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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Old friends and goofballs

BY Sonny Orr Jun 19, 2021

As we grow up, friends become an important part of your life. Someone you can relate to no matter how goofy they may seem; it makes sense somehow to go along with any antic we could think up. 

One young lad made daredevilry his death wish in life. He would come up with some deadly weapons for a seven-year-old, one particularly dangerous even for an RCMP officer. Goofball attached some heavy nuts (the nuts-and-bolts variety) to a piece of string and improvised a deadly bolo. His unwitting victim, strolling casually along a path, was nearly decapitated as he struggled to untangle the rope around his neck and throat. In the meantime, our goofy friend scampered up a tall poplar tree where he pissed down on the world with an arrogant laugh. It was a laugh I got to know for the next five decades.

Then, in our teenage years, life takes a drastic turn. Which way to go – with our friends, of course. 

Teenage years seemed to last a long time, but it was just us walking back and forth for miles and miles. And when the night ended and the light glow of the sun told us it was time to go home, sneak into bed and ignore all reasons to wake up during the remaining daylight hours. Supper was breakfast and then we would return to the same routine. One thing for sure, it was hard to get lost on an island. Even though we were bound by a shoreline, we still could escape into long conversations on just about anything. Some friends still do the same thing, pass time gently and take life as it comes, with no real rush to finish anything.

In our adult years, it’s the battle of the wits and the beer-belly bulge. 

Back in the day, local Rummoli games or a long night of playing cards for money would pass away the time, and eventually the games would be scheduled week after week. This is where the art of counting coin came in and number strategy and some bluffing. Today, it’s kids of those parents scheduling some serious betting nights as life goes on, to pass time and friendship…

When you get into serious relationships, friends suddenly become a little more remote. But in the end, the goofballs usually are the most faithful of friends, who can generate a good laugh over just about any topic and get away with it. They get along with anybody who can understand their quirks and quarks.

But no one forgets their hunting buddies. This is one place where it doesn’t matter how good you are in real life, but how good you are in natural settings without the aid of anyone but your hunting buddies. The quick signal that needs no explaining other than hide and get ready to shoot in a split second, the time when no words are needed. Hunting is a team effort and the stories and memories become more entrenched as the years go by. 

In my lifetime, I heard many hunting stories that would amaze anyone within hearing distance. The great thing about this is that any hunter becomes a friend when it comes to storytelling. Some friends just don’t shut up, but hey, it’s about what unites us – the goofy story of a goofy guy making goofy hunting mistakes.

Then there are the friends you just get along with automatically and they stay that way forever, even after they leave town or pass on to a better hunting ground. Yep, in this case that goofy friend is probably all you ever needed throughout your life, to keep the chaos balanced and drama-free. A toast to all friends who are goofy or incredible embellishers when it comes to hunting stories.

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.