ONCE, there was This Guy. His pals really loved him and they knew This Guy really loved them in return.
These pals liked to go duck hunting. Guns, licenses, ammo, hunting regulation books, dogs, heavy waders, etc. It was an expensive hobby.
And then they needed lousy wet and cold weather. The kind of weather that appeals to ducks and duck hunters and game wardens and no one else.
I can’t imagine how it could have been fun, but they’d go out and stomp through the ice to get to a ‘blind,’ and sit there shivvering for hours hoping that some birds would fly in.
Then, if they were lucky, they’d get a shot.
Then, if they were lucky, the dogs would retrieve the ducks.
Then, if they were lucky, they’d get their limit before dark.
Then, if they were lucky, they’d go home yakking all the way about how much fun it had been.
Then, if they were unlucky, they’d meet up with the game warden.
This Guy and his pals met up with that game warden. They were still jovial and yakking because they weren’t worried — none of them had exceeded their limit of ducks.
The game warden was almost done with them when This Guy said, “Hey, look at this one. What kind of duck is it?”
He held up an unusual-looking duck.
“That’s a hunnerd dollar duck,” the game warden said without humor.
Sure enough, This Guy had to cough up $100 plus court costs at the next session of Game & Fish Court because it was illegal to kill that kind of rare duck.
His pals loved it. It was the kind of story that would get better with each telling. And it was sure to be told many, many times.
One of them found a statuette of a kiwi bird at a garage sale. It was about 10 inches tall. This Guy’s pals spray painted it gold and printed GREBE across the front of the statuette base. Grebe was the name for the kind of duck that has a hunnerd dollar fine.
This Guy took it all in stride, laughing good naturedly at himself. The teasing lasted many years and hunnerds of tellings.
This Guy was a pharmacist. He worked at a few different drugstores, mostly the late and lamented Nashville Drug, over a career spanning about a half-century. The location changed occasionally but one thing that didn’t change was This Guy and his few vices, including cigars.
He didn’t smoke them. He merely chewed on them a little bit and mostly just rolled them around in his cheek.
This Guy had a whole different circle of friends at the golf course. One of them recalled that This Guy was a terrible golfer, but was a valued member of the group because of his self-deprecating sense of humor. His golf pals loved him and they knew he really loved them in return.
This Guy also loved games of chance. He’d make jokes about himself and say that his car knew every turn on the way to the ‘boats.’
This Guy didn’t drink. Didn’t cuss. He did possess a fine tenor voice, and for some years was in great demand at weddings and funerals. This Guy tried to make it in show business once, but returned home from the Big City after awhile, secure in the belief that his true calling was behind the counter at the drug store and with friends in duck blinds.
This Guy was a friend of the local newspaper columnist, too. The columnist once dreamed up a contest for his column. He asked readers to suggest the best names they ever gave to a pet cat. This Guy didn’t win the contest; didn’t even come close. He said he named his cat Friendly. It almost made the columnist puke but This Guy insisted it was a great cat name.
This Guy finally reached his late 80s.
He gave up duck hunting and golfing and the boats, and he retired to a quiet life mostly in seclusion.
And then he died.
His final instructions were that there would be no newspaper obituary, no church funeral service. His ashes were to be spread privately in his shady back yard on North Main Street, Nashville. Self-deprecating to the very end and beyond.
Well, that request was most unusual, but This Guy did sometimes hear a different drummer. The newspaper this week dutifully and regretfully ignores his passing.
His dear friends will miss him and they will probably tell stories about their hunting/golfing pal hunnerds of times until none of them are around to laugh again.
BY THE WAY, Sammy Floyd of Nashville died Wednesday, Sept. 19. He was 86, and was a retired pharmacist.
THINGS I LEARNED from opening email: If the population of China walked past you, in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.
WORD GAMES. Another set of twins: Song and Dance. Sometimes they’re about entertainment; sometimes they’re just giving you the run-around.
HE SAID: “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” Mark Twain, writer
SHE SAID: “I never dwell on what happened. You can’t change it. Move forward. Don’t waste your energy on being angry at something that somebody did six months ago or a year ago. It’s over. Done. Move forward.” Joan Rivers, comedienne
SWEET DREAMS, Baby