Call Making: Therapy for life

The last month or so I have interviewed various call makers and hunters, covering how or why they got into turning calls. It has been entertaining and fun to learn the back ground of so many accomplished and great call makers. It has caused me to reflect on my own call making journey. Although I'm not accomplished or well known maker with a shelf full of titles, call making has become a part of my life and it all started with trying to cope with my life.

In late December of 2012 a few days after Christmas, I planned the next mornings duck hunt with a few friends. The last call I made was to my best friend Patrick. It's almost laughable now as I tried to sell him on calling into work to come hunting and he chose to do the responsible thing which for him rare in his life filled with sportbikes, fast cars, tattoos and switching jobs often. He missed out, the hunt was amazing and the best one of the season to that point. During the hunt I realized I had zero cell phone coverage and once service was restored my phone alerts went off as many of ours do. A message from Patrick read "hey man, what are you doing tonight?" I responded I wasn't sure and would contact him later that night after getting home and cleaned up.

So I made the drive home and got some food before going to take a shower. While eating my phone rang and I saw Patrick's mom on the caller I.D. which was not out of the norm. "Kris, you should head to the hospital we are on our way back from Silver Dollar City and Patrick was in an accident." Once again not super out of the norm as he had just been in a fender bender that morning and in our circle of friends someone was always banged up through sports, hunting, motorcycle riding. I called my wife, let her know where I was going and made my way to the hospital. Upon arrival I was met by Patrick's father Tony who let me know Patrick had been hit by a semi in his work van and was air lifted to the hospital dying twice on the flight. The words struck like a load of bricks hitting me in the chest. Three weeks in the ICU and countless surgeries later my brother was gone.

Looking for answers as many in grief do and matching up timelines we discovered my text message after hunting that day arrived within a few minutes of his accident. Now no one ever blamed me nor was it ever confirmed, I knew my brother and knew he texted and drove everyday. It was a burden rational or not I carried and carry to this day. For quite a while I struggled trying to find ways to cope not really finding any time to do so with two new babies within 18 months of the accident and a wife with postpartum depression. So knowing my love for duck hunting and one of the few places I felt happy with the world I found a used lathe on craigslist and set off on my own version of therapy.

Many late nights and piles of shavings have been made while I recall memories and connect to my brother in the only way I have left. The hum of the lathe and dust in the air was what I needed to finally come to terms with the situation with no one else talking to me about my feelings, no babies crying, no bills pilling up in the mailbox. Through call making I found peace. My brother had "UNSTABLE" tattooed on his throttle hand and I'm proud to send out calls with the Unstable name on them. It's my way of keeping him with me every time I'm in the woods.

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