By Richard Whiteside
One night a long time ago I lost an entire deer camp due to my negligence and a campfire.
It was a very cold night, two nights before the opener of Missouri gun season for deer.
I was bowhunting on a tributary to the Current River and was 3 miles upriver from my put-in with my camp tucked in the mouth of an overlooked draw.
Exhausted from a long beautiful day in the stand I was asleep in my cozy sleeping bag before 7. I was about to learn a very valuable and costly lesson.
I had failed to take the thick leaf litter away from the fire.
By the time the small propane bottle that was sitting next to my backpack and supply box had exploded, nearly my entire camp had burned up around me.
Not only did all my clothes burn up but my paddles burned up, also. I was literally up the creek without a paddle or clothes on a cold winter night.
If I had written this story 25 years ago the point of the story would have been that I lost my camp due to fire.
Today, as I write this story, I can only think of the power of one ember. One ember of coal placed in the right spot. A raging fire that started with one ember in the right conditions.
Who is responsible for that ember in our lives when the conditions are right. Who are the men and women in our lives that you would consider a coal kicker?
When I was in high school we had a coach that had an old-fashioned way of setting your britches on fire. He had the ability to walk into the dugout, down by two in the last inning, and convince us to rally back and win the game.
His passion and ability to fire us up and into action won us several games we would not have won otherwise or without.
Sometimes motivation came in the form of laps around the field and line drills and lots of them. At times we hated our motivator but then again, it was hard to argue with the results.
We came to eventually realize that his motivation tactics was for our own good.