In 2004 we got our shortstop a nice scholarship . At his graduation party his dad gave me his Carbondale bow and told me it was mine if I like the sport. My first seasons of whitetail hunting would out perform any reality show on TV as I missed 9 doe! This doesn't count the times I got busted, or got caught up counting horns. My second season my Uncle Rich gave me a Mathews FX that is a shooter! I asked the dad if he wanted the Carbondale back? He told me to give it to a student who wants to get started, so I did.
I took the FX down to C&M Archery to fit it to my length. As I took it back to the range I hit the bow on the door jam, the bow came back and about took out my eye. Lucky for me there was only one person at the range, and I told him he could laugh. He did. We started talking and I found out he was the owner’s dad, 84 years old, and loved to shoot. He still used a summit climber, and got a doe the previous season! He got into archery at 60 years of age. When he retired the family bought him a bow as a retirement present. We would meet down at C&M and swap hunting stories. That summer he had a knee operation, so he could climb trees better.
He never fully recovered, as the operation and rehab seemed to take much out of him. I could finally out shoot him, but this wasn’t the reason I chased arrows for him. I just wanted to soak up his wisdom. We talked and he told me several stories about his times in the Marines during the Normandy Invasion. I always admire any veteran, especially ones that have seen combat. He reminded me much of my late father-in-law, former POW, Nick Aloisi.
The last time we shot he didn’t want to because he was pulling only 40 lbs. (He didn’t want to hear about a crossbow.) When his son, Larry, mentioned they where going to put him in a blind on his other son's property (Mike), he told me to go get his bow. Most of his shots that day would have taken a deer. We shot for over an hour. It wasn’t like the year before, but I was encouraged.
Well I went down to shoot a few weeks ago and Thumper (Rob) told me they put George in the hospital.
That Saturday I went to see him after baseball practice. He looked tired, but his mind was sharp as ever!
I got to meet his lovely wife Laura. But it was his smile when I entered the room and he said Joe, that will remain with me the rest of my life. The only other time I saw him smile like that was when he told me the story about meeting his wife of 61 years.
Last week after a game I stopped down and Larry said the doctors told them "it looked grave." We reminisced with Thumper over George Osman’s life. Thumper said he wished he would be still be hunting into his eighties. I said I hope I live into my eighties. I told Larry I was almost certain that George would get that deer this year. Larry said, "He will! We just won’t be there, that's all."
Today (Thursday) I went down to pick up my Cardiac Bow, and Thumper told me the sad news. I told Thumper to put my new bow next to George's tonight. I am going to say my prayers, but I feel George is doing me a lot more good up there, than I can do for him down here. I gotta a feelin’ he is spearing a brute tonight in our field of dreams.