Tuesday, February 13, 2024

I posted this on Facebook on March 29, 2019, that most hateful month of the most hateful year.

 On March 19, I was eating breakfast at the table with Mom when Dad came in. He had been up for hours, and had breakfast with his cronies at Cancun's, as he often did. For some reason, I asked him about the time he shot a buck over on the next mountain. Dad was an eagle-eyed man who could distinguish details from a great distance at times when someone with typical vision would see nothing. He was also a crack shot. In characteristic fashion, he said twice that it was a lucky shot. Even all those decades later, his instinct was humility, and not to brag or boast-- can you imagine doing something extraordinary like that but insisting it was only a lucky shot? My uncle Billy (Dad's sister Jeanie Smith Wilson's husband) walked down the mountain and up the next one to the buck. Dad said when Billy got to the buck, he turned toward Dad and held up his hat, waving it back and forth in the air. Dad had seen the buck in profile, and the round just pierced the sternum, lodging in the heart of the beast. Luck?! I said "come on, Dad! That was extraordinary-- from a mountain away!" Again he said "it was a lucky shot." At the time, the local paper published a story on the incident, calling it a record shot for the county. I imagine that his father Jim had told folks in town about it, and word got around. I also imagine that although people in town marveled at the achievement, they were probably not terribly surprised that he had done it-- it's easy to feel delight over the accomplishments of a really nice guy. He probably called it luck every single time that story came up, and he probably never told his buddies at Cancun's about the feat.

Sometime after her funeral, he told me it like to have killed him to leave his mother in that cemetery. I now know what you meant, Dad, but I sure wish I didn't. I will tell you what luck is, though: luck is to have been a daughter to outstanding people like you and Mom. Your wonderfulness is fixed in my heart, and ever will be.