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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Daddy Sherry’s hunt

W.O. Mitchell (photo courtesy of Wikimedia)
Joyce Sasse - Every rural community has at least one outstanding character. In W.O. Mitchell’s novel The Kite that special person is Daddy Sherry - who, at 111 years, was believed to be the oldest person in the world!

When the fall colours come into full bloom and the geese are practicing formation flying, one particular story in this book overflowing with stories comes to mind. It’s about what happened when Daddy Sherry was in his hundredth year.

This man was crotchety, proudly independent and set on having his way. He had a dream about taking his old gun out for one more goose hunt. The local doctor, minister and undertaker decided they would try to make his dream come true.

After carefully calculating his requirements, and when and where the geese were coming in for a feed, the guys went to work. They dug a pit large enough for Daddy’s rocking chair, himself and a companion. Fall mornings being what they are, they lined the pit with hot rocks and carpeting and carefully lowered Daddy and his chair. Then they covered the whole thing with artificial turf from the funeral home. Only his head was exposed.

You have to read the book to learn the outcome. But if you know small communities you can imagine the comradery, the familiarity of living together for decades, and the importance of helping a buddy live out a dream.

What I appreciated about the book is the way Mitchell so clearly named the values handed on to others. The boy, Keith, was proud to have Daddy Sherry be his mentor, but he also clearly understood his role in helping Daddy face some of the rough spots that accompany aging.

Whether our roots are in the city or the country, we find truths told that we can identify with as we find ourselves ripening. These may be “rural” values, but they stand strong in our Global Society.

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