Friday, November 30, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our Government's Shame

This column was first published in November 14, 2012 issue of The Oxford Journal by Sara Mattinson.

The swirl of stories printed and broadcast over this past weekend had me thinking about my father who died more than three years ago. Not him specifically, for he wasn’t a veteran, but rather what I learned from him and later, as Alzheimer’s took his stories, about him from my mother. 
These three facts of his life form the foundation of my father’s legacy: He was a funeral director, an associate member of the Legion in our hometown of Cobourg, Ontario, and a twice-defeated candidate for the federal Progressive Conservative party. 
Growing up, I saw my father’s values in his actions and his words: He was the “progressive” part of conservative, he didn’t gossip (I couldn’t even get him to tell me the name of the first girl he kissed), and he treated people with respect and compassion. He had a deeply-rooted sense of fairness. He also supported veterans and seniors wholeheartedly, making their concerns a priority when he ran in two elections. 
No matter what my father was doing, treating people with dignity was his guiding principle. My mother has told me that Dad never buried a person who had been institutionalized in the local provincial hospital in the cheapest casket, as stipulated by the government, because it was no better than a cloth-covered box; at his own expense, he upgraded to the next line. If the person had no family, he asked my mother to attend the brief service. 
This compassion stemmed from my father’s belief that how we treat the dead reveals how we treat the living, a concept in line with his guiding principle of dignity for all. I might take it one step further and suggest some people are more deserving than others. 
Let me be clear: I’m a passivist; I am not comfortable with confrontation of any kind, let alone war. I also don’t have what it takes to be a soldier so I respect the work these men and women do and have done and I am grateful that they are willing to put their lives at risk to protect a wimp like me. As well, I’m not actively involved in politics; I see too many sides to a story to toe a party line. But I seem to have inherited my father’s concern for seniors and veterans because the news coming out Ottawa is touching a chord with me.
Let me reshape my father’s idea: How we treat the living and the dead reveals what we are like as a civilized first-world country. Sometimes the ultimate sacrifice requires a little sacrifice from the rest of us. Instead of clawing back soldiers’ and veterans’ disability payments, we should be giving them that money tax-free; they’ve earned it. Instead of playing games for votes, replace the Sea Kings with their modern equivalent. Instead of rejecting 2/3 of the applicants to a federal fund for poor veterans, we should be paying for the funeral of everyone who has served in the military, even those who didn’t get shot at. 
And no cheap cloth-covered box, either. 
(While I realize that people make their own choices and misfortune happens, it also seems to be fundamentally wrong that a phrase like “poor veteran” should exist at all. And, of course, we haven’t eradicated child poverty, either.)
If I might step out of character and into the political ring for a moment, I’d like to say something to the leaders of this country, those of you who are Members of Parliament, a place my father always longed to be because he (naively) believed he could make a difference: How we treat those who are dead – killed in past and present military action or done in by age and infirmity – speaks directly to how we are treating those whose battles continue: our veterans, those wounded in military action, seniors – and, speaking as myself but also on behalf of my father for whom I am becoming a voice, what I’d like to say is Shame on you. 

This came in by email this morning, forwarded along so I don't know who originally created it, and it seems to go with this column:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Now I'm Prepared To Be Snowed In

The Veseys Seeds catalogue arrived in the mailbox yesterday. 172 pages of beautifull possibilities. Can't you just smell summer? Helped along by the cover shot of a hamburger covered by a slice of thick, juicy red tomato.
And look! A free sunflower garden with every order of $50 or more. Considering my wish list usually tops out at $250, I think I'll be enjoying those sunflowers.
Ahhh, it can snow any day now. It's easier to visualize the bee balm and oriental lilies and clematis when the world is white and I have to draw on images from the potting shed of memory.

