Category Archives: They did what?
For months the members of the Ostrich Society had been uneasy when in attendance in the President’s garage. Since the governor’s “shelter in place” order, gradual rifts in the usual continuity of the mindset of the members had formed a crack: One faction began to show up wearing a mask, others scoffed, making sport of the masks …and so it was until fall when the officers of the society were up for re-election.
In the past, election of officers was just a blurb, an extra five minutes set aside at the beginning of the meeting squeezed between the sound of the hammer hitting the President’s workbench and the announcement that the bar was open. This year, a special meeting was called.
The Society had become a microcosm of the national election where Democrats and Republicans in all races had little to say other than their opponent was dumber than a rock, more crooked than a corkscrew and just plain incompetent.
For months, the President of the Ostrich Society – not only president but also landlord (he owned the garage where the meetings were held) – addressed the coronavirus and tried to get the members to participate in the recommended precautions, like wearing of masks or social distancing. A loud faction of the membership argued it was their right not to wear masks and were adamant not to.
By the time the election came around, the society was thoroughly fractured. The only aspect of the Ostrich Society that flourished was the pouring of bourbon, two fingers at a time.
The election came and went and it came time to count the ballots. Past custom was that the bar would not be opened until after the votes had been tallied, but at this election it was determined two fingers of bourbon could have a calming effect. Or so it was thought.
Forty seven ballots were cast. The ballots were counted in front of the entire membership present. Someone from the crowd took the ballots and read each one while another member put hashmarks next to the names of the candidates on a poster board so everyone could see the tally.
As the ballots were read and marked on the board, a hush came over the crowd. The President and challenger were tied at 23 votes each. One ballot was left to count. Slowly the ballot was picked up and read. The challenger had won.
Immediately screams for a recount were heard. After several minutes of the President hitting the workbench with the ballpeen hammer, the membership quieted down and after refilling their glasses with two fingers of bourbon, the recount was started. A different member of the society counted the ballots and a different member placed hashmarks next to the candidates names. More glasses were filled as the count continued and result being the same. Again cries of a recount were heard and after more filling of glasses, another member counted the ballots and another member put hashmarks next to the candidates names.
The process continued for several hours until every member had counted the ballots and every member placed hashmarks next to the candidates names. Each time the outcome was the same.
The President of the Ostrich Society gaveled the meeting to order and in a gracious manner conceded defeat and congratulated the new president. His final act as President of the Ostrich Society was the announcement that it would be up to the new president to provide a meeting place for the Society. The members looked quizzingly at one another.
The President went on to say, now that he now longer had the responsibility of presiding over the Society, he was going to retire to his cabin up north.
More glasses were filled and the tone changed, mellowed, and finally the challenger – newly elected President of the Ostrich Society – stood. In a mostly coherent speech said he hadn’t given much thought to the responsibility that went with the office. He went on to say he would not accept the outcome of the election and asked to have his name withdrawn from the ballot. The membership was silent, not sure of what was going to happen and who was going to make it happen.
The out going President of the Ostrich Society stood and said he objected to the newly elected President withdrawing after the vote was taken. He insisted that the vote be entered into the minutes and he passed the ballpeen hammer to the victor.
The new president repelled and began questioning the validity of the votes cast. He demanded the record of each member be checked to make sure he was in good standing and able to vote.
That was two weeks ago. After forty seven recounts, an audit by a CPA and several lawyers addressing the membership, the vote was certified.
The first order of business by the new President of the Ostrich Society at the new meeting place – the basement of his condo…he doesn’t have a garage – it was announced the dues had to be raised to pay for the extra bourbon the election cost as well as the fee for the CPA and the lawyers.
At last count, a number of members present during the meetings tested positive for Covid19.
Recorded in the minutes of the Ostrich Society as THE TRUTH, WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH….give or take a lie or two!
Category Archives: They did what?
In lieu of the Governor’s “shelter in place” order, this letter will take place of our monthly meeting in the President’s garage.
