About mid September ~1948 a tragedy struck me, at the Downriver Golf Course in Spokane, Washington. The two guys I expected to meet and caddy for that morning didn’t show up. It is so long ago I don’t remember their names, but at the time I carried their clubs every weekend all summer long, and they even came to my house to pick me up and take me on trips to other golf courses in the Spokane region. I doubt I would recognize them now, if they were still alive – it has been so very long ago. I was just a kid, and they were old men to me, but I think they were probably about thirty. In any case I sat there for our appointed hour, and they didn’t show up.
After a while, I went in and asked the guys behind the counter in the club house if they left a message for me. Oh, Charles, didn’t you hear? They got killed when deer hunting. Both of them!
I didn’t know what to do. I was supposed to caddy for these guys, and now they weren’t coming. I walked around the clubhouse for a little bit, then around the practice putting greens and out to the 1st tee and then the 9th tee and everyone was just doing their usual things. No one seemed to be upset, no one seemed to miss my friends. I didn’t know what to do, or how to feel, or what I was feeling. And I was all alone that Saturday morning, when I was supposed to be with my golf patrons.
Later the horrible details were revealed about the accident, because the guy whose bag I usually carried had survived to tell the tale. They were sitting around their campfire out in the woods, doing the usual camping things and generally having a good time when he bumped something which fell over, which in turn hit his rifle which was propped against a tree, which when it fell over somehow fired the bullet.
As luck would have it, ill luck in this case, the bullet intended eventually for a deer, instead accidentally went through my friend who bumped the gun over in the first place. A bullet of this type expands greatly while passing through flesh, causing tremendous physical damage, but when the fragments of it exited this first man it entered his partner who was sitting right beside him and killed him instantly.
This story was related by my friend to others, after he somehow managed to get back to civilization, but he died a few hours later.
In my old age, I am comfortable with life, including its tragedies, but we must remember that dangerous things really are dangerous.