My son and I are going deer hunting for the first time. We are going to a place where I will remember what my father taught me and teach it to my son. A place where, for a few days, I will forget my three-piece suits, my meetings and my system. A place where the men will drink beer, laugh, eat cheese and tell stories - not always true, but as they imagined them. Where my boy will sit, silently, wide-eyed and hanging on every word. And maybe drinking his first beer.

And knowing that it's all right; that none of the men mind that a boy is with them because they don't see a boy - only another man. There are only good people here - some with much to share, others with much to learn. All with their own dreams of the big buck they will see in the morning.

It is time to sleep - 4 a.m. comes early. The fire in the fireplace is hot but it was 20 years ago, the last time I was here.

When get up and go to the outhouse. They take a spotlight, hoping to see a pair of eyes along the distant forest edge.My son can't sleep either - he goes outside to look for deer.

We finally sleep, only to be awakened by the smell of fresh bacon and sausage that the old man is cooking. He doesn't hurt anymore. He cooks meals and teaches the inexperienced.

My son and I walk side by side up the mountain. We shiver with cold and hope for dawn and the sun. We dot not talk - we do not need to. We are at peace with one another. Everything is all right.

Years will pass quickly. There willbe anguish and pain. Differing roles, differing values and 30 years age difference will try to force my son and I apart.

But those things will fail. Because from the moment the two hunters walked up the predawn mountain together, respecting the other's equality and individuality, a lifelong friendship, of a kind that can' be put into words, was born.

I haven't taken Bobby hunting yet. He is too young. But in a few more years I will. And I'll make a bet with you. He will take his son hunting some day.