DOS AND DON’TS
There are certain times when one must not show his talents or abilities. I learned this the hard way, as so many of us do. This is a true story of my lack of social knowledge.
I had just moved on to my friend, Al Torrieri’s ranch in Northern California. Al was one of the Vagabonds. Al had invited my wife and I to a wedding, and when I saw how beautiful it was, I offered to come up from San Francisco to help with the grape harvest. He offered me a cabin to stay in, so my wife and I moved in.
We had only been there about a week when Al’s brother, Nick, came up with some friends from the Bay area. They were businessmen, who liked wine, and came up with Nick for some ranch style living. After dinner, Nick suggested we go on a night hunt for deer. The deer would dig under the fence, go into the vineyard, and eat the grapes. This was how they got the deer out of the vineyard, using a truck with a spotlight and a rifle.
Since I was a newbie on the ranch, I was taken along to observe. We spotted a number of deer, using the spotlight, and many shots were fired, but none of the shooters brought down any deer. We were returning to the ranch and they gave me the rifle, in case we spotted a deer and I could take a shot. What did this guy know?
I can no longer go hunting for animals, but at that time, I was still a hunter. In my home area in Pennsylvania, I had done quite a bit of hunting, and while in the army I made marksman. So I took the rifle and watched as they swept the spotlight over an area, just outside of the fence. We were still inside of the fence, headed towards the exit and the road that led down the mountain to the ranch.
Suddenly, I saw movement on the other side of the outside road, leading down to the ranch. The spot light brought up three deer. I fired off three shots; bang, bang, bang. The businessmen laughed, and one of them said, “You might have nicked one of them.” I replied, “I got all three of them.” Everybody laughed.
When we exited the vineyard and got to the area where I shot at the deer, Nick stopped the truck. We all climbed out of the back and they walked over to the spot. I heard them find the first deer, as I was looking for the second one. They told me I wouldn’t find any more. When I found the second one, a little further in the woods, they couldn’t believe it, claimed that was some lucky shooting. They dragged the two deer onto the back of the truck.
I was still looking for the third one. They called me to go, said I wouldn’t find any more. I continued into the wooded area and found the third deer. It had run, before finally dying. So I dragged it back to the truck. No one said a word. Nor, did they talk to me when we got back to the ranch. They all liked venison, and took some of the meat home with them, but not a comment to me.
I had insulted them.