Ol’ Blue Eyes and my punks just left with my Dad. They are headed to Happy, TX for a Memorial Dove Hunt in honor of our good friend, Paul Duree, that we suddenly lost a few months ago. Paul was my dad’s best friend. They had such a close friendship, one that I never had ever seen my dad have with anyone else. Both of them were Vietnam Vets, they both love to tinker and make stuff, they both loved to trapshoot, and they are both avid hunters.
Paul was like a second grandfather to my punks. He hunted with them from their very first day and he would come out to the gun club to help them and coach them at their trapshooting.
Picture from Matthew’s first duck hunt. Dad, My Oldest Punk & Paul
Paul was alittle bit of everything. Every Christmas since my punks were in their cribs, Paul would dress up as Santa and about 5 in the morning he would come jingling in my front door saying “Ho! Ho! Ho!” He’d wake them up in their beds, sleepy and drowsy and would give them candy canes and tell them what good boys they were. Then he’d disappear before they were fully awake, and they were left with the awe that Santa had just visited them.
Dove season came in September 1st. No one has said it out loud that I’ve heard, but my dad, my punks, Ol’ Blue Eyes… they all have an emptiness, a soberness. They are going through the motions, but we all miss Paul so very much. It seems weird not having him here.
Paul spent his life saving others. In Vietnam, he was a helicopter pilot. (Gosh I hope I get this all right) Dad says he was a part of Custer’s Calvary. Paul’s job was to rescue those under fire, hence the saying “The Calvary’s here!”
After Paul served 20 years in the military, he worked for Bell Helicopter for a time, but soon found himself as a Lifestar helicopter pilot for our local hospital. Again, Paul was in the mission field of saving lives.
Rare are those who spend most their entire lives saving others. I wish we could’ve saved you Paul. You were one of a kind. I know life is about the living and we have to carry on. I guess that what has got me is that there are some people in this world who just have a light about them. They share that light with others and when we’re around them, we feel good and we want to be around them more. Paul was that way. He had that light and I’m thankful that he shared that with my punks, Ol’ Blue Eyes, and my dad.
Taken just last year. See Paul in the back with his retrievers Buck & Lucy.
This picture chokes me up. It’s the last picture I have of Paul hunting with my punks. It’s like he’s walking away saying, “I’ll see y’all soon!” You will see us soon Paul. We’ll see you on the other side one day soon, but gosh we miss the heck out of you in the meantime. RIP Paul Duree.