To borrow a lyric from Icehouse's Great Southern Land...
I've talked before about the old buggers who were past their prime even when I began hunting ducks, old Fred Davey with his Browning 5, my grand pop [who seemed the youngest], his brother in law, my "Uncle Dave" Dudding and Dave's brother Brian who never spoke much. I was young and stupid and pressed Brian to tell me about the war. He said he'd "killed some japs" and then went quiet... quiet enough for me to get the hint that the subject was thereafter off limits.
They drank whisky. They [apart from Fred] shot with old double guns and knew how to use them. I once watched Uncle Dave kill 3 doubles of mallards in a few minutes, and my granddad was a mean shot. I don't recall hunting with Brian, and my only memory of shooting with Fred was as a junior bystander while he and granddad got all crossed up on a mob of mallards and then spent the next 15 minutes abusing each other about who shot the other guys ducks... stuff like we do today, although at the time [must have been mid 70's] I thought they were going to get stuck into each other!
When we pulled down our old maimai a few weeks ago, we uncovered an absolute trove of memorabilia. Claim tags from the 60's, early and then late 70's. I took some home to clean up and its brought back a flood of memories.
The old guys are still there with us in spirit, and may the gods of duck hunting rest their souls because around about now they'll be getting all fidgety... the day bigger than any other approaches and they know it.