The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Rick Brockway

January 18, 2013

Little things mean a lot to an outdoors writer

Every once in a while, I wake up in the morning to write this column and have no idea what to write about.

Nothing seemed to plant a seed in my brain this week, so I thought I’d just tell you a few small tales from my past that just wouldn’t make a complete story on their own.

A few weeks ago, I told you about Charlie Reese and his complaint that, “the fishers are eatin’ all the patiges.” Charlie was a colorful, old gentleman from Wells who was in his 80s when I met him. He’d been a logger, trapper and hunting guide in the north country all his life.

I had planned an outing for the local boy scout troop for a Saturday in the dead of winter. I had arranged for the snowmobile club to take us back into the Kunjamuk so we could spend the night in the old log cabin.

Back in the late 1960s, we had real winter. That morning, the snow was deep and the thermometer in Speculator read about 40-below.

Now I knew some of those old-timers were tough, but when Charlie arrived at the meeting place on his snow machine wearing an old felt hat with no ear muffs and a couple of ratty flannel shirts, I wondered about his sanity. The rest of us couldn’t get enough clothes on to keep warm and here’s Charlie dressed like it was a sunny fall day. We made it to the cabin and Charlie didn’t freeze to death.

Another time, Charlie came running into Vodron’s Restaurant with more excitement than an 8-year-old on Christmas morning. You see, he had a few chickens and sold fresh eggs to the restaurant every few days. That morning, Charlie couldn’t believe what he found in his hen house. His old hens laid the average medium-to-large eggs every day but that Saturday, he found one three or four times larger than normal.

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Rick Brockway

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