Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy to Be Here

Photo of the Day: taken this morning-frost crystals
It was late October when I was driving through a state wildlife area in my territory. I noticed a black pickup parked in one of the parking lots, so I pulled in to see if I could decipher the activity of the owner based on the contents of his vehicle.

I hopped out of my truck and was walking towards the black pickup when I saw someone coming out of the woods nearby, carrying a shotgun. As he approached, the man greeted me with a friendly wave, and a "Good Morning Ma'am,". Sometimes when people call me Ma'am I am suspicious (the cynical side of me) that they are being overly friendly for a reason- like they are trying to hide the fact that they are indeed a dirtbag. But not this guy. His eyes were bright and kind-a true gentleman. The man was wearing camo pants and an old camo coat with a flannel shirt peeking out from the collar. He appeared to be in his late fifties.

We had a nice chat about the weather, and his lack of luck trying to get a fall turkey. Eventually the conversation lulled and the man chuckled and said, "Well, I suppose you came to check my license, not just listen to me talk. I've got a lifetime license (which means he had to be over 65 years old)" as he reached into his pocket to dig out his wallet. Because there is rarely a point in looking at someone's license when they actually offer to show it to you, I told him that I was really just interested in how his hunt went, and he needn't fish through his wallet and freeze his fingertips. The gentleman laughed and said, "Please let me show it to you- it will make it worth my money."

I obliged and took his license. Not paying much attention to the details aside from noticing that it was an old license, still the hand-written variety which isn't too common anymore.  I thanked him and wished his luck in the rest of his day. And that is when he said lightly, "Oh, I really don't care if I get anything. At my age, I'm just happy to be anywhere! I turn 88 years old next month."

88?!?

He went on to tell me that he a few years back he had decided that he probably wouldn't do too much hunting anymore, so he sold his nice collection of guns to a young man and was left with an old, junky single shot. But he didn't mind. Mr. 88 told me that he planned on heading home for a bite of lunch and then he would see where the day led him after that. The game plan for the next day (unless the wind was still whipping) was to take his canoe out on the marsh to see if he could shoot a duck or two.

I think I have a crush on an 88 year old man... or at least his attitude and outlook on life (though he was damn good looking for 88!). I complimented him on his ability to keep himself active and outside. Even though I am not 88 (I certainly hope to get there eventually), he demonstrated one of the great lessons we can all learn from: Take it one day at a time. Find the good in each day. Do what you love. Don't be afraid. And be happy to be alive.

10 comments:

  1. Every once in awhile it's nice to meet someone who is pleasant enough to make a day!

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  2. What a nice post - thanks so much for sharing!

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  3. Great read, again! Certainly this kind gentleman deserved to have this story told. They are few and far between anymore.

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  4. Amazing. Hope I'm still fishing at 88.

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  5. Great Read- possibly one of my all time favorite posts!

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  6. Thanks everyone! Ahhh...it's nice to be back! Can't wait to start surfing your blogs too.

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  7. I can only hope to be still at it at 88. Reminds me of the time I met a woman hiking the AT and heading to CT to visit her daughter where she would celebrate her 70th birthday. That's right 70 and was finishing up a 200+ mile solo hike on the AT. I vowed that day to never complain how tired or sick I feel, nor to complain about the bad hunting weather or how big the hill seemed. She helped me put things back in perspective.

    Thanks for the reminder and for sharing the story.

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  8. This was a great read. Awesome!

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