Here's a classic catalogue cover from 1970:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Room With A View

The mother-in-law suite in our home -- or "loft" as my mother now refers to it as -- has a sunny exposure that is perfect for a dog bed which is perfect for snoozing or bird watching.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Find Christmas Magic in Saltscapes Magazine

I have had the pleasure of interviewing Art Brown twice, once as Santa Claus for the newspaper last year, and again as Art for Saltscapes in a profile titled, "The Art of Being Santa."
It's always great when the magazine uses the title you sent with the piece.
Each time I came away from my conversation with Art wondering, "What if...?" and "Could he really...?" He makes me believe that Santa exists...because he does...I think....
Art is such a natural in the role as Santa -- both in looks and character -- and it is a role he takes very seriously. You know those guys who age into looking like Santa but are pissy to kids who stare and point and call out Santa to them? Not Art. If a child looks at him with a particular gleam in his or her eyes, Art plays right along. He is beyond generous with his time and his self. The money Art earns during his six (official) weeks as Santa Claus gets donated to two or three families in need of help providing Christmas to their children.
He makes it impossible NOT to believe.

This is the delightful cover the Nov/Dec 2012 issue on the magazine racks now. Lots of good reads in it, including my profile of Art Brown.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In Conversation With...Master Seaman Jeff Casey

First published in the November 7, 2012 issue of The Oxford Journal by Sara Mattinson.
A special conversation in honour of Remembrance Day...

