Outdoor incidents not at all uncommon

By Grant McGee: Local columnist

It’s been almost two weeks since the news broke that Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his hunting buddy, Harry Whittington, while they were traipsing through the brush and mesquite of south Texas looking for quail. Stuff can happen when you go into the great outdoors. I think most folks around the High Plains and rural America understand this.

The event reminds me of famous outdoor incidents I have known, like that fishing accident when I was in the ninth grade. Me and my pals John and Mike were pursuing trout and pike. John reared his fishing rod back for a cast and let it fly. But instead of landing in the river, the lure flew off to the side and landed in the back of Mike’s head, six of its nine hooks imbedded deep in his scalp.

That trip back to town was the fastest I’d ever seen my mom drive. Mike sat in the back seat with John. We were laughing and talking, singing along with the radio. It’s kind of surreal seeing someone acting normal with a fishing lure jingling from the back of his head.

Then there was that accident while I was camping with my rogue Boy Scout troop. Actually there were several accidents in the years I was part of that troop.

You should know the troop I was in was in another state and was not representative of what goes on in most Boy Scout troops across the country. It was run by men who wanted to get away from their wives for the weekend under the guise of taking a bunch of kids camping.

One night after all the scouts were asleep in their tents, Scoutmaster Ray and his pals decided to sit around the campfire drinking copious amounts of Canadian Club, the official whiskey of Troop 62. At one point Scoutmaster Ray stood up, lost his footing and fell into the campfire. It wasn’t the fire that got him, it was the spout of a coffee pot. It pierced him deeply between the ribs.

There were weird noises coming from Scoutmaster Ray’s chest. It was obvious he needed medical attention. Unfortunately, assistant scoutmasters Henry and Bob were too drunk to drive him to town, so they decided to wake me up because I had a learner’s permit.

A sense of urgency was in the air, but I was more excited about driving Scoutmaster Ray’s ’56 T-bird, the one he had lovingly hand painted with sunshine-yellow house paint. I was told to take him to the hospital, but when we headed down the road he started bellowing at me to take him to his house. I figured he knew what he was talking about so that’s where I headed. I left him in the care of Mrs. Scoutmaster Ray.

She ended up taking him to the hospital.

There were other things that happened in the Great Outdoors over the years; the shotgun blast that blew a hole in the Boy Scout troop’s camping lodge, the time a friend came close to blowing my ear off while hunting. But those are stories for some other time.

Now back to that shooting incident involving the vice president. You know what the scariest part of the whole thing is? The guy he accidentally shot is a lawyer.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: blisscreek@plateautel.net