinner. I jumped for joy.
I was successful at the hunt I was a good shot. I had "bagged" my first duck. Again, I had to calm myself down. I had to retrieve the duck, somehow. It was then that I tried to use my floating jigger and it was only after I threw it out near the fallen duck that I took notice to the second duck. It too had fallen. I, a new inexperienced hunter, had gotten two ducks with one shot. I was elated, overwhelmed and very proud of myself.
Christmas dinner that year was the best I had ever had. My father was very happy for me and as he carved the Christmas duck I could see that he was very glad that his Christmas tradition survived for another year.
Having a duck for Christmas dinner continues to be a tradition at my parents house and on those rare occasions when I am abLe to bring my own family home to Fogo for Christmas a duck is shared to all for dinner. The story of my Christmas duck is also shared. Sometimes, if no one else will bring it up, I will. Now, the telling of my first hunting experience has become another Christmas tradition in my family.