With several articles under my belt to meet deadlines for Thanksgiving, I’m not quite sure when they will arrive at your doorsteps. I am churning to not only get ahead, but stay ahead, as well. I may be on my way to the mid-west, in the mid-west, or returning home from the mid-west when Jimmye and company edit and print. At the time of this writing, I am hoping to make it for a few more days without having symptoms of Covid-19. So far, so good, but every day is tense. I shudder to think, if after enduring and struggling through this year, what I am consumed by and live for all year comes crumbling down because of a case of what has plagued our country for almost a year. I would be devastated! The hard work, the preparation, the anticipation would all be for naught. Surely this cannot, and will not, be allowed to happen. Oh, how selfish and self-centered you are, Jeffrey!
As I sat in my study, I began to think of eight-year-old Ellie Whatley, daughter of Christopher and Laura Whatley of Starkville. Ellie has a condition that has not been diagnosed. I struggle to describe how she is affected by this “syndrome,” but she has been in a wheelchair, and still is, for most of her life. What so many of us, including me, take for granted like walking three steps, are monumental milestones in her life. I have a picture of Ellie on my phone and for lack of better words, she keeps me in my place when I feel like I need to have a pity party.
Ed Whatley, Christopher’s uncle, and I are close friends. We work together, we hunt together, and socialize together. I still remember our conversation while we were sitting in a dove field enjoying a wonderful shoot several years ago. I really can’t recall how Miss Ellie came up, but Ed explained a little about what was going on with her. He showed me a picture of her, three-years-old at the time, in her wheelchair with the biggest smile you have ever seen. Immediately, I asked him to send me that picture and I refer to it quite often. She is tough as nails, and with therapy, she is making progress. One thing for certain, she is not fretting over the possibility of not being able to go hunting because of a foreign virus that may or may not affect me. Perspective, is what she puts everything in for me. A prayer for Ellie, would be a noble gesture indeed.
All week I have been distracted by “the corporate” world. Just when I have a few moments to check gear, shoot my rifle and bow, and begin packing, the phone rings. Everything is put on hold for a while until I handle some work-related issue. I despise the computer tasks and the entering of data that is required in this business. How is one to ensure everything is in order for a successful adventure with all this work hoopla that continues to find its way to my office? Once again, I am reeled back to reality when I acknowledge that I wouldn’t even be headed out west if not for the phone ringing, the computer tasks, and the interruptions of trip preparations. I will remind myself from now on, there are many people in the world who would love to be in my position of having a job and the luxury of “getting” to go to work each morning. The pity party of being distracted needs to be held elsewhere.
I wish I could find myself in the woods more than a day or two a week during fall and winter. Just about the time I am “zoned” in on a specific buck, I find myself being taken away from my personal agenda of guarding the swamps and ridges. Why can’t I just be left alone to absorb every minute of what I cherish so much. Just let the world slip away so I can have my moments. While creating turmoil within myself just the other night, I received a call from one of my bosses who has moved on to greener pastures. He was excited beyond description. He relayed an epic story of how he and his son hunted together in Indiana over the weekend and his son harvested a very nice buck. What struck home with me was when he said this was the first “opportunity” he has been afforded to go hunting in three years. To think, I complain if I am not able to go once or twice a week. Maybe I should pause and be just a bit more grateful for my situation.
This Thanksgiving will be just a bit different for all of us. I don’t expect we will have full kitchens with everyone scurrying around preparing sweet potato casseroles, smoked venison loins, roasted wild turkeys, and chestnut pies. There may be only a small tray of snacks for two, instead of 20, haven’t opened our eyes wide enough to grasp what this message is. Maybe we still don’t fully know what the future holds for all of us. Is this a humbling that we all deserve? The bickering in Washington between childish politicians could be pale in comparison to what is in store for us. Human beings, the so-called superior species, may be at the bottom of the totem pole as far as we know. Have you thought about this? Perhaps, we all should.
There will be many comments made by everyone on what “we” are thankful for this Thanksgiving. Before you just blurt out what we are normally thankful for, I would invite you to think before you speak. Think outside the box from the routine health, family, and gifts, that come to mind so quickly. I will not offer suggestions, but just sit there and think about it by yourself sometime. You may even enjoy the time of contemplation and who knows what profound conclusions may arise from your efforts. Above all, let’s think of those other than ourselves. I assure you, if everyone does this, you won’t have to think of yourself, for someone else will. Let’s try it and see how it works, it sure can’t hurt anything.
Until next time, enjoy our woods and waters and remember, let’s leave it better than we found it. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!