Learning the hard way to be self-sufficient
Although I have learned in life to ask questions, there occurred an early experience where I did not practice the art of asking enough significant questions.
My dad often took me deer hunting, and we spent many days down at the Goodyear Hunting Club. I’d listen to stories of the 10-point buck with a short tines and nonsymmetrical set of antlers. The animal seems to have had one leg just a tad longer than the other three. One of its eyes squinted when it darted to the left but stayed open when going right. The deer also had an interesting white patch on its neck area.
A hunter could gather all this detailed information and somehow fail to bring that deer down. For example:
“The deer was running too fast.”
“The deer was in a thicket.”
“My gun jammed.”
“I was eating a sandwich.”
My dad took care of me and worked hard to make hunting fun. On one hunt my feet got so cold that he took off my boots and put my socked feet under his arm-pits to keep me from losing a toe. We didn’t always get a deer, and sometimes we didn’t even see one, but those were good times!
Anyways, I didn’t know that my parents were different. I grew up in a Godly home with Mother and Dad. They worked hard, supported our church and our community and treated my friends like their own children. Most of all, they loved my sister and me. I was definitely privileged but did not know it.
One day, I got invited to go deer hunting with a friend of mine and his uncle. It would be the first time I would deer hunt without my dad. After we loaded everything into the truck and cam-per, my friend and I and his uncle and cousin headed towards the Barbour County Management Area. I didn’t ask many questions since I was still in shock over the idea of going deer hunting without Dad.
My introduction to reality happened at a gas station between East Gadsden and Barbour County. Recall me saying that my parents treated my friends as their own? Apparently, there were other ways to go through life and I was about to be baptized in reality.
When the gas pump stopped turning, my friend’s uncle divided the total by three and held out his hand. For those of you slow to catch on, as I was, the cost of the gas was to be divided by one-part friend, one-part uncle and one-part Bobby Dale.
I’m absolutely not saying that the uncle was wrong to make sure we covered our part. He definitely was within his right to do so, and I commend him for requiring it of me. It was just different than what I had experienced. By the way, his vehicle was a jacked up, high horse-powered super truck.
My friend and I were sitting in the backseat and could still see the glow of that gas station when it was time to change tanks. When it was late and everyone was tired, we finally arrived at Barbour County Management Area. We set up camp set and went off to bed.
My friend and I were awakened by the smell of bacon and eggs frying into the skillet. However, I was about to receive the biggest dose of reality I had ever experience so far in my young life. The math did not add up – six pieces of bacon, five fried eggs and four pieces of toast for all four of us? That amount of food sounded more like breakfast for two.
And so it was. You see, we did not ask any questions. Uncle had prepared for breakfast for his son and himself. They were prepared, and these were good folks. Once again, I am not saying it was my friend’s uncle’s responsibility to feed us. I am saying, however, that we were hungry, we had not asked enough questions and had not prepared.
My friend leaned over from his sleeping bag and said, “Welch, pass me some of that liquid breakfast (which happened to be a can of Dr. Pepper).”
After the morning hunt, we went straight to town and purchased some nutritious groceries. It ended up being a fun hunt and an experience I still laugh about. I learned not to take things for granted and not to rely on someone else to provide for me.
Most importantly, I learned to always find out who would be taking care of breakfast.
Bobby Dale Welch was born and raised in East Gadsden and graduated from Litchfield High School in 1988. He is the founder of and partner in BD Welch Construction and currently lives in Ashville with his wife Tracie and sons Daniel and Dawson. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.