Traverse City Record-Eagle


November 17, 2013

Garret Leiva: Deer camp for this rhinestone cowboy

I know it sounds weird, but Glen Campbell is stalking me.

The country crooner follows my every move. He is in the car, at work, and even in the bathroom while I brush my teeth. The “Rhinestone Cowboy” surrounds me.

Actually, it’s his words that won’t let me be. The song “Country Boy” is not merely stuck in my head; it’s embedded in my temporal lobe.

My run-in with Glen Campbell happened right before deer camp. I was scanning radio stations when I stumbled across his 1975 hit song. I’ve been stuck with it ever since.

I went out to bag a buck, but somehow I came home with a musical earworm.

While weather and beard stubble conditions vary, there are a few deer camp constants.

First, our tin-roof hunting shack weathered another year. Not bad considering it was built during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration. The Red Shed still stands; supported more by nostalgia at this point than weight-bearing walls.

Our little abode in the woods screams rustic charm. Of course, the cedar-sided outhouse draws the same reaction on cold mornings.

You can also count on a steady diet of the four basic deer camp food groups: pickled, smoked, fried and jerky. Summer sausage and nutty doughnuts is a grossly underrated breakfast combo. You will find a few vegetables – usually out on the bait pile.

While deer camp is several two-track roads from civilization, the outside word remains in range. The battery-powered camp radio, however, emits one sound: country music.

Nifty cowboy hats aside, I’m not a country music fan. I will foolishly follow Johnny Cash into a “Ring of Fire” or shed a tear in my beer with Hank Williams Jr., if you put a karaoke mic in my hand.

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