Safari, Namibia 2016: Next Link In The Chain. Blog #8 Barry

by david on April 20, 2017

Barry was a dear, dear friend of mine. We met about 30 years ago when he joined me at my place of employment. I don’t really remember the circumstances of how we figured out the other enjoyed hunting and fishing, but once we did, we were constantly pursuing our passions. Barry was my dad’s age, 28 years my senior but that did not matter. My dad loved fishing but hunting, but not so much. Dad lived over two hours away, Barry 20 minutes. I still traveled to fish with my father, but, by default, Barry’s proximity allowed us more opportunity to hunt and fish together. In the summers we spent countless hours building deer stands, duck blinds, rifle ranges and back stops. We cleared shooting lanes and planted food crops. All of this was done in between fishing trips and gun shows Barry was one of the charter members of the annual pilgrimage to Ocracoke Island every fall for a fishing trip. I have no idea how many hours we spent on the beach hurling huge chunks of bait as far as we could, trying to catch whatever was biting.

Opening day of deer season was tentatively marked on next year’s calendar on the last day of the current year’s season. Barry truly loved to deer hunt. The only thing more important than deer hunting was the opening day of quail season. That date became even more important after I started my own private shooting preserve. By employing put-and-take hunting, we were allowed to hunt quail, chukar, and pheasant from October 1st to March 31st. This was great news for us but a constant source of friction between us and our wives. Matter of fact, the only thing we were better at than hunting and fishing was getting each other in trouble with our wives. In this matter we truly excelled.

Barry was diagnosed with diabetes in his mid to late 40’s and lived with it for over 35 years. It finally took his legs, and a lesser man would have let that be the end of his hunting and fishing. Not Barry.  We added 1×4’s to the legs of his walker so he could still get out on the beach and surf fish. Barry hunted birds from the back of his four wheeler. He even managed to become a fair shot on flushing quail from a sitting position. Hunting and fishing were a constant in Barry’s life, and I was privileged to be a part of that. Another constant in Barry’s life was his love for cigars. I probably saw him with a cigar in his mouth more often than not. It did not even have to be lit. If it went out and he could not relight it, he would chew it to death. He is the only person I ever knew that if he got up at night to answer the call of nature, he’d not go back to bed without stepping out to have at least part of a cigar.

Barry’s health and lack of mobility kept him from going to Africa with me. He dearly would have loved to go but never had the opportunity. Barry lost his battle with diabetes and its complications shortly after I got back from my last safari. I finally caught up from being gone and spent the afternoon with him showing him pictures and talking hunting and guns with him. I had no more than walked in the door at home when I got the call he had been taken to the hospital by ambulance. He was gone a few days later.

Tonight around the fire I would raise my glass and have one of his cigars.

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Mr. P on one of his last quail hunts.

Sundowners, photo by Phillip Smythe. Sundowners, photo by Phillip Smythe.

 

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