Texas is another country...

Texas is another country...I have driven into Texas from all four directions and can affirm that after crossing that imaginary state line you just know you are in Texas . The world becomes wide open space, the sky feels higher, you can stretch out and rest a spell.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

MY GRANDFATHER AND ME

doves in love

Post by Ron Forester

One of the things I love about Texas is hunting.   I grew up hunting in the Texas Hill Country, and as I grew older, I’ve hunted in Alabama, Virginia, and Oklahoma and a few other places.  I’ve hunted squirrel, cotton tail rabbits, jack rabbits, coyote, white-tail deer, feral hogs, mourning dove, white-wing dove, and a little bit of everything else!  But it is Texas where I enjoying hunting most.

My fondest memories of hunting in Texas go back to my early years when I was seven or eight years old.  I’d follow my grandfather around his place in the Texas Hill Country carrying, sometimes dragging, a .22 rifle everywhere we went.  And when we’d see some game, he’d let me shoot at it.  Early on that’s what I did, just shoot at it.  I wasn’t that good at hitting what I shot at back then.  As I got older, I started paying more attention on how to aim properly, how to squeeze the trigger, and how to hold the sights on the target throughout the shot.

My parents divorced when I was five, then it was only my Mom, my two brothers, and me.  So, my grandfather was the father-figure in my life, and even though I didn’t realize it then, the time I spent with him contributed in large part molding the person I am today.  He was the main reason I became an Army Aviator; he always talked about flying.  He flew often as an unlicensed copilot with friends he knew who were pilots, but his eyesight prevented him from becoming a pilot.

I accompanied my grandfather when he went deer hunting, and he taught me how to watch for deer, how to listen for deer, and even how to smell deer.  He showed me how to identify the signs of deer, like deer tracks, deer rubs, deer scrapes, and deer droppings. When he was lucky enough to bag a nice buck, he taught me how to field dress, skin, and quarter the deer for processing.  In those days, everyone processed their own deer or at least my grandparents did their own processing.  I learned how to sharpen a knife, how to zero a rifle, how to track wounded deer, and a myriad of things one needs to know about hunting.  Little did I know at the time, but I was being mentored, and I was learning those things that one needs to face the challenges of life.

The year 1972 was a happy, sad, and challenging one for me.  I graduated from Texas A&M in May, I married the love of my life and my best friend in June, my grandfather passed away in July, and I entered the United States Army in August.  The loss of my grandfather was one of the gloomiest, saddest, and loneliest times in my life.  But as I look back, I was honored to have my grandfather see me walk across the stage in the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium and receive my diploma from Thomas Jefferson High School.  I was again honored when he saw me walk across the stage in G. Rollie White Coliseum and receive my Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University, and I was yet again honored for my grandfather to be in attendance at my wedding.  He was beaming with pride at each of those events.  Little did I know the last chapter in his life was soon coming to an end.   As I finished my schooling and prepared to head down the highway of life, the main mentor and educator in my life was no longer there for me to turn to.   

I am truly privileged to be able to say that I had the greatest grandfather to have walked the face of this Earth.  He taught me to be patient, to be humble, to be proud of who I am, and to treat others with kindness and decency.  

Family

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