He thought his days in the great outdoors were over, until his greatest wish came true.
- Posted on Nov 1, 1985
I'd once been an active man, a man who knew how to walk in the woods. Even in the dark I could find my way to the wild brook, where I'd be fishing by dawn, able to see deer come down from the mountain to drink.
By 1980 those woodland days were over. For more than 15 years I'd been confined to a wheelchair, a victim of crippling rheumatoid arthritis. I did my best to live a full life, and I still felt loved by God. Just the same, when November's sporting season came 'round, I tended to be bitter.
One November Saturday a few old hunting buddies came over. The season wasn't due to open for a few days, but they were on their way to Clark's Valley just to scout for deer. They were all excited. They said they would see a deer for me.
"Thanks," I said, "but I'd really like to see one myself." My buddies couldn't reply to that.
That afternoon I sat in my wheelchair and tried to watch a football game on TV, but I kept thinking of tramping in Clark's Valley. The game ended and I didn't even know who'd won. I closed my eyes and threw myself a pity party, wanting so badly to be out there where I could see a deer.
At last I reopened my eyes and looked out our picture window. There, on my lawn, staring straight into my eyes, stood the biggest buck I'd ever seen. I called to my wife. Ginny came running. She saw too.
The buck stared at me a moment longer, then loped silently away, his big rack spread wide like angel wings. Right here in Pennsylvania's capital city.
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