Along The Trail 11-22-12

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Do you ever stop to think about how many people we know?

How many folks are in your “circle of influence”?

We have all sorts of friends: Close friends, “regular” friends, co-workers and acquaintances – but, have you ever taken the time to think about how we make those friends and build relationships?

I know I hadn’t given much thought to how many people I know or are friends with until “Along the Trail” came into being. I’ve always thought myself a friendly guy and easy to get along with for the most part, although I don’t let very many people in close.

A by product of 20 plus years in law enforcement I’d guess.

But since submitting my first article a few months ago, I’ve made several new friends and connected with a lot of others over their shared interest and love of the outdoors, fishing and hunting. It’s truly been a humbling experience. I’ve received notes and cards in the mail from readers of the articles that have actually brought a lump to my throat and welled up my eyes.

Letters from an elderly lady telling me how the stories remind her of her late husband or the parent of a budding, young outdoorsmen asking for my advice.

Overwhelming is an understatement…

Recently, as I was feeling a case of “bowhunting withdraws” after having taken my buck a few days ago, I received an unexpected, but welcomed message from an acquaintance from years past, actually my high school guidance counselor from 1987 to be exact. Someone I hadn’t seen in years.

It turns out that she follows “Along the Trail” in its online version and had read the recent story about me taking my deer last week. She had contacted me and offered to allow my son and I to hunt she and her husband’s farm in Northern Kentucky, no strings attached.

Just an honest connection made through a mutual love of the outdoors and nature. I honestly hadn’t thought much about my old high school counselor other than in passing here and there through social media, but through something as simple and uncomplicated as a weekly newspaper column, we have re-connected and found out that we have a common interest, a passion for the outdoors.

After a couple of phone calls were made back and forth, I met them for a tour of the property and my spirits soared and no sign of “bowhunting withdraw” could be found! Rubs, scrapes and deer trails covered the rugged hillsides of the rural, remote property…

Another opportunity to hunt and – if the stars align – maybe another mature buck will cross paths with my arrow. As we shook hands and parted ways, I thanked them their generous offer and she thanked me for writing “Along the Trail” and a hearty “keep up the good work”.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is don’t ever underestimate how many “friends” you can have or how many people you can connect with through your message or shared interests. When I started writing “Along the Trail”, it was with the clear understanding that I wouldn’t be paid for submissions, but turns out that I have been “paid” more than I could ever have imagined from these simple stories about a simple guy with a simple bow in the woods…