MERIDIAN — His Reputation
An important part of one’s life is what folks think of you while you are with them and after you have passed on. Around here we often say of an esteemed individual that he or she is “well thought of.” That was Ralph.
I think of Ralph Irby’s hunting accomplishments and how grateful he was for his experiences and how willing he was to share his stories. I think of his remarkable energy right up until he left us. Of course I think of the squirrel hunt we made together when he was well into his 80's. I also think of his generosity. I ate a spoonful of his tasty cane syrup on special occasions, savoring each drop from the bucket he gave me; sweet syrup from cane he raised himself and milled and cooked to perfection. He once gave me a huge watermelon from his patch that aggravated an old hernia when I loaded it.
One day Ralf made a turkey hunt, called in a gobbler and missed it because it was behind a little too much brush for his 12 gauge load to get through. He came home, stood his gun in the corner and by day's end he had died. We hunters hope we can go in that manner.
Ralph had been married to Miss Corene Mazingo for 65 years, 5 months and 13 days. She told me she wished it could have been longer. I too would have cherished more time with this man who lived wonderful times afield, some of which we will never see again.