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Happy Father’s Day

June 18th, 2017 Comments off
Wilmer Eugenia Sperry Brady and Young Roy 1960 or so

Wilmer, Eugenia and Sperry with young Brady, and Roy circa 1960.

Wilmer Brady Hunt, my dad, was an avid sportsman, as was his father Wilmer Sperry Hunt. Dad told me that in 1910 or so, Grandpa shot as many ducks as he could carry home, somewhere in what is now the Montrose section of Houston. In the early 1900’s Grandpa bought – or accepted as a legal fee – 2200 acres of dense forest near Danciger, Texas. Dad and Grandpa hunted there in the ’20s. My brother Grainger and Dad hunted there in the ’50s mostly. Dad and I were there in the ’60s after Grainger went off to university.

My most vivid memories of hunting with him were on days when we’d arise at 3:45 AM and drive through a dark, ocean of fog so thick you could see nothing beyond the hood of our car. Had we encountered a stalled vehicle or a cow, we would have died instantly, as would have anyone behind us. I was absolutely terrified. Dad whistled “Sweet Georgia Brown.” I must have been clutching the seat, for he occasionally patted my leg reassuringly.

The drive was about ninety minutes. We arrived in the dark. I opened the padlock on the gate by the light of the car. It was cold by Texas standards. Forty-five degrees or so, which seemed frigid to me then. We drove down a shell road that crunched beneath our tires to a narrow clearing in the forest. We were met by a group of men and women gathered in the flickering shadows around a campfire. These people were from the coastal area around Freeport and had a hunting lease with us.  An older man named Red seemed to be the leader.  His wife, I believe, was named Betty. Wonderful hosts, they fed us coffee, biscuits and pan-fried squirrel and venison – all delicious.

Dad and I never shot anything there. We were there to hunt deer only. We did shoot, clean and eat many a dove, duck and quail shot elsewhere though. At the time I thought we hunted because my dad was eager to do so. Years later, after my father passed, my mother told me he rarely wanted to go. When he was in his forties, he certainly did. But at sixty, not so much. Mom said she sometimes had to urge him to go. I know now, he took me so I could know what he had experienced with his father, who probably didn’t want to go in later life either – as I would not now.

My son Christopher Austin Sperry Hunt, and I didn’t hunt. I never really had a real passion for it. We did get our black belts together and saw hundreds of movies, shoulder-to-shoulder laughing in the dark. Now he has movie nights at home on Mondays with his two girls. He takes them to karate and dance classes, and for hikes to the woods, mountains and beaches. Someday he’ll feel too tired to go but will anyway because he loves them, and he’s their dad. And so the world turns.

Happy Fathers Day, everyone!
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