There are certain proprieties to be adhered to not the least of which is the allotment of bourbon to each member in attendance. It was suggested that each member notify the treasurer of the amount of bourbon consumed during the reading of this letter, but after much thought and scrutiny of our funds in the treasury, it was decided that each member be given credit for six fingers of bourbon to be paid at the next allowable meeting. Oleg Johannsen, official bartender of the Ostrich Society, and man with the biggest fingers in the Society, is directed to make sure the supply is adequate. (A lesson learned from the Federal Government’s strategic supply depot).
A committee is being formed to look into the supply of flies on hand once this quarantine is lifted. Thoughts are since there will probably be a glut of flies, there will be a demand for tying materials since no one has been able to look for roadkill or leave their homes to acquire feathers and fur by other means. The flies may be beyond the emergence schedules time table, depending how long the shelter-in-place is in effect and a roadkill patrol is being organized.
The last issue is a reminder to all members of dubious character (Poaching Jack and others) that if weakness and lack of common sense take hold, and a member is caught poaching, the Society will not be able to provide bail until the quarantine is lifted.
These thoughts reflect the elected board and are presented to be The Truth, Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth …give or take a lie or two!
Category Archives: They did what?
Bad Cop; No Donuts!
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 sharp by the President of the Ostrich Society. It took several strokes of the make shift gavel (a half full bottle of Bass Ale) to quiet the members and get their attention for the preliminaries that needed to be addressed.
John made a motion to dispense with the preliminaries and get right to the important stuff. It was seconded by Bill. The President called the question and all answered in the affirmative.
The agenda moved along to the item Fishing Reports which generated questions of “Who, where and how”. There was no hesitation by members to share fishing conditions on various rivers the membership fishes. Bill began by giving a report about conditions on Big Creek saying terrestrials were the ticket for brookies and an occasional brown. He declined to elaborate on which terrestrial or where on Big Creek the action was taking place. After a few “boos”, he sat down and poured two more fingers of bourbon.
Alf opined next about the lack of fish on the North Branch and was met with “Who sez?” by a voice in the back of the room. Harold stood and reported he caught several nice brookies and, after dark, landed a nice 20 inch brown on a mouse on the North Branch and said the only people who think there is a lack of fish on the river are those who tie their own flies…enough said. Laughs erupted as Alfred flashed but sat down as Bill handed him another two-fingers-of-bourbon..
Bruno, Alf’s black lab who was lying under the table, got up to see what all the commotion was about. Bill scratched him behind his ears and said, “Don’t worry boy, your master isn’t being hurt; his feathers are getting a little wet though.” Bruno’s tail wagged and he turned to reclaim his spot under the table.
Alf was still smarting about the insult hurled at him by Harold but decided to let it go mostly because he didn’t want to give anyone the opportunity to bring up an old mishap he took plenty of ribbing for last year. Alf was fishing for steelhead on the Clinton River by Yates Dam across from the cider mill that sells donuts. Since Alf can’t pass a bakery or anywhere fresh baked donuts, cookies or rolls are baked and sold, he bought a half dozen and ate a couple while checking out the river for signs of fish. When the fish are in, you can see one jump the spillway every now and then. They were in.
Alf ate four of the donuts and decided to begin fishing. He put the remaining two in his chest pouch on his waders, strung up his line and entered the river. He fished with heavy tippet and tied on an egg pattern cluster. He cast the eggs upstream and across and let it drift downstream over a rocky section of bottom. After several casts, he remembered the donuts in his chest pouch and took one out. “Man”, he thought, “these fry cakes are really good.” As he chomped away at the fry cake, suddenly his rod nearly pulled from his one handed grip. Donut still in his mouth, he grabbed the rod with both hands and began to work the fish eventually getting it within sight, then to net. As he bent over to net the fish, the half donut still in his mouth, suddenly dropped and washed away in the current. From shore a voice yelled, “nice fish”. Alf turned to see a County Parks Officer watching him. Al, still holding the fish, leaned down to release it after letting it regain it’s strength, when the last donut dropped from his chest pouch and it too was swept downstream with the current. By the time Alf got to shore, sensing the officer wanted to talk to him, he noticed the officer was writing something on what looked like a pocket pad. When Al finally climbed out of the river, the officer handed him a ticket for littering.