You’d be forgiven for addressing Jeff Casey as “Captain” if you meet at the Cenotaph this coming Sunday” because, at 6-foot-4 and wearing his naval uniform, he makes a commanding impression. 
Master Seaman Casey, 39, is a non-commissioned member (NCM) of the Royal Canadian Navy. He’s in his 16th year and at Master Seaman, has achieved the highest rank for a junior NCM. Born and raised in Port Howe and still living on the family land, he joined the Navy in 1996 when he was 24 years old. 
“Me and five others guys went up to Moncton when we were in Grade 12 and went through the recruitment office but only three got in,” says Jeff. “Early in 1996, they called me back and wanted me to reapply.”
He went in as Naval Acoustic Operator, which meant he was hunting for submarines. Three years later, he left the Navy and worked in this area for nine months until returning to the Navy in August 2000 as an electrician.
“I was in cadets when I was younger and always liked the military aspect,” Jeff explains, “but I always wanted to be in the army. I joined the Navy because when they called me up the second time to ask me to reapply, by then I had Brandon and Tammy had Heather so we were a family. The Navy kept me on this coast. There’s only two spots you can go, the east coast or west coast, and I knew with a family and a house, they’d post me in Halifax.”
He says Tammy accepted his re-enlistment. 
“Not at first, though,” Jeff admits. “I have to give a lot of credit to Tammy and the kids [they have two sons now]. They put up with me being away and being in Halifax during the week, only coming home on weekends. When I’m deployed, I’m gone all the time. I don’t know how she does it. It’s hard knowing you’re going away and you won’t see land for awhile. It’s hard leaving the family.”
It’s become easier over the past 15 years, though.
 “Now, it’s just part of the job,” says Jeff. “We’re always pretty busy at sea. I’m an electrical technician so there’s a lot of stuff to fix. [As a working supervisor], it’s my job now to teach other young people how to do it.” 
  Jeff has just returned from deployment on the HMCS Charlottetown. It was an 8-month deployment for the ship but he was only on board for three months because he was flown over to Qatar to meet the ship in order to relieve a sailor whose wife was having a baby (that’s relatively new, since Jeff took his oath, getting time off for family matters and career courses). 
“You get deployed and they give you a number of months but with circumstances beyond our control, they can extend you for as long as needed.” 
That’s the way it was in September, 2001. 
“I was off the coast of Scotland when 9-11 happened,” Jeff recalls. “We were doing NATO exercises with the British and the Portuguese and we were eating supper on September 11 when we heard. We thought it was a training exercise because for training purposes, they make stories up, things that could happen in the world. We thought, ‘Oh, that’s a good one. Someone had a good imagination.’ Then the CO came over and said this is real. Everything went silent while we were eating.”
Back then, all they had was email on a diskette that came in once a day. There was no satellite television or Internet. 
“We didn’t know what was going to happen because no one knew,” he says. “We continued on with the NATO contingent. It wasn’t until mid-October that we were deployed to the Persian Gulf.”
When asked to described his most memorable event during his career, Jeff immediately recalls one from the very early years. 
“With NATO in 1997 on the HMCS Toronto. We’d just circumnavigated Africa and were coming into the Red Sea to  go through the Suez Canal when we were called for search and rescue to an island off the coast of Yemen that was pretty much just volcano. The volcano had erupted and Yemenis soldiers had gone into the water. We actually rescued one,” Jeff says. “I think he was the only one who was still alive. The US boat might have got one as well.”
Why does he remember it so vividly? 
 “Well, we were on watch for these guys 24/7 and we saw a live volcano erupt,” he explains. “Not many people get to see that. We were within a mile of it. This young Yemeni soldier was in the water for 22 hours and still survived.”
Jeff won’t soon forget his time in Afghanistan, either, where he volunteered to serve from February to July 2010. 
 “There’s a lot of naval guys over there. We do the security for the base, the  airfield. It was keeping track of who was on the airfield and I was a supervisor. There’s different tasking, like training some of the Afghani forces. It depends on your background,” Jeff explains. “I have a background in the boarding party, which is a special team on the ship that boards other ships to search for contraband and stuff like that. I’m no longer part of that but I used to be and it was a prerequisite for going to Afghanistan as part of the airfield security. I was never outside the wire, never did any combat.”
The thing about being on a ship is that once you’re on board, you don’t leave. You live, work and sleep in the same place, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Afghanistan was a unique experience. 
“It was different from a ship, that’s for sure!” Jeff says. “After our shift, we used to go and have coffee, like we can’t do on a ship. We’d work three 12 -hours shifts and get one day off to do laundry. It’s a lot different. I was carrying a sidearm 24/7. I had to have a weapon on me all the time.” 
Like most sailors, Jeff has seen a lot of the world. He says you start to take it for granted, like going to Portsmouth, England, again or flying into Qatar for the third time. 
“People in a rural community don’t know much about the military,” is Jeff’s observation. “They just know that guys go away, get deployed and come home. We all get the same question, ‘You home for awhile?’ but, no, I’m home for the weekend. That’s the way it is. They assume we’re sailing the whole time but when we’re alongside in Halifax, it’s a regular eight to four job like anyone has but there’s training we have to do and duty-watches on the ship. There’s someone on the ship 24 hours a day.”
Down in Halifax, he rents a room from a friend and on the weekends, he’s home with the family in Port Howe. 
Jeff has two sons. Alex is 12 and wants to join the Navy, but 17-year-old Brandon doesn’t. 
“I’ve missed a lot in 16 years,” Jeff admits. “I had that nine months when I was out but my shore posting the last two times was supposed to last two years but it lasted only 20 months. If you calculate it in the last 15 some odd years, I’ve been home for 5 years if you put them together.”
Jeff is not on his two-year leave right now; he’s back on a ship which means another four years at sea. In fact, he sails on November 19. 
 “I always do Remembrance Day in Oxford because I’m from here,” Jeff tells me. “I don’t consider myself a veteran so I go to pay respect to other members of past and present military who have lost their lives or been affected by war in any way. Nowadays, I think a lot of people forget exactly why Remembrance Day is held. I am proud to wear my uniform all the time but more so on Remembrance Day. It’s a big deal.” 
This is the part of our conversation when it seems to become more difficult for Jeff to express himself.  
“Don’t get me wrong,” he says, “I have a pretty good job and I signed the dotted line to do this; I wasn’t forced to do it. But I think a lot of people forget exactly what we do.”
It’s not hyperbole to say that Master Seaman Casey is giving his life to and for his country. 
“I’ve said ‘I might not come back.’ I hope it doesn’t happen but I wouldn’t think twice about doing this.”

MS Casey deployed on Monday, November 19 aboard HMCS Halifax.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Infinity, Possibility and the Night Sky

