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1.) Bob Peck - 10/28/2015
Random but true story ...

I was dropping off deer #3 this morning to a processor I know participates in Virginia's Hunters for the Hungry. I've gotten to know most of the people that work there as I've been dropping off donated deer for several years and spent some time filming this meat processing crew for a documentary. This place is about as backwoods Blue Ridge Mountain as it gets. Off the beaten path doesn't do it justice. There is barely any path!

One of the guys that works there, I'll call him Charlie, is the happiest most upbeat and friendly guy you'll ever meet. I mean consistently happy. Warm, welcoming, accommodating. I have always envied people like Charlie because I seem to ride a roller coaster through life whereas he rides a flat rail. The roller coaster might be more exciting but it takes it out of you little by little. I strive for the flat rail.

This man can skin and strip a deer down to bone in less than 10 minutes. He gets paid per deer not by the hour. It's one of several jobs he does throughout the year to make ends meet. Watching him work is a marvel. You might say if you do something a hundred times a day there is no artistry. I'd like to believe otherwise.

Charlie was just arriving to work when I got there around 7:30 a.m. I was going to walk over and have a chat but he seemed preoccupied setting up wheel chair and opening the door of a modified van. Hmmm ... wonder what that's all about? I asked myself. Maybe I should offer to help. Just as I started to step that way (maybe 15 yards away) he helped hoist a woman into the wheelchair with no legs, a thumb on one hand and single finger burned off on the other.

As he wheeled her up to introduce her I felt a big pit in my stomach. This usually means the Lord is about to teach me something so I braced for the lesson. Just an hour before I had been complaining to my wife how difficult the drag had been getting that deer out as it was straight up a mountain and took nearly two hours. Sit the butt on the ground, pull back on the horns like I was rowing a boat, scooch back 3-4 feet and repeat. That deer drag struggle was a here and there thing and over in a few hours doing what I've loved for the better part of 40+ years now. This woman lived this everyday & every hour and surely no one could ever interpret that as good.

"[I]Hey Bob, I'd like you to meet my wife Melissa.[/I]"

The gears in my brain didn't mesh. I nodded politely and managed a very feeble wave not exactly sure of the protocol. [I]"Get over here and give me a hug since I ain't got no hands to shake." [/I] I complied. I felt the vertebrae in my back pop a little when I bent over for the hug. Charlie was behind the wheelchair and smiling that familiar smile. Was that pride? Love? Maybe both?

Charlie and I threw my deer up on a pallet while Melissa wheeled herself inside. [I]"Damn. What a whiner I am."[/I] I thought to myself. Make no mistake, this moment in time wasn't pity for another. This was pure empathy and feeling blessed with what I have. I temporarily forgot what I don't have. I handed over my license so the kill confirmation # could be logged in and took what I thought was an inconspicuous peek into the processing room warmed by a small but capable pot bellied stove. The morning banter had begun and the country music switched on. I watched as Melissa grabbed a specially modified stool and hoisted herself up and into position at the de-boning station.

[I]"I see you met our new employee Melissa."[/I] says the owner distractedly as he tries to see over the top of his glasses while multi-tasking.

[I]"Yeah,"[/I] I said, trying to look away but knowing I probably was staring a little too long, [I]"I didn't even know Charlie was married." [/I]

[I]"Got married last year. Funny thing too, he pulled Melissa from a flaming car wreck about 10 years ago when he was working as an EMT. Met at a church function and took a liking to each other."[/I]
2.) Swamp Fox - 10/28/2015
3.) billy b - 10/28/2015
The Lord works in mysterious ways, great story Bob:wink
4.) Wild Bob - 10/28/2015
Incredible story Bob, thank you for sharing it.

How to respond...

I don't know what to say, other than I have truly come to believe that everything happens for a reason.
5.) Forkie McRut - 10/29/2015
Thank you for sharing that, Bob. Just what I needed to put things in perspective. How quickly we lose sight of the sufferings around us and rather wallow in self-pity!
6.) luv2bowhunt - 10/29/2015
Thanks for sharing Bob, very powerful. Exactly why we need your posts on this site.