Sunday, September 16, 2018
I admit. At no point during the rest of the year do I think, even once, "What I really need right now is some deer jerky."
Yet driving up to Ontonagon, on the shores of Lake Superior, it feels not only natural, but necessary to stop in Slinger, Wisconsin, at Held's Meats and Cheeses, to pick up a pound or two.
Tradition is a stern task master.
There was a twist this year, as we walked through the door, my buddy whispered to me.
"That guy's carrying a gun."
That he was. A very large man in a yellow shirt. A revolver, by the look of it, shoved in the right pocket of his capacious blue shorts.
It wasn't a big deal. I joined the queue at the case, considered my cheese options, then ordered what I always do. About a pound of the deer jerky, the regular, not the spicy
"The thick part if you can."
The thick part is softer. Just enough for our weekend at the lake—my wife gave me strict instructions not to bring any home. My older son once said it tastes, "like a burned down house."
My eyes did glance to the butt of that revolver, and I snapped a photo, to share here.
I've been coming to Held's for years, unarmed, and never felt imperiled. Obviously this guy feels differently. He has the need to go around packing, not only at Held's but, I imagine, everywhere else he goes.
So why is he the tough guy, in the eyes of many, the proud American exercising his God-given right to carry a weapon everywhere? While I'm the cringing weenie, taking my chances on the mean streets of Slinger—well, the parking lot of Held's, I can't say I actually set foot on a street in Slinger, assuming such things exist.
Which of us has more faith in the nation? In our fellow citizens? In the police? In the rule of law?
No need to answer. We each have our answers and stick with 'em.
Not really my business. This guy is endangering himself more than me or anyone else, and I suppose whatever person who might get shot when he reaches into his pocket for some breath mints and that gun tumbles out.
It wasn't me, at least, not while I was there, gratefully accepting my white paper wrapped package and hurrying away with perhaps a little extra rapidity. Getting into the car, immediately unwrapping my prize in the car, carving off a generous chaw of jerky with my Gerber LST folding knife. Which shows that I am not against going around armed, provided your weapon has a purpose, such as slicing up jerky. It really is very good jerky, and only $18.95 a pound.