The spring of 2002 marked my return to Nova Scotia after ten years away. I'm not originally from here but we spent our family summer vacations on Pugwash Point starting in 1979. 1991 was the last time I visited and in 1996, I moved to Vancouver. I followed my heart  -- no, not my heart; I followed my head to Vancouver and it took five years for my heart to get through to me: "You are on the wrong coast." 
That first summer at the old farmhouse my parents had renovated a few years earlier involved some adjustment, mainly to the lack of light. The first time I drove into the village in the dark, I felt like someone had pulled black felt over my eyes. Beyond my headlights and the road they illuminated, all was black. 
At bedtime each night, I walked outside with the two dogs for the last piddle of the day (them, not me) and one evening, I happened to look up at the sky. I mean, way up and then I took a really good look at the night sky.
The book I was reading at the time was a collection of writings by Madeleine L'Engle and the most recent selection I'd read was about disaster. The roots of disaster are 'dis-' meaning away from, and '-aster', meaning star. A "dis-aster" means being separated from our stars, separated from what guides us.
As I'd stood there looking up at that vast night sky, I'd thought, "This sky makes me believe in infinite possibilities." Actually, it was my heart talking to me again. I'd just left my marriage and a job on the West Coast, moved across the country with no idea what I'd do next only to learn my father had Alzheimer's. In that moment, standing there in the backyard looking up into a sky I hadn't seen in the five years I'd been living in a big, well-lit city, I felt like I'd left the dis-aster of my life behind and I needed to believe that infinite possibilities lay ahead of me.
Which all leads me to these days, ten years later:
There are two different dogs to take outside now for the final piddle of the day but as the days get colder and darker earlier, the old dog refuses to get off the warm couch. So I take the young dog for a short walk up the lane. She wears a collar light bulb so that I can keep track of her in this country darkness, where there are no streetlights, and on this particular night, no full moon. When she was done her business, she tore back to the house, back to the warmth, leaving me up the lane alone.
Alone except for the one hundred billion stars above my head.
I don't go out after dark and look up at the sky as much as I should but when I do, I always think, "Infinite possibilities". With that view filling my eyes, how could I not think it, believe it? It's such a powerful vision. There is never a time not to believe in it. Only this time, in 2012, ten years on, there is no dis-aster to find my way back from, no wrong turns or lost paths. This time, I'm already on the path, taking a big leap forward, fearlessly, faithfully, on that path. I believe I believe I believe in infinite possibilities. 
As author Les Brown said,  Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land amongst the stars.

(Photo source: the Jodrell Bank Center for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester, Nov. 2012)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sometimes, Appearances DO Matter

My mother and I drove into Halifax on Saturday morning and on our way, just a few kilometers east of the Oxford exit, we saw a dead deer lying in the median of the highway. It was lying partway up the slope, its legs sticking up in the air.
"Your husband told me that the Department of Natural Resources is no longer picking up dead deer and neither is the Department of Transportation. DOT crews have been told to roll them into the nearest ditch," my mother told me.
Can you imagine? But honestly, I'm not surprised. The "service" part of public service is falling by the wayside these days, particularly in Cumberland County.
When the politicians start squawking about tourism numbers being down, they might want to consider the sight of rotting carcasses along the TransCanada Highway. Nice way to greet visitors! "Enjoy the view of lupins and dead animals. ONLY in Nova Scotia." The only thing is, DOT in Cumberland County also has stopped mowing the sides of the road and the medians so I suppose the grass will simply grow up and cover the evidence. Is this the way to justify neglect and apathy?
When did we stop caring about appearances? The managers driving around in those yellow trucks must be blind.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Did You Know...?

I was just surfing the Internet looking for some information related to next week's "In Conversation With..." column when I discovered this piece of information:

William Buckley, of Buckley's Cough Mixture, was born here in Cumberland County. In Wallace, to be exact. He eventually ended up in Toronto where he founded the company that bears his name today.

Heck, I didn't even know Buckley's was Canadian let alone that Mr. Buckley was a local boy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be A Witch

First published in the October 31, 2012 issue of The Oxford Journal by Sara Mattinson.

