Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘My Family’ Category

Ruth “Smail” Miller

The years have flown away at a quick pace.  My mother, Ruth “Smail” Miller turned ninety years old on December 6th.  She was born on December 6, 1929 to my grandparents,: James Edward Yount and Mary Elizabeth Leightley. She was the third of a family of five children.

My mother was born on a farm. grandad always had cattle. Chickens weren’t uncommon either as chicken dinners were common as I grew up. Roast beef was, also, common.

My mother married, Allen Kenneth Smail on November 14th, 1953. I came along in 1955 and my sister, Ruthie in 1968. Another sister died in 1962. Her name was Glenna Mae.

Mom was always completely devoted to her family. She still is!

Bob Miller

My father died on June 2oth, 1999. That day was Father’s Day. Mom remarried in 2009 to Robert Lee Miller. He has been very good to the family and we certainly appreciate his presence. Currently, Bob is fighting a very aggressive cancer. We spent three days at the hospital this past week in regard to his condition and a surgery adding more quality of life.

On my mother’s birthday we celebrated in a simple manner with cake and ice cream and pizza at her home.

I know reality , but I am hoping for another ten years or more of birthdays for mom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Ruthi and mom

 

 

Not sure what this is???

 

 

Read Full Post »

From A Proud Son

Allen K. Smail -Uniform

Allen Kenneth Smail (June 4, 1923 to June 20, 1999)

My dad was in a car setting at a gasoline pump at what was then Reedy’s Store just east of the Cherry Run intersection. He heard that the Japanese had attacked Pearl harbor. In 1942 he was off to basic training and England. He was D-Day 13 if I remember correctly.  he would be in France, Belgium, Bavaria, and finally Germany. He returned to Kittanning in the fall of 1945 after riding a train out of Pittsburgh. He began the long walk home to Cherry Run, probably around eleven miles. However, by chance a family from nearby his home would pick him up.

My father took care of his mother for a long time as his father had asthma and was having a rough time. (He died in 1950 at 65 years of age.) He worked his entire life at the Schenley Distillery near Leechburg, Pennsylvania.

Earlier this year I came to an important decision. I believe it was time to donate my father’s World War 2 uniform and other things I had in possession from his time in Europe. This was a difficult action on my part, but I deemed it for the best. I have no children or grandchildren and I feared this precious, to me, uniform would simply be tossed out after my time.

Currently, the uniform is hanging within the Armstrong County Historical and genealogical Society Museum in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. I supplied a box of much paraphernalia. This box had documents and medals and books of his time in the European theater of the war. One such book with a map of Europe found pencil marks showing my father’s travels within the continent. All of such items are historical and deserve to be on display. I, also, donated a German 8mm Mauser action rifle that my dad had managed to send home.

I am so very proud of my father and his role in the Great War. This is my humble attempt on my part to honor him.

My father’s 1941 valedictorian speech from Elderton High School

 

Read Full Post »

Autumn Time Alone

Cowanshannock Creek

The family spent the last two days at the hospital talking with various doctors. Both days talked of my step-father’s cancer (Bob Miller) issues and what will, most likely, be the imminent future for him. We were told the cancer is very aggressive and moving fast. No cure is possible. Bob’s life expectancy is in months. This was not the news we had hoped for, but I expected that to be the case. I have tried to remain busy to not dwell on things as often.

  Lots of rain is expected later this evening. My original plans were to fish the Allegheny River. I set the minnow trap at six in the morning and at seven thirty I was dismayed to see the majority of those minnows to be  within the five and six inch range. I was planning on light tackle and catching some bass and catfish. I dumped the minnows back into the creek and pondered on purchasing some locally. I walked past a deck I have been building and decided to forfeit the fishing and go and get wood to complete the final landing of the deck which I did.

Prior to eleven o’clock I checked the radar and elected to hike along Cowanshannock Creek to see the beauty of the autumn foliage. I walked, where ever I could , along the creek’s edge snapping photos everywhere. This waterways has many boulders and hemlocks and rhododendrons. Add beech and maple and the contrast was breathtaking. I was forced to gather a stck as a third leg for the many rocks where slippery for this old man with painful knees.

The several hours walking along helped clear my mind for a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Ken Crummett helping me hold a gobbler.

The friendship between Ken Crummett and myself is a story of interest. Many years ago I had a painting used on the cover of TURKEY CALL magazine. (TURKEY CALL is the magazine presented by the National Wild Turley Federation bases out of Edgefield, South Carolina.) With this cover I had an ad within the pages offering the painting as a print. The painting is, “SPRINGTIME MAJESTY.”

