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When the end of summer came the days got shorter, leaves fell from the trees and the men and older boys went off to hunt.
Before I started school the whole family would head off to the hunting camp. We'd stay for a few weeks so that we could dry the meat and tan the hides right on the spot.
But when I turned six, my parents insisted that I go to school every day. So Dad and some of the older boys in the area would leave for a day or two by themselves. They didn't have to go far but I think they liked to get away.
So the end of summer was my favourite time because it meant that I sometimes had my mother all to myself.
I helped her with the dishes, she showed me how to sew beads, we sat on a rock at the edge of the lake and watched the loons.
I especially liked it when she met me after school. This didn't happen very often but when it did she'd give me a nickel to buy candy in the store. . . and I didn't have to share!
But it wasn't long before the men would haul a carcass or two . . . or three or four or five . . . home and the hard work of tanning the hides would start.
Then I didn't want to hang out too close to Mom because she'd put me to work scraping the hair...and that was a hard job.
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