When I told someone last year we were building onto our house because my mother was moving in with us, she said, “Ohmygawd! I could never live with my mother. She’s such a WITCH.”
For better or for worse, most women grow up to become a replica of their mothers and I have to admit, at a certain time of the year, if someone mentions a witch, it brings to mind my mother.
So this is how a writer’s mind works: I have a column to write that will be published on October 31. I’m not really into this particular event, haven’t worn a costume since high school, don’t have kids that make it necessary to create costumes and eat buy candy but it doesn’t make sense to write on any other subject when the column appears on Halloween. So I conjure up memories of how my mother did Halloween for her two young daughters in the seventies: our homemade costumes and the Halloween table cloth and going trick-or-treating in our neighbourhood in town then piling into the car to visit the relatives in the country (just like many people around here do). We had to visit Grandma and Grandpa, and Grampa and Gramma George, and Aunt Reta, and then the Stinsons on the way back home. That drive to the country was as much Halloween to us as the witch that hung on the wall of our dining room. 
But I didn’t remember the happy old crone, five-feet-tall with her striped stockings and huge warty nose, until I started thinking that maybe I could get away with writing a column that had nothing to do with Halloween. Just then, that woman’s comment from a year ago popped into my head. That’s the magic -- a little witch’s brew, perhaps -- that happens when a writer has to come up with topic (or she tries to avoid one). 
Because that witch hanging on the dining room wall was as fun and good-natured and familiar as my mother, as part of the magic she created for her two girls on Halloween as the old wig from the hair salon next door and her old fox fur coat that we tried to incorporate into one of our costumes every year.
It’s been a long time since I’ve worn a costume and that fur coat is long gone but perhaps this year, I’ll go as a writer. It’s a rather tricky kind of costume, cobbled together like Frankenstein’s monster. You can bring the candy to my office where I’ll be hunched over my computer (the Hunchback of Notre Dame), hacking away at my words (Norman Bates), trying to conjure up memorable phrases (the Sorcerer’s Apprentice), and hoping the readers like them (Sally Field winning an Oscar at the 1985 Academy Awards). 
Now that’s an ugly costume! 
On second thought, it might be easier to be a witch. Just like my mother.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Nova Scotia Music Awards

Congratulations to two Cumberland County singer-songwriters for winning at the recent Nova Scotia Music Week awards gala.
Christina Martin won Female Artist Recording for her album, "Sleeping With A Stranger," while her husband and music partner, Dale Murray, adds a win for Country-bluegrass Recording for his album, "Dream Mountain Dream" to his list of accomplishments. (Dale tied in that category)
They are currently on tour in Europe.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day 2012

Two days of the year are the most important, I think, because they both involve gratitude: Thanksgiving and today. Now that I'm working for a newspaper and have the honour to interview a veteran or serving military member for our Remembrance Day issue, I feel a much more personal connection to November 11 than I ever have. That's what I'm grateful for -- as well -- today.
Photographer Shaun Whalen provides The OJ with a beautiful and poignant cover photo every year and this is his offering for 2012:

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

In Conversation With...Kiersten Hiltz

First published in The Oxford Journal on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 by Sara Mattinson.