“What’s this for?” Alf asked.
“For littering,” said the officer. “I was going to let the first donut you threw into the river go, but when you threw the second one in, I decided I had to cite you for littering. I figured you were chumming with the donuts for suckers and landed the steelhead by mistake.”
Alf made the mistake of complaining to the Society at a meeting about this stupid park officer, but after he was done, instead of support, he became a legend and gained the reputation of the club’s token sucker fisherman – soon the fisherman part was dropped. The reason Alf couldn’t get any sympathy from the membership was, he was a cop before he retired and everything just seemed to fit… Bad cop; no donuts.
The meeting continued with the usual bantering about this and that. Seamus went from table to table looking for handouts and after the bourbon went dry, the meeting was motioned adjourned by Herald; seconded by Alf.
Meeting adjourned at 9:45.
The preceding is the Truth, Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth……give or take a lie or two.
Category Archives: They did what?
Just exactly whose idea and when the notion of a carp competition came about, no one really remembers. But for the past several meetings of the Ostrich Society in the president’s garage, the thought grew and grew until like the Grinch’s heart, it quadrupled in size and the talk of it dominated the conversation.
From the back table, Red Abercrombie began by offering to organize the event provided someone helped develop the rules.
Jake Mortimer chuckled and said, “What rules, we’re talking about fishing for carp. The winner is going to be the guy that throws out the biggest doughball on the sharpest treble hook.”
“Whoa,” chimed Red. “This is going to be a competition, not a catfish hunt. This is a fly fishing activity. To make it interesting, I’ll put up a gallon of my watermelon wine for first prize.”
“Yea, who’s going to keep you from drinking it before someone wins it?” was heard to come from one of the tables as the entire membership laughed. Even Red had to chuckle.
The president hit the ballpeen hammer on the workbench to regain order. “I think that’s a good idea, to have written rules. We’ll use big print so all of you can read them. Understanding is going to be another matter.”
All eyes turned to Jake. “Remember, Jake, poaching is a way of cooking fish. Nothing else.” Said Hugh Highhat.
“Listen, I take exception to that. Just because some of you pooled your money and bailed me out of the County jail when that overzealous DNR startup locked me up for what he called illegal taking of fish, doesn’t mean I was poaching. The case is still pending.”
“Ok,” the president chimed in, cutting of more comments amidst a howl of laughter.
The meeting went on and a rules committee was formed and chaired by Oscar Thornbush, a retired lawyer. Oscar was in his early 80’s and considered a mentor to a group of rascals who needed to be put in touch with their conscience on occasion.
The meeting was adjourned with the promise the committee would meet and have the details worked out by the next meeting.
Within several days of the meeting, Jake Mortimer stood before the Honorable Judge Cletus Crookshank.
Jake was stoic and sober and confident of being let off due to insufficient evidence. He was defending himself and had only one question for the young DNR officer who was called by the judge to testify.
The DNR officer testified he observed the defendant take steelhead by scooping fish with a net. He said there was no hook in the fish’s mouth and no line in the water. All he observed was Jake Mortimer scoop a net into the water and haul in a steelhead.
It was Jake’s turn to ask questions. “When you ticketed me, did I produce a fishing license … or any kind of identification?’
“No, sir. You said you lost your wallet,” the young officer replied in a matter of fact tone, thinking Jake had just hooked himself by admitting he didn’t have a license to even be there, let along fish, let along fish illegally.
“No further questions.” Jake said looking at Judge Crookshank. “Now judge, I’d like to tell you my side of what happened. I can see where the young officer could be confused, but there is a logical explanation to what happened that day.”
Jake began by complimenting the judge about an article he had written for the local newspaper about the difference between making a mistake and intentionally violating the law. “Things happen,” Jake quoted the judge as saying, and said, “That’s just what happened here.”
