getting to be less and less of the old timers around, at least from my
prospective. When you find one and he is willing to talk, take the time to
listen. They have lived in a world that is very different than the one we live
in now, and one you will never experience.
I’ve only known one old-time hardcore bird hunter really well. I never used to miss a chance to stop by his home and listen to his stories about birds. There were tales of where to find them or when to find them. And of course dogs, there were always a stories about a dogs. And guns. He was an avid Ithaca fan, owned a 20, 16, and 12 all with the same stock dimensions.
He always asked my opinion about the upcoming season and the weather. New Englanders always ask about the weather. Dogs were always welcome and he would take the time it rub an ear or pat a head. He worked in the woods for a logging company, which added another dimension to his tales. Eventually all of the country he worked in and hunted was laid out in my head.
There’s been other old timers, too. A character from Fort Kent, Maine who worked in the woods since his thirteenth birthday. He was still working and sixty-five when I met him. He told how there were 18 siblings in his family and when the oldest got married there were twenty-one at the dinner table. He started young picking potatoes and seemed to always have a bag of them in his truck.
And the sea captain that ran a boat yard down on Cape Cod, who sailed his own yawl down to Miami in 1950, jumped aboard a schooner heading to Cuba, then sailed back to Pocasset, Massachusetts to start a boat yard he would run nearly the rest of his life. I remember him standing like a sea captain, with hands clasped behind his back, looking at the Pocasset River flow by. He lived to be one hundred years old.
Their stories were fascinating. When you find and old timer who will talk about times long gone by, listen to the details and ask yourself if you could do the things that they did. It’s a world we will never see.