Teachable Moments

Donīt Quit

 

Fall is my favorite time of year, the cool weather, the fall colors, and the opening of hunting season. Growing up in south Louisiana afforded me many wonderful memories; one of those was getting my first goose. My grandfather, Leopold Miller, had a friend in Thornwell, Louisiana who was a wealthy land owner. We were allowed to hunt on his farm as long as we treated it with respect, which we always did. Every Saturday when we would leave, we would stop by his home, offer him some of the geese or ducks we had harvested, and at times sit and visit over a cup of coffee. Dad began to bring his three boys hunting when we were eight yrs. old and then at ten years of age we would get our first shotgun; a 410 gauge bolt action. Later at fifteen we would be given a 12 gauge pump. But, shooting geese with a 410 leaves a lot to be desired. Whether it was because I was big for my age, or because I begged so much, I don’t know, but at the age of twelve, Dad borrowed a single shot long tom 12 gauge shotgun from one of my great uncles for my use on our first goose hunt of the season. I remember Dad and my grandfather wrapping piano wire around the breach of the barrel, and test firing it in our back yard. They were concerned that the new high powered shells would be too much for the old gun, but thankfully, the gun help up and I was allowed to bring it on the hunt. For the uninitiated, a long tom shot gun had a 36” barrel instead of the newer shotguns which sported 30” and 32” barrels. It weighed a ton and I could barely lift it up for a shot, but I was determined, so they placed me in a good corner of the field and left me to wait for daylight. That day the geese were really flying and sure enough, one lone speckled belly goose came right over me. When I pulled that trigger, two of us went down… the goose and the boy. I feel flat on my back in the moist rice stubble, but never dropped that old gun, and never took my eyes off that goose on its way down. I do not remember how hard it kicked, nor if I even felt pain, because I had succeeded in my quest of downing my own goose. The rest of the hunt is a blur, except for the response of my dad and grandfather when they saw me grinning ear to ear holding my first goose. I felt like a hero, taking the goose to show Mom, and my grandmother, calling my best friend and retelling the whole story.  It was a wonderful moment. The lesson? Don’t quit! It may seem that success will never come; disappointment dominates your attempts; year after year to passes without success; but wait patiently and continue for the day of victory will surely come, your Father will make a way for you to succeed. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heartGal 6:9