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Collectors Collecting Memories
Marty Harmon

    The young boy ran into the den, jumped onto the couch and grabbed the remote. No! yelled his father, I’ve been waiting all week for this football game, you’re just going to have to watch cartoons in you’re room. The year was 2024, the boy sat the remote down and climbed onto my son’s lap. Daddy, the tv’s broke in my room, he say’s pitifully as he can sound. I can’t help it, it’s Saturday morning, and I’ve been working all week, I’m tired and I want to relax and watch the game. The youngster knows that his father isn’t going to give up on this one, he starts looking around the room for something else to play with.
    Dad, can you hand me down that trap you keep hanging over the fireplace? Ken walks over and pulls the trap down and hands it to the nine year old. This was my fathers trap, he loved trapping more than anything else he ever did. What are all these notches carved into it the young boy asked. That’s where he kept track of how well the trap performed, you can count them, let’s see, twelve beaver captured to one that got away. How you know that daddy? See here son, he has twelve notches filed into this jaw and only one on the other. How do you know he didn’t catch one beaver and lose twelve? Because, my dad wouldn’t have dept this trap Ken chuckled. Daddy can I see that other one? Reaching up to get it Ken hesitated, as if wondering if this was a good idea, he took it down and hands it to the lad. This trap didn’t do too good , it only has one notch on it.
    Sit down son and let me tell you about this trap. My father called me out one year back when he was living. I was about you’re size back then, he told me to follow him, we’re going trapping.. We went to Skuna River that weekend. My father had lots of traps, some were collectors, some were just normal traps. He always said that a trap was just a piece of steel, until you attach a memory to it. I remember it just like it was yesterday, he pulled that big trap down off the wall, gathered up some more traps and equipment and we headed out. We went along the banks of the river till he spotted what he called, “ a honeyhole”. The water was deep enough here to drown the beaver he said. Calling me over, he showed me how to scratch a narrow trail up the bank, keep the trail narrow, he said, this way all the beaver will come to investigate, unafraid, as they think it could be a small beaver trespassing on their turf . The otter will come closer to investigate, they’ll think maybe it’s an otter trail. He then pulled out his knife, cut a small green limb, and peeled the bark off of it. He laid the stick about a foot above the water line. Reaching into his wader pocket he pulled out a small bottle, this is Beaver Plus he said. We might just get real lucky and catch an otter here, this lure will draw beaver and otter. Break you off a small twig, stick it into this bottle and place it up above the trail. After I had lured the trail dad set the big trap and placed it offset about six inches to the side of the trail and underwater about ten inches. He took and attached it to a slide pole into deep water, and staked it. This slide will only go one way he said, when the beaver goes down, he won’t be able to get back up to the surface, he’ll drown quickly. This set will be yours since you lured it. The next morning we arrived at “my” set and the trap was missing, dad pulled the stake and grabbed the pole and pulled up the first beaver I’d ever caught. We’ll take him home and tonight I’ll show you how to skin and stretch him. I started playing around in the mud as dad was getting the beaver out and I slipped, as I slipped into the ice cold water I was yelling for help. Dad pulled me out and scolded me, as he yelled for me to never play around next to water as it could be deadly, I began crying. Dad hugged me as close as he could and told me he loved me, this was the only time I remember him being that emotional. Was that a first down? Ken asked,. Junior looked at the tv, then back at his dad just in time to see him wiping his eyes. No-sir, they didn’t get it.
    I tell you what son, go out to the shop and take one of those #4 Newhouse off of the wall and bring it here. We’ll go set out a few traps to run tomorrow. Dad, Junior said, but you told me those traps were collectors, worth over a hundred dollars each. I know son, but after tomorrow, it’ll be priceless.

Remember, today is tomorrows memory, try to make a good one.
Marty Harmon