By: Glynn Harris

When I married and started a family, as a lover of all things outdoors I secretly hoped I’d become father to a little boy who I could watch follow in my footsteps learning to hunt and fish. It didn’t happen. Cathy came along first followed by Kayla.

As much as I wanted a boy, there is no way on God’s green Earth I could have been happier than watching these two do what little girls all pink and frilly do. Barbie Dolls, Betsy Wetsy, Donny Osmond, piano recitals as I watched them grow up to become beautiful and special young ladies both marrying quality young men.

But I never had a son.

Cathy and Kayla both wanted to please their outdoorsy dad and although they both gave it a good effort, Cathy even fighting a gag reflex as I coaxed her into hanging onto the hind legs of a squirrel I was skinning, it just wasn’t to be. I needed them to have a brother.

But I never had a son.

Later in my life I married Kay and she brought into our marriage, a 10 year old. Again, no little boys entered my life. Melissa tried, learning to love some of the outdoorsy things I loved like feeding and identifying song birds.

But I never had a son.

Somewhere along the way, a 13 year old kid found his way into my life. David was his name. He spent several summers with us and even attended Ruston High School for a time. I finally had a boy with which to invest my love for the outdoors.

What a thrill is was to watch David following in my footsteps in the outdoors. I was with him when he shot his first squirrel. He and I high-fived when he downed his first deer. I showed him where to cast his lure when he hooked and landed his first bass. He buddied up with a kid his age who introduced him to even more outdoors stuff. That young man, Keith Johnson, is now my son-in-law; he married my Kayla.

Time passed, David grew up and married and was dad to two youngsters, a son and daughter. We kept in touch but our man-boy experiences became fewer and farther between.

A few years ago, a painful sensation behind David’s eye became bothersome and when he finally decided to have a doctor check on it, he found cancer that had spread and was making its slow but certain and inoperable path to his brain, eye, face and throat. Doctors told him he had maybe a couple of years to live.

Last year, David and I rekindled our special relationship that involved our mutual outdoors interest. Confined to his apartment in Hot Springs Village, AR, he mounted a trail camera out back to take advantage of the wood lot behind his apartment. Spreading corn in clear view of his camera, deer were attracted to the corn and for more than a year, he sent me and I responded to images of bucks with no antlers, then bucks sprouting new antlers and ultimately bucks with sets of hardened antlers repeating the process again this spring.

The last deer photos he sent me last week were dated May 21 and after commenting on the photo, David added, “I’m having to take tons of pain meds and can hardly swallow. AJ (his son) is coming back this afternoon and Kristi (his daughter) will be here Friday. I can’t do much for myself.”

Four days later, on May 25, David was gone. He had assured me he already made peace with his Maker and expressed his upcoming death in the way only the die-hard LSU fan he was might do.

“It’s Gods call now. He’s the Umpire Crew Chief and I’m ready when he calls. Like LSU baseball players at the start of the game, when the Umpire calls, I will come running, my heart full of joy!”

No, I never had a son but I had David, and that’s good enough for me.

David practicing the fishing skills he learned when he visited Ruston as a teenager

9 thoughts on “I NEVER HAD A SON

  1. Beautiful words. I remember David 25 years past. Worked for his dad and had wonderful law experience with Allen . Prayers for you all

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