WOODS ‘N’ WATER: In honor of the kindness and honesty of strangers

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: In honor of the kindness and honesty of strangers


“Finders keepers, losers weepers.” Have you ever wondered if that was really true or not?

Over my years on this place we call Earth, I have seen both sides of that old saying.

Most of all though, I have found that there are some really honest folks around and I have tried my best to be just like them.

Quite a number of years ago, when we had our place up in Guilford, N.Y., I was hunting deer on a second piece of land that we owned. At that time we did not have a home on the land, so I would travel to and from the property for my many hunting forays.

It was deer season in New York, and Edna and I had Nelson Flannigan and his wife Mary up for a couple of days. Edna and Mary would do some shopping while Nelson and I would see if we could put a tag on a deer.

This would be Nelson’s last chance to hunt deer on our land because he and Mary were heading back to Connecticut after lunch.

We ended the morning without filling a deer tag. We had both parked on the roadside and, for some reason or another, I had gotten distracted from my usual getting-ready-to-go-back-to-camp mode. I had to make a stop in the Village of Oxford and then went on home.

We arrived at our home in Guilford, had lunch and said our goodbyes, then I went back to the other piece of land to hunt deer once again.

I was in for a shock.

When I went into the back of my pickup truck, my shotgun was gone! Someone had stolen it while I was in town.

I was so upset I could not even think straight. Who would do such a thing?

I returned home to get a backup firearm and went back to the land, but my heart was not in it with the loss of my trusty old Ithaca deer hunting shotgun still fresh in my mind.

After a fruitless afternoon of deer hunting, I went back to my truck for the return to Guilford when and old timer (like I am now) pulled up in an old beat-up car and asked how the deer hunting was going.

I told him that the day before I had taken a nice buck and was now trying to fill my antlerless deer tag.

“Oh,” the old gent said. “Did ya’ get him with your Ithaca Deer Slayer?”

Startled by the fact that he knew what kind of shotgun I was using, I answered him with, “Yes, but today someone stole it out of my pickup truck when I was in Oxford. I should have known better than to leave my truck unlocked!”

With that, the gent reached over the seat of his vehicle and came up with a shotgun. I immediately recognized it as mine.

I was a loss for words, but then was able to ask him how he had come by it.

“I come by here every once in a while and have seen your truck there and figured you were a deer hunter,” he answered. “When I went to town right after noontime, I drove by and saw that shotgun just leaning against a log and begging someone to pick it up. So I did.”

The old gent handed the shotgun out of the window.

“If I were you, I’d take better care of my shotgun than to leave it just laying around on the roadside.”

I could not thank him enough. He turned down offers of some money for his honesty and drove off with another warning about taking better care of my firearms.

I have never forgotten such honesty and have tried to duplicate it in my life.

Just recently, in a trip to the Meriden Dog Park, I had taken our pup Charlie for a run and, as all good dog owners should do, I had to pick up one of his poops.

This is usually done with the help of a plastic bag over your hand so you do not have to touch the dog poop before you discard it into a trash barrel that is in the dog park.

Oh, but I forgot to mention that I carelessly placed our debit card in the same pocket as the plastic bag. Get the picture so far?

Edna and I went shopping, and when I looked for my debit card to pay the bill, it was gone.

Talk about panic. I had no idea where it might have disappeared to.

Edna suggested a return to the dog park. Our search was futile, but we deduced that this had to be where I had lost it.

I mentioned to Edna that a young gentleman had been there with a pair of young dogs, but I had no idea who he was or if he had even come across the missing debit card.

We headed home with the idea of calling the bank and canceling the card and all of the online payments we made every month. We had just got in the house when the phone rang. It was the bank and they told us that someone had returned the card to the bank!

However, they did not have the name of the person who had turned in the card.

The next day, back at the Meriden Dog Park, we ran into a young lady who had two dogs that looked just like the ones the gentleman had the day before. I went over to her and she confirmed that she was aware of the found debit card.

I tried to offer her a reward for their honesty and she politely refused. If they should read this, I want you to know we will never forget your honesty.

It does my heart good to know that there are so many honest folks around us at this terrible time when so many bad and negative things are going on all around us. Keep the faith and we will get through this together.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops and First Responders who put their lives on the line every day.

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