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Author Topic: Season after Season - by Pete Patterson  (Read 281 times)

Offline Terry_Green

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Season after Season - by Pete Patterson
« on: May 21, 2003, 06:19:00 AM »
Season after Season

by Pete Patterson


 “You lookin’ to have a boy aren’t you” David Caldwell, the fourteen year old redheaded son of our choir director said.  “But you’ll probably be happy with a girl as long as either is healthy” he then said with uncommon maturity for someone his age as we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway fifteen miles above Boone NC.

 

My wife and I had decided to have a late in life baby, both having been lead by God for some reason yet to be fully understood. She, seven months pregnant, and I found ourselves 150 miles from our Columbia SC home as guests in Dr. and Mrs. Caldwell’s mountain home for the weekend.  I had brought all my tree-climbing gear and chain saws to top half dozen trees blocking the view from the second floor balcony.  

 

My hunting bow, which I brought “just because”, held David’s attention like nothing else in a long time and his open exuberant joy at all things held my attention.  We seemed to attach to each other immediately; I, fascinated by his Tom Sawyer outlook on life; he apparently amazed a 37 year old grown up could be engaged in things kid-like.

 

When the work was done, I taught him how to shoot and he regaled me with tales of running through the mountains with fishing rod and gear to the New River and getting lost and how incredibly exciting it all was; and how “ole man Johnson across the way hunted with a shotgun whose hammer was held back with a large rubber band”.

 

The weekend ended but not our friendship.  Seasons dissolved into one another and I would pick him up at 4:00 a.m. to drive an hour away to this forest or that wild-life refuge and as we drove he was sponge-like in collecting information resultant of his constant questions.  

 

Then it happened.  Ten O’clock at night and the door bell rang.  As I opened it, there stood David, dirty and tired but with a huge grin across his face.  “Are you ok?” I asked.  “Mr. Patterson, I shot a deer and I don’t know what to do now” he said.  “Where is he” I asked thinking we had a big tracking job ahead of us.  “In the trunk of my car” he said.  

 

We strung her up in the back yard and finished things up and I listened to his story which involved a lone hunt and a kill at almost dark and a tracking job that resulted in a “drag” of almost 3/4 of a mile by himself.  His folks were in the mountains and he was all alone.  I was honored he choose me.  I was overwhelmed this 16 year old chose a solitary hunt over trouble someone of his age could have gotten into.  

 

And as I remove the feathers from the wings of the turkey he killed and gave me for my arrows, I think back over almost 20 years and I’m gratified that he is now a fine husband and a great father of two little girls.  And even yet, he is still the redheaded exuberant kid I first met on the mountain.  He still asks about Erin, the daughter carried by my wife when he and I first met.  

 

Time passes for us all and our lives become a series of stories. And some stories are as warm and beautiful as sunsets.  Such is the case with this one. I’m sure this friendship will continue filling up the cup that is my life season after season as I hunt and grow with this lad, now a man, who became the hunter I, and most all of us, only wish we could be.  I am eminently proud of him and grateful to our Lord that our paths crossed.

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