“While I was drifting in my drift-boat, I stood to stretch and checked my coat pocket for my wallet to make sure I had my fishing license. As I pulled out my wallet, the boat struck a rock. Well, it jarred the boat so hard, I dropped my wallet.”
Judge Crookshank asked what that had to do with him scooping fish with a net. “License or no license, you can’t do that.” He said.
“But I wasn’t scooping fish with that net, I was trying to scoop my wallet from the gravel bottom. The fish must have swam into the net just by chance.” You see, he went on, “I didn’t have any intent of netting fish. I just wanted my wallet.
”The Judge paused for a moment then with a silent chuckle said, “All right, you talked your way out of this one, but don’t ever come before me again.”
At the next meeting of the Ostrich Society, after the usual banter and two-fingers of bourbon, the president called for the recommendations from the rules committee for the up-coming carp competition.
Oscar Thornbush got up and said that he had met with his old law partner, the Honorable Judge Cletus Crookshank, and told him about his job of coming up with rules for a fishing competition. After discussing different possibilities, they both liked the idea of only one rule …no nets allowed.
The above is recorded in club minutes as…THE TRUTH, WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH ….give or take a lie or two!
Category Archives: They did what?
The special meeting of the Ostrich Society was called to order by the President at precisely 7:30 p.m. All members of the Society were in attendance. Since a special meeting had been called to raise the price of each “two fingers” pour of bourbon and only 10 or so members showed to vote, no one missed a special meeting.
Actually, the price didn’t go up, Oleg Johansen – Official Bartender of the Ostrich Society, – went on vacation and a replacement had to be found to pour “two fingers” at a time. The replacement was chosen from those in attendance and had small fingers compared to Oleg…hence the ensuing anarchy which resulted in another special meeting to undo the effect of the first special meeting. No member missed attending a special meeting since.
This meeting was called to clear the air about the veracity of the internet when a problem arose when one of the members was given an iPad by his kids who wanted “dad” to get with the times. They meant well, but for a while, it was touch and go whether the iPad was going into the trash or not. It seems after several “two fingers” the written word with pictures, became everyone’s gospel – most of the members had cell phones, but only Bill Polanski had an iPad, and of those with cell phones, most were flip-phones.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when Bill Polanski and Jake Grumpgardner went fishing for brookies. As was to be expected, they engaged in a friendly competition of who caught the biggest brookie, each putting up a dozen flies. The problem arose when photos were taken of each one holding their catch and they thought they had to take the iPad to Walmart to get the photo developed where they learned the photos were ready to be seen and were stored in the iPad’s photo app. They also learned about something called Facebook.
What a gadget! All was well until it came time to decide who caught the biggest fish. Looking at the photos over “two fingers,” Bill claimed victory. Though he wasn’t sure why, but that brookie in the photo was the biggest he’d ever seen. It was huge. When he told Jake he owed him a dozen flies, Jake balked and said, “I don’t know how you did this, but that’s not the same fish you caught on our trip. I don’t owe you a thing.”
They argued, filled their glasses with more “two fingers” of bourbon and decided to let the members of the Ostrich Society decide and be the final judges.
As was expected, half of the members congratulated Bill for the State Record Brook trout and the other half accused him of doctoring the photo. Finally, after much argument and more “two fingers,” Clarence Blueblood, one of the youngest members (somewhere between 40 and 65) chimed in and gave a tutorial about taking pictures with any camera and how proportions can be deceiving. “The further you hold an object from you, the larger the object appears. The closer you hold an object to you, the truer the size.”
Finally, after taking several photos with the iPad, Clarence made his point. So after some thought, a special meeting was called to warn members about the pitfalls of believing everything they see and read on the internet, and a list of five axioms were agreed upon:
- Do not indulge in “two fingers” when judging a photograph on the internet.
- If a hand stretches from the gill to the anal port, it’s probably not the width of the person’s chest that’s holding the fish.
- There is no editor on Facebook; there may be a distortion of facts, maybe.
- “Friends” are just people you’ve chosen to see your posts, and may have a different truth than you.
