A city dweller connects with his rural roots and generations of family during an afternoon of target practice
By Paul Anater
Though I write about the cosmopolitan world of interior design for a living, I have a rural heart. I grew up in the rolling countryside of southeastern Pennsylvania, but the Gulf Coast of Florida is home now. Every once in a while, I feel the need to go back to my roots.
I have five brothers, and we’re as thick as thieves; throw in my 10 nephews and we’re quite a group. I love my sister, my sisters-in-law and my nieces deeply, but there’s a bond I share with my brothers and nephews that stands apart.
Last July, I had the great fortune to spend the month in Pennsylvania. As a writer, I can pretty much work from anywhere with internet. I’d been meaning to spend a block of time up there, and last summer just felt right.
Originally, I’d intended to rent a car, but one of my brothers had a different idea. My brother Steve, with whom I was staying, has a Chevy truck he’s been using as a second car for the last few years, and he offered it to me. I jumped at the chance. It would save me money, of course, but it would also help me tap into my rural self.
There are few things as enjoyable as driving a Chevy pick-up down the country roads I remember from when I was a kid. Though most people I know now would be amazed to see the rural side of me, it’s who I am when I’m there.
On my last Sunday in Pennsylvania, we had a family gathering at my brother Matt’s house, which sits on a large plot of land surrounded by farm fields. His youngest son, Bob, is 10 years old and had just received his first BB gun. My brothers and I set up a target at the bottom of the yard, and we proceeded to teach him how to shoot. Our parents were observing from the deck, and it hit me: We were three generations deep that afternoon.
In my regular life in Florida, I don’t usually handle firearms. But on that sunny Pennsylvania Sunday, my boyhood interests came back, and it was a thrill to work with my brothers and teach Bob how to handle and respect a gun, even if it was just a BB gun. We shot targets, and my brothers and I traded stories about deer and turkey hunting.
For a couple of hours at least, it felt like I’d never left that land of rolling hills and cornfields. Leave I did, however, and as the sun began its descent it was time for me to go back to the life I’d carved out for myself 1,200 miles south from where I stood that afternoon.
I said my goodbyes and climbed back in the Chevy truck to begin my journey home. But as long as there are nephews and brothers and family in Pennsylvania, this place will always be my second home. I know I’m always welcome back.
Chevy’s Silverado packs the work ethic that doesn’t ease up even when you’re out seeking adventure, from building bridges to going off-road on hunting trips.
This is part of a series of recreational hunting stories on Chevy Culture.
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Paul Anater is a writer, speaker and designer based in St. Petersburg, Florida. His blog, Kitchen and Residential Design, has grown since 2008 from an online resource for his clients to a must-read design resource for thousands of monthly visitors. You can follow him on Twitter at @Paul_Anater.