Thursday, October 20, 2011

Friend of the Family

Hey All,    Many of us have people in our lives that have been family friends for a very long time.  As children our parents friends and their children often become friends.  Integrity is something I've always admired.  My Dad used say that your name is the only thing you have that defines you to others.  What you make that name stand for is up to you.   It won't always be easy and can often cost you something.
       Don and my Dad were friends for quite awhile.  They were around the same age and both enjoyed hunting and fishing, which at times they did together.   Sometimes we kids would get to accompany them as observers due to the fact that we weren't old enough to get our licenses. Tom and I would walk with them but whenever shooting was to begin we would kneel down as our Dad instructed,  so we would be well below the line of fire.  When we finally got our licenses and were allowed to shoot game ourselves, we never forgot our training.  The first pheasant that got up Tom and I, shotguns in hand kneeled down on the ground.  Don laughed at Dad over how well he trained us.
      Don drank quite a bit and Dad didn't drink much at all.  I was 16 and had spent the entire Saturday morning deer hunting in the pouring rain. Dad was on the road and due back that night. I decided to walk back to Grandmoms and get lunch and warm up before I went back out for the afternoon.  I walked to the road and realized that I would have to walk the roads back instead of cutting across the fields because the creeks were very swollen and I couldn't cross.  As I walked the road the Game Warden and his deputy came by, checked my license and made sure my shotgun was empty.  We talked a little, then they went on their way and I kept on walking up Quarry Rd.  As I walked, I scanned the fields as Dad had taught me and saw something in the grass strip that didn't look right but couldn't identify.  I kept walking, trying to decide if I wanted to expend the energy to walk down the field and investigate.  My curiosity got the best of me, so I walked down and discovered a button buck  laying in the grass with a bullet hole between his eyes.  It was clearly from a rifle, due to the small size of the hole and rifles were illegal to hunt with in this part of the state. Whoever had shot it had to have been on the road two hundred yards away as their tracks would have been visible in the wet field.  It had to have been shot the night before because there were no shot heard all day anywhere close by and the deer was still warm.
       I walked back to the road just as Dad's friend Don drove up.   He had gotten of work at noon and decided to drive this way home.  He had a six pack of beer on the front seat and an open bottle in his hand.  As I got to the road,  he pulled up and asked me what I had found.  I was curious as to why he thought I found anything at all, but didn't voice it.  I explained it to him and he decided to drive down and pick the deer up, which I advised him against as the fields were saturated and he didn't have 4 wheel drive.  He wouldn't listen.  He made it down there okay and threw the deer into his truck bed and then proceeded to bury it up to the rear axle.   We walked back to the road and when a neighbor came by, I asked for lift into town to Grandmoms' house.  I got Joe, my older brother to bring out Dads' Jeep Wagoneer as it had 4 wheel drive. We tried to pull Don truck out with a chain but it wouldn't budge, it was into deep.  I tried to get Joe to stop pulling as his 4 tires were just spinning getting in deep too.  Yep, you guessed it , he buried Dads' Jeep up to both axles.  By now Don had enough.  He left his truck, took what was left of his beer and got a ride home from one of the people who stopped to watch from the road.   We got  yet another ride to None Such Farms  and secured help from them with a farm tractor.  He was able to pull both vehicles out.   It was almost dark by the time it was all over.  We left Dons' truck next to the road, locked it up and took the key with us to Grandmoms'.
        When Dad got home a little while later, I filled him in on the details of the day and he called Don to let him know he could pick up his key and his truck.  Dad now had possession of the deer.  When Don came to the front door, he was in a foul mood and proceeded to tell Dad that this was all my fault and I told him to drive down into the field.  Dad turned around and asked me to verify my story which I did without hesitation.  Don wanted to know who Dad was going to believe, him or a kid.  Dad just handed him his key and shrugged his shoulders with his arms out wide, not saying a word.  I was proud of Dad for the  way he handled this situation.  I could have hugged him if he'd have let me.
       Their friendship survived this incident, but it didn't make it past the day when his friend got caught coming out of Grandmoms' house, when no one was at home, with his hands full with some of Dads'  tools. He tried to justify this act with the fact that Dads' brother owed him  money for quite some time and he thought this was the way to get it back. Dad revoked the hunting privileges of this friend and his sons, as he had authority  from the landowner as caretaker for many years.   This would later be a problem for me in the future......................... but that's another story.  ..
                        Until next time.....................God Bless.

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