Sometime after the ad came out I received a phone call from a man from Crummett Mountain, West Virginia.  His family had lived on the mountain even before the Civil War. Ken had located me through a mutual friend from Arkansas, His name was “Wingbone” Cryer. Wingbone was in the mid-eighties at this time.  he looked me up and had stopped here in Pennsylvania after hunting gobblers in New York. He met with Ken Crummett while traveling back home giving Ken my phone number. Ken ordered a print.

This exchange occurred in the early 1990 time frame. Ken and I talked those many years periodically. In fact the calls were common as to every month or so.

  In recent years Ken and another turkey hunting friend named Galen Braddy from North Carolina would get together for a few days to pursue gobblers locally in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. Another mutual friend Kip Feroce graciously allowed us to spend time at his camp.

Ken, also, in recent years had two strokes. the second one interfered with his speech some. He lost his ability to walk well, too. With that in mind, Kip would set up a ground blind near fields  within sight of his camp. Last year I helped ken to the blind and sat with him until light. I asked him if he cared if I ventured around the back side of the round top where we were set up. Of course, ken told me to definitely go. I was to circle around and check on him from time to time.

I heard a gobbler on the roost directly behind the ground blind. The turkey went off before I could get set up. I returned to check on ken and would sneak back a little later on. I called and received some far off gobbling. I worked the side of the steep hill following the gobbler.  Finally I got above him and bagged the tom.

I went back to the ground blind and told the story to Ken. he was so delighted on my success. We sat I the blind for a time talking and laughing. Ken became tired and we walked back to the camp. he said he wasn’t going out anymore this morning so we enjoyed quality time waiting for Kip and Galen’s return.

Galen, Kip, Ken and myself

Ken and I talked often since that last hunt together. I called him just last week and gave him a rough time. I enjoyed hearing his life and that West Virginia drawl. I am going to miss talking with my friend.

Read Full Post »

Photo A

Today, I hunted for five hours. We discussed and everyone encouraged me to go to the deer woods. I still felt somewhat guilty. However, my step-father, Bob Miller is stable currently since the tree-falling incident on December 3. Bob is currently taking meds to help with his pain issues. His ankle is in a plastic cast and wrapped tight in elastic bandages. His left side is badly bruised. Next week the current plans are to x-ray and decide is surgery is to happen.

The other issue that has yet to be decided upon deals with his back fractures. One doctor even went as far as to say his back is broken. The debate as to how to handle these fractures is, also, being debated. Bob is, however, doing some physical therapy exercises.

Photo A shows the Poplar tree. The tree was dead and I walked off the length and the broken top at around sixty feet in length. Notice the snow-covered log with the text printed. You can see the root ball that stopped the tree from crushing Bob. His head was against the snow-covered log and his legs were stretched out beyond the Poplar tree.

Photo B

 

Photo B shows the Polar tree stopped within the root ball. My rifle is placed to show the size of the logs.  Imagine a body under that Poplar tree. There was a gap of about three or four inches between the underside of the Poplar tree and Bob’s lower chest and abdomen area. His legs were extended towards my rifle’s stock.

I did hunt some today and had a great time, although I didn’t fire a shot. I saw fifteen deer and a turkey.

Doe in posted property.

 

Cherry Run

 

Read Full Post »

BAD DAY!

 

The day started off in a great way. I was in the hunter mode and told my wife I was going to bring home a deer today to fill the fodders for winter is coming. I met my step father, Bob and told him I was going to hunt along a bottom area and would be back on top later.

Around nine o’clock I met up with Bob and we planned a drive. Bob has been successful at this spot a couple of times in past hunts.

I circled a field and spotted a small buck and two does. the two does dropped over a ridgeline heading towards where Bob was to be. No shots! I didn’t think anything of that fact for deer do not always present a perfect shot.

I continued out a ridge and dropped over heading towards Bob. The cell phone rang and I heard weak words…Larry, I need help. A tree fell on me. I was not far and hurried through the woods. At first I couldn’t see anything until I spotted orange. Bob was holding his arm into the air.

I hollered and ran to him. I quickly assessed him and circled below the tree and immediately saw his foot wasn’t facing the right way. I called 911. My next step was to reassure him and headed off in a run up over the hill and across a field to the landowner’s home. I inquired about a gate at the field where a grassy-farming road was located. She said it wasn’t locked. I ran up hill to the gate just as the first ambulance arrived. Issues with mud became real.

