Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I should call this  re-tread because I like busting Sandy's balls and calling him a re-tread would be the type of reply I would give to one of his obnoxious greetings. When you drive down the long driveway to the hunting club Sandy is often out by the fire partaking of a well made cigar. When you climb from the truck,he never greets you with "Hey ,great to see you." He will come at you about some real or perceived screw up from weeks or months ago. It would be annoying if you did not like the guy so much and one knows it is probably some conditioned behaviour from his time with the Marines....and because eventually he gives you a strong hand-shake or squeeze of the shoulder an does exclaim that he is happy to see you.
Sandy is a hunting buddy and a stalwart friend. This is a Marine with combat in 'Nam under his belt. He was wounded in a fire-fight, recovered and then became a door gunner on a helicopter....think the maniac in the scene from "Full Metal Jacket."After his service he became a sniper for the N.J. State Police. Retired,he now spends his time in the fields and duck blinds and goose pits chasing trophy deer and locked up mallards and Canadas and on the water hooking stripers....or maybe striping hookers...but that is another story. He loves my dogs and always makes a special effort to have time talking with my son when I have him down at the hunting club....an effort that has always been appreciated .
Sandy enjoys a fine cigar, drinks gallons of suspect coffee and tell great stories of his time in the Corps and hunts he has enjoyed. The only time I have ever seen him without a cap of some sort was at a friend's funeral. He will fix nearly anything that goes wrong with your shotgun and can speak intelligently on all topics of weapons and ammo.He  will  volunteer to sharpen your chainsaw,connect a new stove in the club kitchen or take the time to fix the Club ATV and Mule when no one else can .He can operate most kinds of heavy machinery from a back-hoe to an 18 wheeler. One of the guys has a couple of reportedly great bird dogs...and Sandy insists they are only great because he trained them. He will break my balls while I am cooking dinner for the guys at the Club, but then offer a sincere thanks for the great meal and be first in on K.P.
Sandy was one of the guests at that special trap shoot last weekend at that special gun club. I re-posted this picture because after looking at it again it is one helluva photograph...if I do say so myself. As I said to Tin-Man from "TheTrad..."you are a clean up hitter of a photographer and I mostly swing and miss....but with this photo I hit a triple off the wall."
 Sandy was assembling his trap gun for the shoot and the light and the cigar smoke, the way he always pushes down the crown of his cap and the position of his capable hands on the shotgun make the photo what it is and worthy of repetition. As for repetition...they'll never make another one like this busted Gunnery Sergeant.


Pillar Of Autumn said...

Sounds like a stand-up guy. The world could use a few more of his type right about now.

von Eulenburg said...

This might be your finest writing. Thank you.