It was my daughter Kaleigh's birthday recently and her presents weren't necessarily those typical things that most teenage girls get like clothes, shoes, or shopping sprees. I was looking for something special that no one else had and would represent her new passions for the outdoors.
When my son turned 12 I gave him custom handmade knife, actually I had two identical knifes made. One for Brendan and one for me. It represented both the passion and the time we shared and continue to share in the field. It is something that when either of looks at our knife it is sure to stir those memories of enjoyable times afield. Not that I need anything to stir up those memories, but these knifes focus those memories on our outings.
So with my daughter finally getting into the outdoors with more passion I felt it was time for her and I to have something to share that was related to our outdoor passions and pursuits. So knowing my daughter I knew she would like something that she could show off and it had to be one of a kind just like her.
At first I thought this would be a daunting task, but through the course of catching up on many of the blogs I follow, the light bulb went on and I instantly knew what I wanted to do for Kaliegh's birthday present. See my very first "They Have the Passion" blog post highlighted Joel and his blog "A Year on the Fly" where Joel combines his passion of fishing and painting into a wonderful blog that highlights his art and I knew I just had to ask him to help me out with my idea. I emailed Joe my request and I immediately got an excited yet somewhat nervous reply from him but I could tell he was hooked. So I sent Joel a picture along with what I was thinking and Joel set off to do what he does, by the way did I mention that he does a dang good job at it. Joel communicated back often showing progress and introducing some additional ideas and thoughts and the result was better then I imagined.
I don't remember telling Joel about the custom knifes I made for Brendan and I, but he must have sensed something because he also sent me an additional 8x10 print of Kaleigh's turkey so I too will always have that visual reminder available to me and for that I am super appreciative. I could sense a little "what about me" going around the room so I'm certain that Joel will be hearing from me again in the future.
To say Kaleigh was excited and happy is an understatement. She was grinning from ear to ear and I think I even saw a small tear role down her check but don't tell her that I noticed it. She mentioned that her two favorite gifts where her Turkey painting and her new Buck Commander DVD that her brother bought her. I may have to buy her another copy of that DVD because I think she might wear this one out watching her favorites Chipper Jones, Luke Brian and Jason Alden.
I know how much the time spent in the field this spring meant to me and I only hope it means as much to her. I am looking forward to getting her out in the duck blind and deer stand this fall so I can live and breathe ever single moment as she experiences the raw addiction to the great out outdoors and our sport of hunting.
Now I just need to find that special place to hang Kaleigh's painting so she will stop taking down Brendan's buck mount and putting up her big smiling face.