True outdoorsman leaves behind meaningful legacy

In pondering this week’s column I was at an impasse about a topic to concentrate on and put into words. While there is still some hunting to be enjoyed for the hardier among us, it is not true for those devotees of the hole in the ice gang. A tad too early for ice augers and tip-ups. Frostbite and stomping one’s frozen feet upon solid water will be here before you know it so patience in this category of the outdoor sporting scene is required temporarily.

Beyond the sparse offerings of hunting and fishing remaining at the end of another year there is the always the fireside review of this past season and the planning for the next just ahead.

I would have to say, personally, that December is a special time for celebration and a new beginning. It may be politically incorrect to look upon this unique season as a purely religious occasion but it is celebrated throughout this country and in most parts of the modern world as a time of a new birth, a new promise and a belief in things beyond self.

This special season is also a time of gift giving, a tradition based upon the gifts brought by three wise men to humbly present before a newborn child. Gift giving has grown in proportion to it’s present day free for all by retailers intent on gleaning the last dollar from our wallets. The wise men of yore have been replaced by the marketing teams from the big block stores and the spirit of giving has lost some of the original intent of those who’ve gone before.

This past week I had the sad occasion to attend a funeral for a man who suddenly died, leaving behind his wife, children and special family at this most wonderful time of the year. This man gave the gift of teaching others the ways of hunting and the self-sustaining harvesting of game. It was nice to hear the voices of those in attendance at his service talk about their introduction to this sport and how they had been introduced to the special taste of venison as a result. In an age of questioning by many of the value of all things that they disagree with or lack understanding of, it was nice to hear positive input at such
a sad occasion.

My original thought for this week’s column was to make gift suggestions for the out-of-doors people among us. It was my intent to help those that really don’t have any depth of knowledge of what is required to comfortably and safely enjoy time spent away from the daily hustle and bustle of life. After last week’s experience and some soul searching of my own I changed my column to give ALL people a great idea for this special season. An idea that costs you nothing except your own inner emotions and feelings.

The gift of life and love – no price tag hanging from it – no discount or "Black Friday" ( I absolutely despise that term ) specials – just a simple gift of you to another. No strings attached, no 90-day return policy, nothing but complete and absolute giving of oneself to someone special in your life. The outpouring of love and admiration for this man I mentioned above and his effect on those he came in contact with during his time here was amply displayed by all in attendance and served as a reminder of how special a gift life really is. I’m sure that his wife and children as well as the rest of the deceased man’s family would forego all the material matters of "essential" items for just another moment spent enjoying the presence of this husband, father, brother, cousin or whatever he meant to those that were in his life.

His love and friendship was and will always be the gift left behind in his legacy. Besides that, the hunting sport lost one helluva good deer hunter.

Gordon Lewis can be reached at