The hunting chronicles: Ode to a fallen pecan tree in East Gadsden

August 21, 2020 chris
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By Bobby Dale Welch/Staff Correspondent

I spent some time over the last week or so down Memory Lane, specifically Maryland Avenue in East Gadsden. My parents had a pecan tree fall in their backyard and I was fortunate to have some time to help clean it up.
Reflecting on this past week, it was much more than cleaning up a tree. I grew up (well, older anyways) under that tree! I played with my Tonka dump truck and bulldozer with our neighbor friends and cousins. But there the tree was, part of it laying on the shop building and part of it standing dead.
This is a hunting column; however. It says so right in the title. Toward that end, I cleaned a many a deer hanging from that pecan tree. I’ve previously told a story about bird hunting, East Gadsden-style, and that pecan tree was a prime location for unsuspecting birds and landing big-game squirrel was always a possibility.
I relived a lot of good times in that backyard under that tree. Practicing with my bow from the back porch to the far-left corner was exactly 22 yards. I remember it like yesterday. Shooting those gigantic aluminum Easton 2312 arrows into the big cube of Styrofoam purchased at Bonner Acoustical Supply. Those were some good days.
I also got to spend time with Mom and Dad this week working in our backyard. They can still put in a solid day’s work, for sure. There was a time we were working in that same backyard. It must have been pretty close to Thanksgiving. Dad had a plan of us of going hunting down to the Goodyear Hunting Club in Coosa County. We’d get to see our friends and do some good ole deer hunting. But work was needed to be done so we were hard at.
Then it happened.
Young Bobby Dale was not paying attention and he stepped on a nail, which went through the shoe and into my left foot. The hospital was not far away, so we decided to have it checked out. A good and thorough cleaning of my foot ensued, along with a tetanus shot in my right arm.
The doctor asked if I had any questions. Of course, I had questions! Nowadays I would probably ask questions such as, “What are the chances of infection?” or “Will this affect my piano playing?” or “How long will this take to heal?”
But young Bobby Dale asked the good doctor (through tears, of course), “Can I still go hunting with my dad tomorrow?” The doctor said I could; great news!
We woke early the next morning and left at 3 a.m. We were going hunting, and that’s what mattered. We had breakfast and went on to our stand for the first drive. Dad picked us a spot and cleaned each of us a place against a tree. This is when you might look back to the tetanus-shot-in the-right-arm part of this story. My foot was fine, but my arm hurt!
The actual hunt went something like this: Dad sat at the ready and scanned the woods for movement while Bobby Dale and his throbbing arm curled up into a ball up against his tree and went to sleep. But I was hunting and that’s what mattered.
I’ll always remember that pecan tree in East Gadsden and the memories it was a part of. I hope you’ve got some good stories from Memory Lane. Take some time and ride down through there every now and again. But when you do, watch out for nails!
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 bobbyd@bdwelch.com.