By Otha Barham / outdoors editor
The Meridian Star
Once in a while you hear of a person who seemed to know from the beginning how to live this life just right. Larry Baesler left us very early, and although much younger than I, was a hero to me because of who he was and how he lived. I think of him often. My reaching out to him now, some five years after his death, provides me with counsel that at least urges me toward living my life as I should, and at best sees me replicate some of his traits.
I could never take on that perennial infectious smile; my face won't communicate like his even if I had his pure and honorable thoughts that generated the smile.
Times when we get bitter cold weather that some complain about and I have to keep heavy gloves and jackets protecting me, I think of Larry and his family in the days we knew them well and visited each other. They lived on a farm in rural North Dakota . The only trees on that rolling prairie land were planted in shelter belts and around homesteads. Otherwise the winter winds had nothing to stop their freezing blasts from nearby Canada.
We need a written biography of Larry, but here let me recall for myself some of the outdoor times we had together. When we first met, they had moved from North Dakota to south-central Texas, now some 35 years ago, to work for my agency and improve their financial condition; farming had not been fruitful.
Larry was already a bow hunter, long before the modern day bow and arrow revolution started. An abandoned shack stood rotting down in a field where he bowhunted javelina. Some yard chickens had been left behind when the shack had been deserted. The birds had become quite wild and would fly up into trees when Larry approached. He figured that a wild chicken would taste as good on their table as a grocery store chicken. So he harvested one with his bow each time Marcy was ready to cook chicken.
Marcy was the perfect wife for Larry. Theirs was a match made in Heaven, as they say. This tiny lady held the same high ideals as her husband and to know her was to immediately fall in love. Back home she joined all their relatives on family pheasant hunts and then cooked the birds in a white sauce that rivaled any wild dish.
Larry got me into bow hunting back then in the recurve days. We were different. He took game and I did a lot of missing. He took rabbits, that in his Scandinavian/German accent he called "bunnies," with arrows blunted with hard rubber balls in place of arrowheads.
His love of the outdoors and articulate story telling prompted me to urge him to write his stories. He later would become a prolific writer which brought welcome income to the family.
Soon after the birth of a son, they realized the North Dakota plains was where their hearts lived and they went back to the farm. Larry trapped furs and they raised the son and two girls. My son and I and a minister friend made visits to their place to pheasant hunt. We stayed in constant touch. Larry soon became employed by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Yes, besides deer and carp fish he bagged elk with his bow.
His last days were too few and I don't like to recall them. Cancer got him relatively quickly. It goes without saying I suppose, but Heaven must have a lot of fine people. I hope there are some who match up to Larry Baesler.