Two EMT people and I began hurrying down the road along the field before a Humvee-style vehicle followed behind. Others followed. Chainsaws were out trying to clear tree debris along a gas-well lane near to where Bob was waiting.

The landowner’s grandson arrived with his 4-wheel drive pick up and drove down to the gas well.

The workers worked to clear some vines and limbs around Bob and checking his vitals. He was in much pain. Eventually a stabilizing plastic board was placed under him and his leg was straightened and splinted. They didn’t cut the big tree that had fallen for fear it might collapse onto Bob. He was slid out from under the tree.

We carried him on in a basket onto the pick up bed. The mud caused issues and the Humvee-style vehicle had to back down and chain the truck out. I remember saying keep it steady for that vehicle was spinning and swaying as well, but we made it to the field.

Bob was taken to a local hospital where they put him under and straightened the ankle. He, also, had great pains in his right chest and stomach area. Bruising was visible. He is scheduled for surgery to repair fractures in the ankle area.

UPDATE: AS OF TODAY: DECEMBER 4 WE HAVE LEARNED OF FRACTURES IN SPINAL BONES, BUT NOT AT AREAS OF THE SPINAL CORD.

THE INCIDENT MIRACLES:

The tree that fell was around forty or more feet and up to twelve or so inches in diameter. It was either a poplar or aspen tree. The tree uprooted and fell hitting Bob at his shoulder’s edge knocking him backwards and down. The tree, apparently, slid along his chest and abdomen area. An inch or so would have been a direct hit crushing his shoulder and, quit likely, his head killing him instantly.

Interestingly, another tree had fallen in the past for it was moss-covered. This tree’s root ball was immediately on Bob’s right. The falling tree landed on that root ball stopping it from completing the fall to ground level. This allowed for a several inch gap between Bob’s body and the underside of the tree. If that root ball hadn’t had been there to stop the falling tree this trunk would fallen across Bob’s chest and abdomen crushing him.

I told Bob while the people were working on him, “Bob, you may not realize it now, but you are a very lucky man.”

Yes, it was a bad day!

Read Full Post »

This day turned out much better than a recent Saturday morning hike.  That hike was one where I was walking about an hour. I could hear either the rustling of leaves due to an oncoming breeze or the approaching onslaught of rain. The second option was the result and I knew it.

 

Black-Throated Blue Warbler

I closed in tight under some hemlock trees. Fifteen minutes later the rain was soaking me. I leaned tight against an oak and did not improve the   drenching. I made an executive decision and pranced off towards the jeep. I was drenched by the time I gained entrance into the jeep. I turned the heater on with the fan on full. Needless to say the flintlock shooting plans with my step-father, Bob were to be cancelled.

This week we planned the shoot again. The plans were similar for I was going to hike early and meet at the Cherry Run Gun, Rod and Reel Club to shoot some. Originally I wasn’t going to shoot for an ongoing eye issue I have been having. However, I gathered my flinter named, Old Jacob and decided I was shoot a few rounds.

Those of you who have been following my posts may remember of serious focusing issues while hunting deer last year. This past summer I talked with specialists concerning Lasik surgery. I was disappointed to learn I was not a candidate for the operation. I recently visited my eye doctor and have new glasses to be arriving this week…at least I am hoping. I am getting a special anti-reflective lens this time to help, hopefully, with my low-light seeing.

I enjoyed the morning time to reflect on my life and remember about my Uncle Carl Smail. I usually think about him as the hunting season comes along. He died in 1976 at 48 years of age while hunting waterfowl at Keystone Dam in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. I arrived at the dam to see the fireman bringing him out of the woods. A very bad time for me!

 

Bob with his Thompson-Center Flintlock

I was blessed to see several deer and about six turkeys on this jaunt.

I arrived to see Bob waiting. The shooting began. I need to say my shots would have all been fatal on a deer, but each shot took twenty to thirty

Cherry Run

seconds of careful sighting. The front sight and the rear sight are blurry and seeing the front sights position in regard to the rear sight is very difficult. A friend had me almost convinced to place peep sights on my flintlocks, but I have yet to make such a move. My flintlocks are custom-made firearms and are historically accurate. I can’t bear putting the sight on…yet!

 

 

 

Huge Sycamore

 

Skunk cabbage for next spring

 

 

Muskrat droppings

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »