There’s nothing like friendship

Apr. 12, 2014 @ 05:03 PM

Real friends are better than gold, even if they do have their flaws. In 1976, one of my best friends and a shooting buddy, David Motsinger, called me to tell me there was a pistol match happening in Davidson County and we were eligible to compete. The match was being hosted by Davidson County Community College and it was a police pistol match. Normally, civilians can’t compete in police pistol matches, but since the college was hosting this one, they had a class for us.

Neither David nor I had ever shot in anything other than a shotgun turkey shoot, which is really no match at all, and a real pistol match was an exciting prospect. The match was to be held on a weekday, and we both took a vacation day from our jobs at Thomasville Furniture. It’s hard to believe this, because I have trouble recalling what I had for dinner last night, but I still remember my score, well, almost. It was 89 point something, and David’s score was 88 point something else. It was close, but I won first place in civilian class in the first shooting match I ever shot. David, took second.
It happened that I also knew David’s brother Jerry, and Uncle Ray, of Ray’s Cycle Shop. I was riding motorcycles then, and I visited Ray’s motorcycle shop at least twice a week. On my next visit to the shop, I walked in and was greeted by David’s brother, Jerry. Jerry smiled and said, “Did you hear about David? He took second place in that pistol match they held at the college.”
I thought Jerry was kidding me, and I waited for him to laugh. He didn’t. “Did David tell you I was at that match and that I won?” I asked.
Jerry looked surprised, “No, he just told me he won second place.” Such is the caliber of my friend, David Motsinger. He has been established to be reckless with the truth. He has also been established to like to prank other people.
David and I continued to shoot together, and we still do on a regular basis. Nowadays, he  always outshoots me with a pistol. I almost always outshoot him with a rifle. We are about equal with a shotgun, though I secretly hold an edge, I occasionally allow him to best me, to keep him happy. David and I shot the National Matches together every year for quite some time, and we always traveled together, and stayed in the same hooch every year. If you’re wondering what a “hooch” is, it’s a 14’ X 14’ WWII Prisoner of War hutment with four WWII Army cots and a light bulb. To say it’s Spartan is similar to saying Sandra Bullock is pretty.
One year, as we were unpacking, I noticed David had a blister package of fake spiders and bugs. I saw them, but I ignored them. The next day, we attended Small Arms Firing School in the morning and decided to take a nap in the afternoon. I have a hard time sleeping in the daytime, and before I fell asleep, I noticed a lump in my already lumpy cot. I rolled the sheets back and found a large plastic spider. I knew Dave would be watching me that night when we turned in, and he’d make a big joke of me jumping back.
I was a model of preparation in those days and even carried a little sewing kit in my bag. I got it out while everyone slept and pulled out a needle and some thread. I looped the thread through the back of the spider, so he hung face down and measured out the thread so he’d hang about two inches off Dave’s face when the needle was stuck in the ceiling. I set my trap and waited. I waited for almost an hour, but the wait was worth it. When David woke, the huge spider was inches from his face and apparently, he didn’t recognize it as his own plastic spider, because he swatted it away and jumped out of bed shuddering. I won that round. Later in the week, I won another round by putting a big rubber snake, I just happened to have in my bag, in his bed. As I said, I was once a stickler for preparation.
Over the years, there’ve been many more practical jokes, but David has been my fast friend through thick and thin. I know we often strive to accumulate material things in the course of our lives, but I can assure you that nothing you can own is as valuable as one good friend.
During the recent ice storm, I had a lot of ice damage on my place. The worst was a big poplar tree that uprooted and leaned over my drive way, all the way to the roof of the house. It did no damage to the house, but it was so low there was barely room to drive the vehicles under it, and then only when I cut off all the lower limbs. Removing it was going to be tricky, but I had help. Good old Dave almost nagged me that we needed to get that tree cut before it fell on my driveway. Unfortunately, I’ve recently been snowed under with work, having to travel to Texas to shoot pigs, and then to the Roanoke River for a shad fishing trip. David is retired and sometimes fails to understand how we working guys have to put work first.
This week, though, we set up a day to do the work, and bright and early, David Motsinger was at my house and ready for tree removal. We worked through the morning, cutting the tree up and using the logs to improve the berm on my shooting range. David then talked me into cutting another tree that was dying and leaning out over the parking area. When we finished cutting the trees, David helped me clean up all the twigs and limbs and stack them. We finally finished up about one pm, and when I offered to take him to lunch, he refused, saying he had a sandwich waiting for him at home. As he drove out my driveway, I stood and watched him go, thinking how lucky I am to have a friend like David Motsinger. There is no substitute for friendship.
The next morning when I got up, I figured I’d be sore from the exertion, but I had only very slight muscle soreness. I congratulated myself on staying in great shape for a man in my sixties and then I realized another reason why I wasn’t sore from the exertion. I remembered that I’d let David do all the hard work. Yes, there’s nothing like friendship.
Dick Jones is an award winning freelance writer living in High Point. He writes about hunting, fishing, dogs, and shooting for national magazines and websites.  He recently finished his first book, Off the Porch. If you’d like to have him speak to your group, or would like a copy of his book, he can be reached at offtheporch52@yahoo.com or offtheporchmedia.com