- If you want to play Bingo, go to the American Legion Hall; don’t click on a shared site from a “friend” and give your credit card number.
The preceding is recorded as The Truth, Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth …give or take a lie or two!
Category Archives: They did what?
SPECIAL MEETING OF THE OSTRICH SOCIETY
Where: Mr. President’s garage
When: Thur. 7 p.m.
“Five Things to Look For When Being Told The Truth”
(Minutes will be taken)
Category Archives: They did what?
Life is simple; when you are born, like a sponge, you soak up everything that engages your senses; when you become an adult, you put to use what you have soaked up; and after you have passed on the sum of your experiences …you die.
It is an infinitive process; it repeats in everyone’s existence. It is the way we measure a person and give them credit for their existence; good or bad.
The Ostrich Society is a macrocosm of this as it plunders through …no, provides a venue for its members to plunder their way through, encompassing the several stages influenced by family, friends and the out-of-doors.
Though individuals – each being set in their ways – collectively, they function as one, each on a pilgrimage to becoming piscators and dwellers of grouse habitat, without explanation or obligation to anyone’s dictum ….except perhaps a bird dog, fine or otherwise.
Category Archives: They did what?
The meeting of the Ostrich Society was a somber one. It was the traditional time when the Society paid tribute in remembrance of members who had strung their last rod. This meeting was especially somber because “Poaching Jack McGraw” would not be in attendance because he had been given his reward just two days prior to the scheduled meeting.
Jack McGraw was one of the founding members of the Ostrich Society. He was there at the beginning and missed few meetings over the past forty years. He was known as a jovial fellow who was always willing to have a good time and loved to cook. Jack had a small hot plate he brought to all of the meetings and always had fish stew simmering in an old army pot. Someone tagged him with the name of “Poaching Jack” which was assumed to refer to his boiling of fish.
This meeting wouldn’t have fish stew simmering on a hot plate and it was missed. So with raised glasses of two fingers of bourbon, a toast was made to “Poaching Jack McGraw”.
Now it was customary to place an item belonging to the deceased on the back wall of the President’s garage where the Society met: Fly rods, reels, pictures, etc. So the conversation drifted to finding what would best pay tribute to “Poaching Jack”. After some discussion, someone suggested the old army pot Jack cooked the stew in. Almost instantaneously they all agreed ….all except the President.
The President gaveled the meeting to back to order and said he had the floor. “You boys have this thing all wrong. Let me tell you a story about Jack McGraw.”
“Jack and I served in Viet Nam together. Jack was a communications specialist which meant he set up field phones between companies. Jack loved to tinker with those phones like some of you guys do with your computers today. A field phone was basically a small generator with a phone receiver. To make a call, you had to rotate a small crank on the unit and a current would be sent to activate the phone at the other end of the wire. Jack figured out other uses for the phone. He loved to play practical jokes and would connect the phone wire to a guy’s metal bunk and crank the handle on the generator when the unsuspecting person’s hand touched the metal frame while he was sleeping. The guy would jump, Jack would laugh uncontrollably and a fight ensued.”
The President went on to explain that Jack figured out that if he dropped the wire into a stream or pond and cranked the generator, anything within range of the resulting electrical jolt would be stunned and float to the surface. The local villagers loved him and Jack was glad to oblige. Jack never got over all the fish he could get with just a simple turn of the crank of that field phone.”
A few of the members caught on and a grin from ear to ear shown on their faces. “You see,” the President went on. “Jack wasn’t called Poaching Jack because he boiled fish stew; he got the nickname “Poaching Jack” because he poached fish with his field phone. Where do you guys think all the fish he put in his stew came from?”
“When the time comes we put anything on the wall to remind us of Jack McGraw, it ought to be the old army field phone he kept in his trunk.”
From the back of the room someone asked, “What do you mean, when the time comes?”
“Poaching Jack” isn’t dead; he’s in the county jail serving ten days for illegal taking of fish,” the President revealed. “It seems the game warden saw Jack scoop up fish floating on top of the water with a net with the field phone sitting on the bank and the wires hanging in the water. He refused to pay the five hundred dollar fine, so the judge gave him ten days.”
