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Alan Liere: My Small World

Camo addict Alan Liere asks: "Could I kick the habit that was destroying my physical, emotional and economic relationships, or would I go on camouflaging and buying camouflage until I too, faded into the background and then disappeared altogether?" (Matt Liere / Courtesy)
Camo addict Alan Liere asks: "Could I kick the habit that was destroying my physical, emotional and economic relationships, or would I go on camouflaging and buying camouflage until I too, faded into the background and then disappeared altogether?" (Matt Liere / Courtesy)

“The older I get, the smaller my world becomes.”

My father said that, but though I thought I understood what he was saying, I was never positive until just recently when I had to admit that my world, too, had become smaller.

My father was long retired, still had his health and was financially comfortable. His aspirations for adventure were never the same or as high as my own, but he and Mom had talked often about visiting New York City and perhaps The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and maybe taking a cruise to Alaska.

When he made the “smaller world” comment a few months past his 74th birthday, though, Dad’s priorities were not even as ambitious as before. He loved his home and garden and was most happy when planting geraniums in the spring or edging the grass along the sidewalk so nary a blade overhung the concrete.

He liked to putter around in the kitchen. He enjoyed short fishing trips with me to Eloika Lake in the summer, but he didn’t care much about catching a big bass as much as just being on the water. Family reunions at Mission Park were long anticipated and enjoyed.

Dad’s world had indeed become smaller … and that’s the way he wanted it. When I asked him if he wouldn’t like to go to Europe – perhaps visit the town of his ancestors in Germany, Dad said, “I didn’t leave anything in Germany!”

It wasn’t that long ago that I became almost dizzy thinking of the places I wanted to go and the things I wanted to do. I wanted to fish for peacock bass on the Amazon River in Brazil; I wanted to hunt red stag in New Zealand; I wanted to snorkel on the Great Barrier in Australia and eat lobster in Maine and shoot driven partridge in Spain.

Unlike my father, by age 74 I have already compressed a lot of exotic adventures into my life and the ones I still aspire to simmer rather than boil. Like my father, I find more and more contentment these days in staying home, walking in the woods and tending Jill and Lucy – two hunting dogs that have definitely extended my family.

This Father’s Day, I will be content to surround myself with sons and daughters and canine companions. We may all make the drive to a nephew’s home in Yakima for a long weekend and to check out the bass fishing, but we may just stay home, barbecue, and go for a long walk together.

Seeing those I love active and happy gives me great joy; it’s happened with so many older people, but I never thought it would happen with me. My world has become smaller. I’m still contemplating driving the dogs to Texas for a late-season quail hunt this winter, but I sure didn’t leave anything in Europe.

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