2018-01-13 / Viewpoints

The Old Timer

BY HOWARD ‘MAC’ MCDONALD

As I was reading the column by outdoor writer Jim Zoschg about the recent deer season, it reminded me of the adventure of my nephew, Harry Fulmer, and his friends from the In Crowd Camp at Rich Valley.

In 2006, Harry shot a seven-point buck and his friend shot a doe. They dragged their deer to the porch and decided to celebrate inside with a toast.

One of their friends went out to see the two deer and soon returned, saying, “I hate to tell you this, boys, but there are no deer on the porch.”

Sure enough, they went outside to investigate and the deer were gone. When cooler heads prevailed, the investigation got underway and a blood trail was discovered leading up the hill. The men followed the trail almost to the summit, where they discovered mama bear and her two cubs having venison for lunch. A couple of shots in the air persuaded the three bears to beat a hasty retreat. Goldilocks was nowhere to be found.

All the bucks that I saw in the newspaper this season had large racks. Maybe this is what the Game Commission has been striving for, but it doesn’t make the sausage makers happy.

I still haven’t figured out how killing off so many female deer is supposed to make the hunting better. Too many eggheads managing the deer herd and not enough people with common sense involved.

As the new year moves along, I am in awe at how many things have disappeared from our landscape.

I’m finding it difficult to locate a phone booth where I can change into my Superman costume.

The four big college football bowl games used to make New Year’s Day something special. Now there are too many bowl games to count and who cares who wins?

Saying good-bye to 2017 wasn’t too hard for me. I’ve had better years and I’ve had worse. I firmly believe that your fate is what you make it.

I am happy to report that Christmas 2017 was one of the best I have ever experienced. Family was the focus of the entire day. Seeing four of our great-grandkids at one time was a real treat

In my opinion, hate and discord were the themes of the year. Murder rates in the big cities are a disgrace and the politicians have forgotten that they are there to serve the public.

Life seems to be especially going to hell all around California with natural disasters and other problems. Some people in that state have said they would like to leave the union. I would have no objections to that. All the nuts in California are not hanging on the trees.

The old saying, “Go West, Young Man,” is a not a recipe for success. Stop, look and listen before you leap.

Give me the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania any day. Winter may be a little tough, but catastrophes are few and far between.

Looking at the overloaded obituary page in the newspaper last week, I was reminded of what my mother used to say: “Open winters; full graveyards.” I don’t believe that this kind of weather is healthy.

My Redneck Dictionary helped me out with a definition of winter: “She winter way and I went mine.”

It also came in handy after my friend said he needed to get a CAT scan: “No way my dogs are allowed on the couch, but my CAT scan.”

New Year’s Day is celebrated in these parts with a pork and sauerkraut dinner. In the south, they have black-eyed peas and cornbread. These meals are supposed to bring you good luck. All they’ve ever brought me is gas.

Everybody seems to want to make a New Year’s resolution. People make a resolution about their diet or their smoking, but most of us like to eat the stuff we shouldn’t and the demon nicotine keeps its hook in most people who try it.

One of my resolutions was to cut down on my cussing. It’s hard to put my brain in gear before my mouth starts running, but I am going to try. I also resolved to be better person. If I miss my happy pill for a day, I might not hold to that pledge. Maybe I will blame it on old age.

On Jan. 2, my wife Shirley celebrated her 87th birthday. Older folks would rather forget birthdays than celebrate them. Your health is now the most important thing that you pray for.

For all but 20 of her 87 years she has been stuck with me as a husband. It has been a bumpy road, but we have made it this far.

My advice is to realize that marriage is not always a 50/50 deal. Sometimes it is a 90/10 situation. More often than not, I am at the 10 percent. Gradually, I have stretched that out to about 20.

As I wrote before, on the day we were married my mom told Shirley that if she stayed married to me for an entire year, she would earn a ticket to heaven. She will go there, but I doubt that I will make it.

National Football League playoffs are underway. For me, that is the signal to switch the TV to reruns of SpongeBob SquarePants.

I might end up watching the Super Bowl, mostly to see the commercials. I hope they find somebody who can actually sing the National Anthem the way it was meant to be performed. I get angry when some of these clowns butcher that beautiful song.

Every once in a while you will see a news report about the Vietnam War. When I was in service, I did not pay attention to the politics because we had a job to do.

We were flying 125 hours a month shuttling between the East Coast and Vietnam. This involved hauling supplies in and hauling bodies out. The U.S. lost more than 58,000 troops and we brought at least 500 of them back home.

Everyone has an opinion about the news media. My favorite is the local news, but it only focuses on things happening around here and is short on national happenings. I think the national news reporters could take some lessons from the local folks.

Some of these cable network news people must think the public is a bunch of idiots. The American people know what is going on around them and are not influenced by the actors in Hollywood. Those folks live in a world of make-believe and it is hard for them to put things in a normal perspective.

I hope the new year is good to all of us, and especially to the troops who are engaged in the travesty of this 16-year-old war and counting. Keep your musket handy and your powder dry.

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