Were You Real?

Were you real?

I’m fairly certain you existed

Perhaps you still do


Hours, days, years

They seem never ending

While they happen

But they’re merely a blip

Did they really happen?

To me

Or am I fostering someone’s else’s memories?



What is it about a song

That brings me back 30 years

To a time much simplier

Yet uniquely profound

What makes it so powerful

That I ache for her

Someone who barely registers on my conscious

At almost any other time

How can something so simple as a song

Pummel the emotion right out of me

It’s Going Down


November 22, 1987:

The woods were silently still that morning.  A fresh snow of four inches had littered the landscape overnight, drastically altering the scenery from just one day before.  Gone was the obnoxious crunch that accompanied every footstep.  In its place was a wintry morning doing its best to act as a silent film.

I followed Dad down the trail through the timber, mainly open hardwoods, with patches of green ferns, more prevalent in some places than others.  Not much was going on, save for random squawk of a blue jay, a bold chipmunk protesting our presence on his land, or the unassuming trickle of the occasional brook.  Yes, the setting was quite peaceful regardless of the void of action. 

With every step, my mind began to wander more.  Homework, friends, girls.  The lack of anything suggesting that deer were indeed on this mountain at all afforded me the opportunity to daydream so.  Ah, but I was about to learn a lesson, one that Dad had attempted to teach before.

He stopped suddenly, cocking his head to get a look up the steep mountainside.  I turned my head sharply to the right to get a look.  What was he looking at?  I frantically scanned the ridge, at any moment expecting to see movement.  Nothing.  Must’ve been a branch blowing in the wind or a bird flying away.  These sorts of things happen frequently in the deer woods.

He pulled his rifle up, carefully adjusting the scope.  He sees something but what it is, I have no idea.  For what seemed like an hour, but in reality, lasted about a minute, he kept pulling the gun up, desperate for a more superior vantage point.  Apparently, it never came.  His shot woke up the sleepy forest and startled me out of my boots.

My eyes traveled in the direction of the bullet.  To my amazement, I still saw nothing.  Dad injected another shell, put on the safety, and took off up the hill.  Totally confused by this point, I followed, my teenage body struggling to keep up with a middle-aged man on a mission.  We reached a thin shelf on the ridge and Dad began to search for something.  I asked him what the heck he was shooting at, and he stopped, looked straight at me, and asked, “Are you serious?”

Fresh deer tracks blanketed the shelf we were standing on.  Of particular interest was the five running tracks scampering up the mountain.  Once we followed and determined that his shot was a clean miss, Dad brought me back to the shelf and showed me one deer track in particular, that which was made by a huge deer.  Dad was stuttering a little as he tried to justify in words the size of the rack this deer was carrying.  “It was frigging huge,” he kept saying over and over again, flabbergasted that such a beast would find its way into his scope.  Further study of all the tracks, including the path of travel each deer took to get to this spot, suggested that this brute was mingling with four does.

I turned and looked back down the mountain to where we were standing at the time of Dad’s shot.  A thick undergrowth forced me to take several steps to see the trail we were previously on.  We could determine that Dad shot at this deer through whippets and a small stand of thin trees from approximately 150 yards away.  Most surprisingly, I never saw any of the five deer before or after he shot.  The degree of difficulty that he faced proved to be too much.

I learned two valuable lessons that day.  The first one was the aforementioned theory that just when you think nothing is happening, it’s about to go down.  The second lesson was that even on a white landscape, deer have the uncanny ability to blend into their surroundings.  These lessons (and countless others) have helped me become a more patient and successful deer hunter.  Thanks, Dad.   

Lost Ski Area


This placed bustled

A long time ago

For generations they came

Memories made by those who are memories themselves


It’s gone now

A little mountain’s ghost town


Brought on by the perils of progress

It’s demise summed up by its remnants choked into the wild forest all around

Evidence lies within these boundaries

Of its more prosperous place in history

The shattered ruins do nothing to offset what this place meant to someone

At one time

Old Haunts


There’s something about coming back to this place

Makes me young again

I can practically run up these old ridges

Lots of memories fostered here

Innumerable encounters


Dad’s old spot

Countless hours here

Seems like a lifetime since I’ve made an appearance

These old places have a tendency to dry up

Others heat up

Give little reason to leave

Places like this go by the wayside

Feels good to be back though

Even for one day

If nothing else than to relive a salient part of my past

This old haunt won’t see the last of me


I remember your old cape at 3 Sycamore

I dream about it often

It permeates my thoughts when things are too much

It’s where I fell in love with the radio

The hours I would spend listening while sprawled about

Elvis, Buddy Holly, the Platters; I still get the chills when I hear those songs

It’s where I became Jim Rice, hitting countless tennis balls into the street; You saw every home run through the big glass window

It’s the particular fragrance upon entering that provided indisputable evidence I was there; I can still smell it in my mind today

Food was always plentiful, much more than any boy in the third percentile would ever need

The ice cream that was always in high supply in the garage freezer; You called it the “Three Kinds”

You can still have the strawberry

It was here that I spent most weekends during my formidable youth; from ages seven to about thirteen

Before sports, hanging with the guys, and, later on, girls, took me away

At the time I had not one inclination how incredibly fortunate I was or how much I would long to go back to those precious few moments

Freeze frame for innocent youth time does not

Life can be incredibly cruel that way

I don’t get down that way much anymore; when I do, I take a quick detour to 3 Sycamore and allow myself to be that kid once again

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