I am not a hunter, but people my age, born and raised in Maine, just naturally equate November with hunting. For some country families, deer hunting could create a little conflict with Thanksgiving, especially if that holiday meant a day off from work.

At my family home, the Thanksgiving turkey (or sometimes a large roasting hen) was often served after dark, at supper time. My father always went hunting on Thanksgiving unless he had already got a deer. Not knowing an exact mealtime, my mother worked her magic and kept the food warm until he got home. We children would mill around, endlessly asking when we were going to eat. My mother always made a cookie sheet full of raised rolls and several pies. The whole house smelled like a bakery and there was a lot of nibbling.

When my father got home, if he had shot a deer, it would be hung up out in his shop or in the back yard and we’d all traipse outside to look at it. Then we’d have our dinner. If he didn’t get a deer, it would be a quiet meal, and while we youngsters cleared the table and did dishes, Dad would settle in for a nap.

One November was particularly significant. As my mom told me, it was Nov. 16 and my father had gone hunting with one of his friends, who was also the family doctor. They were planning to try Standish and those environs and wouldn’t be back until late. My mother was pregnant and due “any day,” as is often said. With her husband and her doctor gone, my mom went into labor. She called her father, who lived on Webb Road. He came over, in his wagon with team of horses, to take us younger girls (aged 2 and 4) over to the farm to await the new arrival. My mom then called the other doctor in town and he came to the house and delivered another little girl.

The doctor called my grandfather, and he brought my aunt over to care for my mom until my father got back. My sister and I stayed at the farm overnight, rocking in a big wicker chair, anxiously waiting to see the new baby.

When my father and the doctor returned from hunting, their disappointment in not getting a deer was replaced by the surprise my mother had for them – and all the family.

Kay Soldier welcomes reader ideas for column topics of interest to seniors. She can be reached by email at [email protected], or write to 114 Tandberg Trail, Windham, ME 04062.

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