Monday, June 08, 2009

Adventures In Snipe

I went on a snipe hunt once. It was when I was a fifth-grader and a cub scout on an overnight outing at Bay City State Park. Our scoutmaster split us into two groups, each in a line with one line marching towards the other through the brush making lots of noise to herd the birds into our trap.

My line laid low, camouflaged, large bags in hand, waiting for the wily birds to fall into our clutches while fleeing the ruckus. Alas, we came up empty-handed. One of our group almost caught something, his excited shouts for help bringing a few scouts and a couple assistant scoutmasters running to his aid. But whatever it was, it escaped.

When I reported our adventure to my parents after our return, they snickered. They said it was all a joke. There was no such bird as snipe. Not true. Fortunately, my parents had purchased a set of World Book encyclopedias and I was able to show them the article and a picture of the wily bird itself. They were unconvinced, however.

I was reminded of that incident when wife Wendy and I recently saw the Pixar movie Up. In the movie, a curmudgeonly elderly fellow tries to shoo from his porch a young Explorer seeking his final merit badge, which must be earned by assisting the elderly. The senior citizen finally relents, sending the youth out to find a snipe that he falsely claims has been lurking around his house.

Though Up appears in previews to be a kid's movie in the Toy Story mold, this joke, which probably went over the heads of most of the kids in the audience, resonated with me. As did much of the rest of the movie, I must admit.

I found the movie's opening particularly touching, where a young boy and girl meet as fellow explorers and form a bond that lasts a lifetime and beyond. Their dream is to fly off together to Paradise Falls in South America. They even have a large jar where they throw spare change so they can afford to go some day. But other emergencies always intervene. And time has a way of slipping away unnoticed as we all know.

I'm not sure young children would connect with the adult themes the way I did. And I suspect many others whose lives are largely past them. Anyway, I give both thumbs up to Up. It makes you think about what's important in life. For example, the adventures you can spend a lifetime planning often aren't as memorable as the adventures that just happen. And that you're never too old for a new adventure.

Kinda makes me wonder if there aren't some snipe lurking in that wooded, vacant lot by the library. Where's my adventurer's hat? I haven't worn it since the last family canoe trip. Time to don it once more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kristen and I went and saw Up at Northern Michigan's only drive in movie theater, the Cherry Bowl. We both thought the movie was very good. When is the next family canoe trip? Grandpa and I could take our kayaks on an adventure.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

We used to be big Simpson's fans around here. I often wondered the same thing about the jokes. Many of them probably went over the heads of any kids watching them. I guess producers of these animated productions figure people like us will be out there, too.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

ANONYMOUS--I don't know. Grandpa is going to be 80. Maybe we should try Sucker Creek.

FRED--I've asked around and am surprised how many people my age do not get the joke in "snipe hunt." They've never even heard of snipe. So that joke in Up was aimed at a select few, I imagine.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave's Dad here,Carefull Dave, it is a little early for smack talk.
Anonymous you should be talking about mushrooms, not kayaking, being ONLY 79,
I can handle that.

12:40 PM  
Blogger jan said...

I have happy memories of snipe hunts. I'll admit the memories are happier when I was the sender and not the hunter.

It probably wouldn't be allowed today because of the danger of damaging some kids' psyches or some b.s. like that.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vote for a nice relaxing trip to Vegas. There is a place called the Palms. That sounds like nature.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

DAD--I think mushroom season is done up north, at least the morel variety.

JAN--Ah, so there is somebody else who remembers snipe hunts. I keep asking around here but nobody else knows what I'm talking about.

ANONYMOUS--Vegas, eh. We could canoe down that river where Hoover Dam is.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I'm voting for the trip to VEGAS baby! I got to see Hoover dam last summer and it is amazing.... BTW: Quit smacking dad.

I remember snipe hunting too. I was introduced to it on a girl scout camping trip.... It made me mad when I found out the truth.

Saw your wine bottle down there... Down drink them all in one setting.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

loved this post Dave-my daughter wanted us to go w/ her and the grandkids and see this movie. I have been reluctant, since I prefer to spend the money on things like the new bathroom fixures we need-but you've piqued my interest.

Maybe we'll take the boys this weekend.

As for Vegas-we're going w/ my parents in September. I'll let you know if the adventure and wildlife is there.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LUCY--My nephew, who is a salesman, says he's going to Vegas for being one of the top salesmen in the county. One of the activities scheduled is a pool party with former NFL players and cheerleaders. I could handle that.

CARINE--I think you'll really like Up. It's a movie that appeals to all ages.

5:53 PM  

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