Bryan’s first attempt at firing a handgun.

Last weekend Bryan and his dad went up to the wilds of Lycoming County to the Otter Run Hunting and Fishing Club cabin which we’ve been traveling to for around twenty years or more, invited by our family who are members. He hasn’t been able to go for several years and was eager to make the trip. I was unable to go due to a last minute illness, so this account is secondhand.

There were friends and family whom Bryan hasn’t seen for years and some whom he hasn’t seen for over a year. Covid was responsible for some of it.

Some of the friends reminisced about the time Bryan was up at the cabin and disappeared for about two hours. We thought he was in the house, when, instead, he had taken off down the two mile lane that leads to the paved entrance road without telling anybody. Frantic, we set up a search party and traversed up one mountainous trail and then another to no avail. Calling his name until we were hoarse, family and friends scoured the woods, the streams and the forest paths. No Bryan. I went straight down the main road and finally saw the little guy, trudging resolutely, head down, arms pumping, coming towards me.

I was so relieved I couldn’t yell at him. I was just glad he was safe. That pack of howling coyotes I’d heard the night before and the thought of prowling bears had me mighty spooked. “Why did you take off like that without telling anybody, Bud? We were worried sick” I asked. “I had to practice my Special Olympics race walking. Our meet’s next weekend.” he replied matter-of-factly. Well, of course!

This past weekend, one of the members of the club laughed at that memory of the two-mile walk that shows the dichotomy which is Bryan. He also remembered his VERY long grace, said before a company of twenty-some starving people politely waiting for him to finish so they could eat. They were impressed with his obvious faith and love of God, but then Bryan throws in at the end of the prayer, “And may Beth break her leg at the meet so I can win.” (Beth was the fastest athlete on the Special Olympics team.) I don’t remember that (maybe I blocked it out) but friend Joe howled about it this weekend.

He greeted “Aunt Ann” whom he hasn’t seen in quite a while with a huge hug and sobbing tears. Her husband (Bryan’s uncle’s brother) and son are buried on the mountain at Otter Run and it is a special, sacred place for memories, too. Bryan was there for Bob’s memorial service on that mountain top. He knows where Jonathan is buried, too. The place is throbbing with memories.

Another friend he hadn’t seen for years he regarded with curiosity and a long stare. “Why is your eye like that?”, he asked without any meanness. “I was born this way, Bryan.” was Aidan’s response. He went on to further explain why he looked the way he did. (His one eye is partially closed and cannot be surgically fixed). Bless him for not jumping down Bryan’s throat or ignoring the question. His response was mature and well-thought out. I would’ve probably had a cow had I been there!

Bryan’s dad brought along his grandfather’s vintage Winchester 22 for Bryan to shoot targets with (see below). The gun is over one hundred years old. He hit the targets about half of the time to the cheers and clapping of the bystanders. Then Bryan began to eye the semi-automatic handgun brought by others to the range. He asked his dad if he could try that gun. The owners, Joe Jr. and Joe Sr. agreed. They patiently showed him how to shoot and stood close by in case they were needed. Bryan got off two shots pretty cleanly. But then, he must have discovered the nature of the weapon – the recoil had him laying on the trigger, shooting repeatedly into the sky. They quickly reached around to stop him before something happened. Whew!

The trip was also memorable for the loss of power the majority of the weekend. Fortunately, the generator gave the cabin the lights it needed, but heating and some of the cooking had to be done all on the woodstove. Bryan found his little corner at a table by a light that worked and did the writing that he does nonstop everyday. A comfortable ending to a weekend of rekindling relationships and forging new ones. Where everyone there loves and knows Bryan for who he is and accepts him anyway!

With Great Grandfather’s (Pap-Pap’s) century-old 22.

One thought on “Cabin

  1. Bryan’s had such a rich blend of adventures in his life – and a family that loves him and includes him in wonderful experiences. He is so blessed – as are the friends and family members who make all this possible for him.


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