Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
It is an orange time of year. The leaves go from greens to goldens before falling to the ground like discarded candy bar wrappers on Halloween. Outside the leaves litter the earth; inside Reese's and Kit Kat wrappers crinkle underfoot. It is a separate but equally orange-ish situation.
In my family, we observe the separate but equal equilibrium in other ways during the fall months. Take hunting, for instance. My whole family likes to hunt. We enjoy the challenge of tracking our quarry. We know the thrill of finally seeing the desired target in our site. And, we understand the anticipation required to wait... wait... wait... before Ð at last Ð pulling the trigger.
Everyone at my house hunts: some choose to do it in the woods while wearing orange. Others Ð myself included Ð pursue our desired prey in a different manner.
In my family, we have hunters, and we have hunters. The girls are in one group, the boys in another. No one planned things this way. No one was forced into either group against his or her own better judgment. We do not see hunters as an engendered species. It's just that the boys in my family like to hunt outdoors, while the girls prefer the indoor version.
It is a separate but equal situation: My boys hunt for deer in the woods. My daughter and I hunt for deals wherever we can find 'em.
It's all a matter of semantics. We scope out bargains; they scope out Bambi. We wait patiently for an item costing small bucks; they wait patiently for the big bucks.
They sit high up in a tree and dream about killing deer; we sit in our minivan and dream about killer deals. They carry semi-automatic rifles; we carry semi-designer purses. My husband explains the significance of a 10-pointer; I explain the significance of a 10-percent-off sale. They wear orange, perhaps accented with a bit of camouflage; we carry green, perhaps accented with a hint of plastic.
They eat lunch out in the woods; we eat lunch out at a restaurant. They wake up at 4 a.m. so they can be in their deer stand by dawn; we do not, because sleeping in is okay when you have all day to shop. With any luck, they come home with a carcass; with any luck we come home with a car full.
The boys return from their weekend in the woods with beef jerky on their breath and the need for a shower everywhere else on their body. Their clothes are mud-laden and I take pity on them by going to the laundry and throwing in a load of orange. They are exhilarated and tired. Spent, but happy.
We girls return from our hunt with the essence of Caesar salad pita wrap on our breaths and eau de free perfume samples on our wrists. We are laden with shopping bags and the boys take pity on us by carrying them into the house. We are exhilarated and tired. Our money is spent, but we are happy.
Later, we will exchange hunting stories over Kit Kats and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups left over from Halloween. Since our expeditions are once-a-year events, we always have tales to tell Ð and next year to look forward to. Our men will wear orange; we will not (unless it is the trendy fashion color of the season).
It is a fair and just world, this separate but equal hunting thing. At my house, everyone is happy (well, except the deer).
Jill Pertler is a syndicated columnist and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication." E-mail her at
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