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                          SBBCH President's Corner
September 2018


“Loss of a legend”

As I sit to take pen to paper for this “President’s Corner”, I am awed in this great meadow before me. Edged by jagged mountains that surround meadow and me. This is what I love, this is where I belong. Life is good.
 
In July, I accompanied my wife Chris to her doctor’s appointment. While sitting in the waiting room, I spied an “Outdoor Life” magazine across the room, at one time a publication I subscribed to. The magazine has a lot of fine articles, but my only reason to have one was found on the last page. “Exit Laughing” written by Patrick F. McManus. When “Outdoor Life “cancelled McManus in April 2009, I no longer had a desire to re-new.
 
Now here I was in this waiting room seeing this magazine across this short span. So I went over and picked it up, not to peruse beginning to end, but instead I turn to the last page. An article written by Jim Zumbo, also a great outdoorsman and writer. Strangely enough it was an article written in remembrance of Patrick McManus. What were the odds after so many years.
 
I have a fairly good size collection, but not all two dozen, of outdoor humor by McManus, not to mention one called “Into the Twilight, Endlessly Grousing” I picked up at a book signing in 2007 that he also signed. Though short in time, it was wonderful to see and talk with him on his childhood adventures in northern Idaho.
 
McManus is the reason why I think and write as I do today. His stories of growing up in northern Idaho and running “wild” in the wild are not only humorous, but also seemed to be the way I ran as a kid. His adventures were my adventures.
 
My editor, my wife Chris, helps me formulate what I write for these “Corners”, thank you Chris, but sometimes she says what I write makes no sense. McManus and I know better. We may sound a little jumbled, but we write the way we think. Scary at times, but we know what we mean. It’ll get there.
 
McManus use to write about his kid’s RV, a one speed bicycle everywhere to all his adventures. I too had this RV. He would write about his childhood friends, Rancid Crabtree, Crazy Eddie Muldoon, a dog called Strange and his sister “The Troll”. I also had these friends. Tim the Bull, we called him that not for his large stature, but because he was like a bull in a China shop. A more clumsy kid you would never meet. Tim could cause an accident sitting in a chair doing nothing. Later he became an engineer at the Colorado School of Mines. Go figure.
 
There was also a Crazy Eddie, Chuck, and Pat not all with colorful titles, but the same attributes and zest for life. Besides a great passion for the outdoors, we also had this habit of seeing whether we could do something, instead of wondering if we really should.  OOPS. Not always good, but nobody got hurt…..bad.
 
I didn’t lose my father at a young age, as did McManus. In fact I had wonderful parents. Dad was the outdoorsman and every Friday my brother and I would have the old Rambler Station wagon packed and good to go, as soon as dad got home off came the tie and off to another adventure. It was at those times he was gone working that me and my friends were loose on the world to discover and find ourselves. Not always good, but never boring.
 
Adventures shared, and stories told, whether around a camp fire with friends of new and friends of old or just sitting here at this meadow. Pondering on adventures of past or wondering in what’s to come, here is a good place to be.
 
So if you wonder about the camp fire stories, they may be a little embellished, but still true. If you wonder why I act think and do as I do, pick up a Patrick McManus outdoor humor book, or you can borrow one of mine. All but one. If not, That’s OK too.

Bill Holt
See you at the next meeting.         
Be safe and have fun..


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