Uncontrollable laughter broke out as the President tried to regain control of the meeting.
“I figure if every one of us put ten bucks in the pot, we’d have enough to pay “Poaching Jack’s” fine.”
As tight as some of these guys were, no one refused to chip in. The money was collected and “Poaching Jack” was sprung and the true story of how “Poaching Jack McGraw” got his nickname was revealed.
The preceding is submitted as: THE TRUTH, WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH ….give or take a lie or two.
Category Archives: They did what?
With howling winds blowing across Lake Michigan and Superior, temperatures plummeting and snow rising, deer and other foraging mammals herd up in numbers amongst their own kind seeking comfort and a chance at surviving until winter’s grip relents and spring returns with its allure of renewal. The hardcore traditionalist members of the Ostrich Society are no different. Those not following the migration to warmer states for the cold winter months also herd-up seeking comfort amongst their kind in an effort to give sanity a shot at returning with warmer days ….the culprit of course, is cabin fever.
It’s been an established tradition with the membership that at least once a week they gather in the President’s garage – heated with an old pot-bellied wood burning stove – to tie flies. Unlike the regular monthly meetings, these gatherings begin in mid-afternoon and last until the allotted wood supply for the meeting is used up and the bourbon’s insulating affect has worn off. Anywhere from four to a dozen members can be found sitting around card tables and along the workbench, glasses perched on the tips of their noses as they tie barbules of feathers, strands of fur and hair or yarn taken from their wives sewing baskets onto hooks varying in size.
Last Wednesday was such a gathering of the faithful. The meeting had not been officially called to order, it just sort of got underway when Al and Pete showed up, lit the stove and poured two fingers of Maker’s Mark. By the time they got halfway through tying an Early Black Stone, Bill and Sam arrived with Carl and Walt not far behind.
Pete and Walt had their bird dogs in tow – both Britts – and after some traditional crotch and butt sniffing, followed by robust rubbing behind the ears, they settled down next to the fire. The scene might not have been one out of a Courier and Ives depiction but if someone had taken a snapshot, it might have hung next to the picture of dogs playing poker.
Walt brought a new vise and was anxious to show it off. It had been a Christmas present from his kids and though there was nothing wrong with his old Renzetti presentation, he felt obligated to use the new one made of space aged plastic with a lot of extra gadgets sticking out from it. He wasn’t sure what all the gadgets were for, but he wanted the kids to have gotten their money’s worth, so he began to set it up as the picture showed on the box.
Pete was on his third Stone when Al looked over at Walt and asked what he was going to do with that erector set he brought with him? Walt didn’t take the bait and poured himself his first glass of two fingers worth. After a quick gulp, he returned to trying to put the vise together.
All of a sudden one of the dogs startled everyone when he let out a loud yelp, jumped up and began running in a circle like he was chasing his tail. Sam grabbed him when he got close enough and rubbed his backside which was smoking until the dog relaxed. The dog tried to lick at the spot where the smoke was rising from but couldn’t reach it. A bare spot was now evident where fur had been only seconds before and two other spots were noticed.
“That’s the third time this week that dumb dog burned himself because he inched his way too close to a fire,” Sam said as he took one of the ice cubes from his glass and touched it on the dog’s bare spot. “Three times now he burned himself lying in front of a fire just staring at me while I try to put this vise together.”
The dog settled down and the Society went back to tying flies, all except Walt who was still trying to put his new vise together.
“Have you ever had a hook in that vise, Al asked?
“I haven’t figured out how it goes together yet; I’ve poked myself with these extensions, crawled on my hands and knees looking for nuts and small bolts I dropped; I even got so frustrated I grabbed the whole thing and threw it on the ground.”
“Geez Walt,” said Pete. “That poor dog isn’t trying to set himself on fire intentionally, he’s laughing so hard watching you imitate a monkey playing with a football, trying to set up the vise, he forgets all about where he’s at and backs into the hot stove.”
After chuckles of agreement, Walt gave up on the hi-tech vise, poured two more fingers and rubbed the dog’s ears. He could swear the dog was shaking like someone laughing uncontrollably.
These events were reported to be THE TRUTH, WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH….give or take a lie or two!
Category Archives: They did what?
At precisely 7:30 pm, amidst laughter and revelry, the President of the Ostrich Society struck the ball peen gavel on the workbench which was covered with wild game and homemade dishes provided by the members of the Society. It took two raps before the members quieted down enough to proceed.
A loud voice from next to the makeshift bar setup made the motion to dispense with normal business and proceed directly to the business at hand which was the continuation of the revelry which had begun an hour prior. In unison, members seconded the motion and the gavel struck once more and the President announced “Let the party begin.”
The garage – the official meeting place of the Ostrich Society – had been transformed from the usual rustic man-cave setting to a festive holiday motif: Greenery was strung through the rafters with pinecones hanging here and there and red and gold ribbon laced throughout. A small pine was standing on a table which had been dug from along the South Branch of the Au Sable. It would later be planted in a members yard.
Several members brought their bird dogs who, for the most part, were sitting next to where the food was displayed, sitting attentive in hopes of sharing the bounty. Others were sitting next to their hunting partners getting the occasional hand-out.
The mood was jovial. All were laughing, telling stories, all except Paul McBride, who was leaning against the bar drinking four fingers of bourbon. (The two finger rule had been relaxed for the occasion.) Paul wasn’t in the holiday spirit, he had suffered the loss of his hunting partner, Trescott, several weeks ago to a rare form of cancer.
Trescott was Paul’s German Shorthair Pointer of 11 years and his constant companion. Trescott would ride next to him in the truck, wait for him while he was in a store and sit in the front hall of the house staring at the door when Paul went out without him. They ate together, slept together, hunted together and were generally considered to be one entity. When the Vet diagnosed Trescott with cancer, it was as though Paul had been diagnosed. And when the end came, the life seemed to have left him too. Since that time, Paul just went through the motions of getting on with life, so the Society hatched a plan.
It was customary for members to give small gifts which ranged from flies to hand loaded shells. Occasionally a younger member would receive an old fly rod or shotgun from one of the “old timers” who decided the recipient would appreciate the item, respect its history and eventually pass it on.
The exchange had been going on for an hour when the door to the garage opened and a uniformed policeman entered. Seeing the uniform, the garage instinctively quieted down until it was clear the officer was none other than Jake McGraw.
Jake called out of service for his dinner break and helped himself to the wild game dishes he had helped provide. He pulled up a chair next to Paul and casually began a conversation about the call he had just come from. Someone had abandoned a litter of what looked to be German Shorthair pups. They were two or three months old and cute as buttons. He called animal control and they removed the pups to the shelter and were sure someone would adopt them. The shelter group would neuter and spay them before they were adopted.
Paul interjected after hearing that the pups would be neutered that it was a shame to neuter a fine hunter. Trescott had never been neutered and Paul was sorry he had not kept one of his offspring from one of the litters he sired. He lamented how great it would be to keep Trescott’s line going. He hadn’t noticed that the room went quiet. They all watched as Paul showed signs of life, talking with Jake about the pups. Jake asked if he Paul was serious. Paul thought for a moment then said, “I’d give anything to have a piece of Trescott in my life.”
A big grin appeared on Jake’s face as he got up and left the garage. When he returned, he held a squirming bundle of liver, white and black.
The President quickly explained the pup Jake held actually came from a litter in Minnesota that had been sired by a descendant of Trescott. Jake had driven there to get the pup. The members had concocted Jake’s story to find out what Paul’s thinking was about a new pup.
Paul, not being known to be sentimental, wiped a tear from the corner of his eye as the members cheered and wished him a Very Merry Christmas.
The annual prize of a bottle of fine bourbon awarded for the best gift was opened and shared by all.
The above is related as The Truth, Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth …..give or take a lie or two!