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Lost a brother, gained another during past year

by Minden Press-Herald

The year 2015 was a year marked with high points and dark valleys. On April 30, my brother, Tom, two years younger than me, lost his battle with a debilitating illness. We buried Tom in DeRidder two days later.

Tom and I grew up together with our boyhood years highlighted by time spent with our two first cousins, Doug and Sambo. We were the four boys of Harris Hill; Tom and me on one hill; Doug and Sambo within hollering distance on an adjoining hill.

We roamed the hills and creek bottoms together, catching mud cats down on Molido Creek, shooting squirrels in the woods around our homes; we were more like brothers than cousins. My heart hurt because there was a big hole left in what was an enchanted childhood for the four of us, and now there are three.

What I didn’t realize as I sat through Tom’s funeral service was that in a few weeks, I was about to receive the shock of my life. I was introduced to 85 year old Paul Clanton after learning through the magic of DNA administered through Ancestry.com that my dad was not only father to Tom and me but as a teenaged sailor on a weekend of shore leave in New York, spent time with a young lady and returned to his ship never realizing the lady had become pregnant with Paul.

In September, my wife, my sister, my daughters and I drove to Florida and met Paul and his daughter and one of his two sons for the first time. The resemblance of Paul and my dad, the mannerisms and quick wit that reminded me so much of dad was uncanny.

Tom’s death and the discovery of Paul represented the highs and lows of the year just ended. Other memorable events filled the days between January and December, although none are as riveting as my “lost a brother; found a brother” saga.

The year 2015 was an interesting as well as frustrating one weather-wise. The year started out cooler and wetter than normal and remained in this pattern through June. Records I keep of weather happenings reveal that the last measurable rain fell on July 5 with no more than a sprinkle here and there until October 23. Since that date, the rains have come regularly.

My records show that we had three sleet/snow events during 2015 with frozen precipitation falling and sticking around on February 23; February 25 and March 5.

In the meantime, my success in the woods during hunting seasons this year exceeded what I normally achieve. Because of Tom’s illness, I opted out of my Texas turkey hunt this year, a trip that has been very successful in the past for me. However, thanks to my partnership with hunting club member, Mike Brister, I was able to bring down a big 22 pound gobbler on our Jackson Parish hunting club.

I followed this up during deer season by taking a doe for the freezer on opening day and in late November, the antlers of a big 8 point buck I took are now hanging on my wall.
Sprinkled throughout the year were other noteworthy events, including my shock and disbelief when I was called to the podium at the Louisiana Outdoor Writer’s Association annual conference to receive the prestigious Arthur Van Pelt Award for lifetime achievement as a writer/broadcaster.

The script has not been written for the year 2016 and I eagerly anticipate what may cross my path in the next 12 months. However, there is little chance that the emotions I’ll have will come close to the ones I experienced when within a matter of a few months, I lost one brother and discovered another.

Glynn Harris Outdoor column is sponsored by D.C. Pawn in Minden

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