When asked to describe herself in three words, 20-year-old Kiersten Hiltz thinks for a long moment and comes up with determined, advocate, caring.
Three pretty serious words for such a young woman but her short life has been a pretty serious experience. 
Kiersten was born with spina bifida, which she describes as “a hole in my spine.” Surgery fixed it shortly after she was born but there was nerve damage, affecting her legs and leaving her with a visible disability. 
The Cumberland Early Intervention Program referred Kiersten and her family, who live in Oxford, to a program called SMILE for children ages three to 21 who have physical and development disabilities (SMILE stands for Sensory Motor Instructional Learning Experience). The 15-year-old program is run by student volunteers from Mount Allison University in Sackville who play with 55 children every Saturday morning at the YMCA in Amherst.
“It’s an hour in the gym or crafts or baking or just hanging out with other kids or the volunteers and an hour in the pool,” explains Kiersten who began the program when she was six. 
Of her first impression 14 years ago, Kiersten recalls a sense of belonging. 
“You go there and you’re like everyone else. I didn’t get asked questions. It’s not the questions that bug me; it’s the stares and the gawks. You don’t get those at SMILE. Everyone is too busy having fun to notice. Acceptance is the big thing.”
Kiersten isn’t a loud person. She is quiet and pretty with a lovely smile. But her words make a loud statement when she describes the impact the program has had on her life. 
“It’s the reason I am here today.” 
She says she reached a low point when she was 13, in junior high.
“Kids at school were mean and I was considered different. They didn’t understand, they didn’t ask, they just made their assumptions. I was ignored a lot. Thirteen is a hard age for anyone but for someone with a disability, it is worse.”
She pauses to take a deep, calming breath. Although this is painful for her to talk about, she isn’t upset or angry; she is matter-of-fact. As if this is another level of acceptance she has reached about her life with a disability. 
Going to the SMILE program every Saturday pulled her through those difficult times. 
“When you go, you can talk to anyone,” Kiersten says. “You are friends with everybody there. It’s about acceptance. You’re not different. They don’t make assumptions. You just fit in. Relationships are a big thing. Some of my best friends come from SMILE. They’ve been my friends for ten years. I keep in touch with them all the time.”
She admits she doesn’t have many friends in Oxford. 
“Halfway through my Grade 10 year, I developed a pressure sore and I was at home on bed rest for two-and-a-half years,” she says. “Only a few close friends and people from SMILE came to visit. I lost so many friends. They were too scared of what they didn’t understand. Bonnie [her longtime educational assistant] came to the house every day to help me with my schoolwork and she’d say, ‘So-and-so was asking about you’ and I’d think, Why aren’t they coming to visit me?” As Kiersten says each word, she smacks her hands together for emphasis. “Come here. I’m here. Don’t go through someone else. I’d known them since preschool. They knew me well enough to come.”
Although she graduated from high school at the same time as her peers, surgery forced her to put off attending college until recently. 
 “Going to college is better,” she says, “but there’s still a level of not fitting in because I can’t do certain things or go certain places. I find ways to go but it still creates anxiety for me. Once I get there, am I going to be able to get around? You really have to fend for yourself.”
When she says this, it occurs to me how close the word ‘disability’ is to ‘invisibility’.  
Kiersten remains baffled as to why people are so reluctant to befriend a person with a disability. 
“They don’t understand and they’re too scared of what they don’t understand. They don’t want to ask about it. I still try to change that but it doesn’t seem to work.” 
Despite the hurt she’s endured, she remains determined to raise awareness. 
“I try to talk to them, tell them it’s okay, I’m not going to give them what I have. It’s not contagious,” she laughs. 
This is Kiersten’s motivation for enrolling in a one-year program at NSCC in Springhill called Community Disability Supports. She will put it towards a Human Services concentration with the ultimate goal of opening up her own program like SMILE. Part of her motivation comes from her own experience since 2010 as a volunteer buddy for a 6-year-old boy.
“I love it. It’s my entire life. It’s the light of my life,” she says with a beautiful smile. “If you’re having a crappy week, going to SMILE and seeing the kids makes it all worth it. There’s a little boy who has cerebral palsy and he is the happiest kid I’ve ever seen. He has severe cerebral palsy yet he’s so happy. It gives you a perspective check.”
The three words I would use to describe Kiersten Hiltz? 
Courageous, compassionate, inspiring. 

For more information on the SMILE program, go to

Monday, November 05, 2012

Restoration That's Good for the Soul

My husband has painted and new-stickered the 1958 Massey Ferguson tractor that his father gave him (his dad uses the "newer" 1989 tractor down at the old farmstead), making this sweet, hard-working machine look mighty fine.
It's just a reminder, though, that no one is farming anymore. Okay, I know that's not true; lots of people, brave, hardworking, dedicated people, are starting up small farms. Not hobby farms but farms that produce food without big machines or large barns. Visit a farmers' market and buy some of this "homegrown" food to find out why farms, these small farms, are so vital. We get the BEST sausages from our friend, Janet Rose, in Linden. She works so very hard.
We would like to keep a cow and a pig and some meat kings for food but we can't afford to build a small barn for them or better yet, buy the farm next door that's going fallow now that my husband's uncle has retired. And I think of how hard Janet, and Jennifer, and everyone else I know who is doing this small-farm thing works and I think about what an noble life being a farm can be. We can't lose it, we really can't.
Restoring a tractor long-used in the family in "the good old days" is simply a labour of love.



Friday, November 02, 2012

Fall Fashion in the Country

Every time I start out for a walk, I hear, "Where's your orange?" and I have to go back to the house and put everyone into their vests (Abby thinks her orange cape means she really can fly now but no matter how fast she runs down the lane, she never achieves liftoff).
Hunting season is underway in Nova Scotia which means those of us who live in the country have to wear blaze orange for six weeks. Maybe this is why we put up the outside Christmas lights on December first -- we are so sick of that bright hunting colour.
As we start out again for our walk, my husband explains: "I don't want the dogs to get shot. Or you."
Really, I'm more concerned about the bear in our woods than I am hunters. Ah, nuts. Now I have to go back for the bear bells...