WOODS ‘N’ WATER: The heart of the lion is still beating

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: The heart of the lion is still beating


“Give me one more shot; I’ll give it all I got!”

These are the words from a song by the country band Alabama and they were the lyrics that my “adopted” grandson Jordan Davila and I lived by.

The song was not about the horrendous shootings in schools that have taken away so many innocent lives, but about getting another chance at life, because Jordan was fighting for his life.

You see, Jordan had a form of leukemia that was taking its toll on his young body. I knew it and Jordan knew it. With all of the medical tests and treatments he was going through, he had to know it.

With all of the news spotlights the aftermath of the horrific shootings at the schools, firearms and their illegal use have now been targeted, but one has to wonder if any good will come of the legal ownership and use of firearms.

Tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Meriden Rod & Gun Club shooting range, legal firearms will be used to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The targets will be made of paper, although the villain, childhood cancer, is real and takes away untold numbers of children from the loving arms of their parents every year.

I know this to be true because we lost Jordon and the heartbreak is still with us. While Jordan was not my biological grandson, we had bonded closer than some grandparents do with their grandchildren today.

When asked to describe Jordan, I guess I would have to say he was a bundle of love that could charm anyone in his path. One day, when I was carrying him, he sort of nuzzled into my neck and asked, “Why me, Mike?”

I had no answer for that one.

I have seen him, with his charm, turn even the toughest ones, and I was one of them. Along the way, in his short time on this place we call earth, he had charmed a bunch of DJs from Country 92.5 FM, rock star Ted Nugent and a whole club of rough-and-tough outdoor folks down at the Meriden Rod & Gun Club.

Oh, boy, did Jordan ever charm the gang at the Meriden Rod & Gun Club. During his short life he loved to fish and the Meriden Rod & Gun Club trout pond was on his fishing list.

And I can never forget the love and kindness shown Jordan by the Venuti family in Killingworth. At that time, they had a pay-to-fish trout lake and Jordan was invited to fish there any time he felt good enough to do so. They even put a small boat in the lake for Jordan to fish from.

I can still see the glow from his face when he caught one of those famous Venuti lunkers. Our rides to and from Venwood Lake are still etched into my mind and will most likely be there until I hit the road to Tinkertown (outdoor sportsmen’s heaven).

I think that the rides in my pickup truck were the highlight of our trips together. He was rather small, so I put a box on the passenger seat for him to sit on and then strapped him in before we hit the road.

He loved it when we were on the back-country roads and we would spot some type of wildlife that he had never seen before.

I would pull over and stop the truck so Jordan could observe whatever wild critter it was. Turkey, deer, woodchuck, chipmunk: He was fascinated by them all.

Because of the treatments he was going through, Jordan would nod off once in a while, but would always wake up after a couple of minutes.

On one of our trips back to his home he fell asleep and at first I thought nothing of it.

After a while I nudged him and said, “Hey, Jordan, wake up!”

The kid stayed slumped over and I hit the panic button. Again, only louder, I shouted, “JORDAN, WAKE UP!”

This time he stirred himself awake and gave me a smile. “Hey Mike, what’s the matter?”

Little did he know how much he had scared me.

When we got to his house, I told his mom, Paula Charlton, about the incident and she laughed and said, “He’s a car baby; he always falls asleep like that when he’s in a car.”

We both had a good laugh over that.

Jordan charmed the Meriden Rod & Gun Club members so hard that they took up running an event to honor him every year and they would use bow & arrows and legal firearms to do so. They vowed they would not forget “The kid with the heart of a lion.”

To say that this event has been successful would be an understatement.

Many folks come down and pay the $10 entry fee just to sample the food. Our outside grill will be working full bore to provide all of the hot dogs, hamburgers, and sausage sandwiches you can handle. The kitchen crew will be sending out clam chowder, chili and all kinds of other goodies from 10 a.m. opening to the 4 p.m. closing.

There will be a HUGE sportsmen’s raffle. The shooting range, archery range and trap range will be open to the public.

This all takes place TOMORROW at the Meriden Rod & Gun Club, Ravens Lane, South Meriden. Fun and camaraderie and a chance to help end childhood cancer: It does not get any better than that!

The event will take place rain or shine because cancer strikes children in all kinds of weather.

See ya’ and God Bless America and the children suffering from such catastrophic diseases like childhood cancer, and watch over our troops wherever they may be.



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