One of my favorite experiences growing up was duck hunting near Pekin, N.D. The gathering of family, preparing for the hunt, the hunt itself and the merrymaking that followed are memories I fondly remember.
Especially now since nearly three years have passed since my family's last annual Pekin duck hunt. The last Pekin weekend came in 2013 when my grandfather retired from hunting at age 81. I can't recall exactly when we started the yearly retreat, but it was as early as 2006 and I don't recall ever missing one until 2014 and last year.
So that's at least eight straight years at Pekin. Eight straight years of blasting ducks from the sky, cleaning and drying the tasty creatures as hors d'oeuvres prior to the roast beast dinner. Yum.
Gathering yearly with my parents, sister, grandfather, aunt, uncle and cousins was always special. It was a constant, though like everything, it had an end.
Now I'd like to go back to Pekin this fall to revisit the town where so many memories were made: climbing the Pekin Park willow trees, walking the town's dirt roads to and from our camper to our relatives' rooms at the Prairie View Lodge and awaking at 5:20 a.m. each morning.
That last part I don't miss so much. I extremely disliked Mom's cell phone alarm.
But I'd to go back to drive the area, spend a night or two at the park or lodge and reminisce.
My family has a lots of annual hunts, from grouse at Goodrich to deer south of Medora, but I really treasure Pekin.
I'm marking my calendar.