Throwing a Curveball

Sometimes you just cannot make this kind of stuff up...

There’s always a great deal of anticipation leading up to every hunting season, but never more than when there’s a big trip planned. I’ve been blessed to be able to go on some amazing adventures, but the best part is I always take a few of my best friends along. And as many of you know, most of the stories that come from these trips have very little to do with the hunt or the kill, but more often than not they’re about some of the craziness that happens along the way.

My buddies and I are still talking about the time the airline lost my brother’s luggage on a trip to South Texas. He had to go on an emergency Wal-Mart run to replace all of his hunting clothes and is now the proud owner of what we lovingly call the “Comfa-Boots.” They cost him only $9.99, and I’m not sure it was a good deal. And through the years we’ve always had minor mishaps during our hunts—or someone doing something stupid—but a couple of years ago we went on an elk hunting trip to New Mexico that was one for the ages. Yes, we took a couple of great bulls, but that’s the boring part of this story. It was myself, Glenn, Larry and let’s just call the fourth guy “Curveball” for his protection.

The upcoming trip was all we talked about the entire summer. What do we need to pack? Are you practicing with your bow? What broadheads are you shooting? Do you have your flights booked?

So, we meet at the airport and everyone is excited and glad that the day has finally arrived—when suddenly Curveball panics and said, “I forgot to book my stinkin’ ticket.” Now, in hindsight, leaving Curveball in Atlanta might have been our best move, but the story wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining. And as you might imagine, Curveball got a really “good” deal on his ticket that day.

We finally get to the ranch and decide to go shoot our bows to make sure they’re OK. So, as always, we begin a few friendly competitions—shooting at various yardages. Everyone’s getting pretty dialed in when we hear this God-awful noise. Everyone is just cringing at the sound and then we hear Curveball say, “I forgot to put a stinkin’ arrow on.” Somehow his bow survived the dry-fire, but now he’s really starting to take the heat. To his credit, he bounced back and pulled it back together for the majority of the hunt.

Then, on the last day, we were all preparing for the trip back when Curveball informs us that because he hadn’t booked his ticket until an hour before departure, his return flight is at 6 a.m. Ours was conveniently 4 hours after that, and we were 2 hours from the airport with only one vehicle. But we’re all big boys, so we just got up at 2 a.m. and started for the airport. We were about 30 minutes down the road when we heard, “I forgot my stinkin’ phone.” You’ve probably realized by now that when Curveball starts a sentence with “I forgot” there’s really no need to listen to the rest. It’s going to be bad.

So we head back, tired from chasing elk all week, tired from no sleep, frustrated that out of all the people in the world we picked Curveball as a friend. We get to the ranch and I jump out and run in to grab Curveball’s phone. Then, on the way back to the truck, I’m greeted with a good morning shower from the sprinkler system. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I do know you can’t repeat it within two blocks of a church. Now, the 2-hour drive has two laughing hyenas, one guy who has his tail tucked between his legs, and another who looks like he placed last in a wet T-shirt contest. And here we are 2 years later and not a week goes by when someone doesn’t mention the Curveball trip.

Those are the memories that last a lifetime.

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