By Tank Hoover
While my mom was dying of cancer, one of my escapes was the Internet. Once I discovered the cool gun forums on it, I was hooked. One particular forum had a character from Idaho who went by the handle of “Sixshot.” He was a sixgunner who not only followed Elmer’s cast bullet creed and cast his own bullets, he used them for hunting too and was very successful. He actually met Elmer on several occasions when he drove to Elmer’s home in Salmon, ID.
Sixshots real name is Dick Thompson. Like all good characters, he has a sidekick named “Callshot” whose real name is Steve Call. Together, they are a slapstick dynamic duo who will definitely keep you laughing. After mom died, Dick was putting on an elk hunt and invited me along.
When a loved one dies, the “You only go round once!” attitude prevails and prompts you to step out of your comfort zone and take risks. I graciously accepted the invite from the man I met on the Internet only a month or so previously. Sounds kind of crazy, a bit suspicious — and I had the time of my life!
One of the things I was looking forward to on my trip to Idaho was meeting the infamous Callshot. I’ve always looked forward to his witty responses to Dicks posts on the forums. Callshot introduced me to the elixir of the Idaho Gods, the huckleberry milkshake.
You can learn a lot about a man while sharing a huckleberry shake. I knew, by reading numerous postings on the Internet, Callshot had several physical handicaps. Some are real, most are exaggerated, but I’m not telling which is what. What fun would that be?
Callshot is missing his trigger finger, has a bad back, one leg is shorter than the other (although being the optimist, he says one is actually longer), and besides that, he’s in pretty good shape. I had to excuse myself from the table while partaking in the consumption of Callshots candy, and told him to keep an eye on my drink. With that, he removed his eye-glasses and popped out his right eye with a resounding “thunk,” placing it on the top of my shake, saying, “Is this good enough?” Shocked, I didn’t know what to do, staring at the moist glass eye floating on top of my huckleberry shake.
Nectar of the Gods. Huckleberry shakes ready for consumption.
Watch out for glass eyes if Callshot is around.
The Back Story
It seems Callshot lost his eye in a tragic hunting accident a few years back. He was working the night shift, and learned the necessary skill of being able to sleep with one eye open in case the supervisor checks on you unexpectedly. Well, Callshot was elk hunting one day, got a little tired, and sat down at the base of a tree and fell asleep. Unbeknownst to him, his training kicked in and he kept his right eye open while snoozing away. A woodpecker posted on his nose, seeing its reflection in Callshot’s eye. Being the peak of the woodpecker rut, the hard-beaked pecker started pecking away.
Not wanting to wear an eye patch and being a resourceful kind of guy, Callshot first tried a ball bearing to fill the empty socket. That only lasted a few days. When he drove home from work, the oncoming headlights would reflect off his eye, blinding the drivers with their own headlight beam. He finally figured out why all the oncoming traffic was running off the road. He next used one of his kid’s shooter-marbles, a cat’s eye, I believe. Well, the neighborhood cats took to following him around town, and the church found that weird and wanted to perform an exorcism on him.
Callshot got to thinking, and remembered he had a taxidermist buddy. For a while, he had the eye of a hawk, but it kept falling out. He finally settled on a mule deer eye, and has been using it ever since. Besides the occasional “deer in the headlights look” no one is the wiser.
I know Dick and others ride Callshot about his shooting abilities, but when you take into account his dominant eye is made of glass and he closes his weak eye to shoot — and he’s missing half his trigger finger — it’s pretty amazing he does as well as he does. Though he is tough to keep up with while walking across the side of the mountain on hunts. Since one leg is longer, Callshot is standing perfectly straight and gets around darn good. He always finds the silver lining in a dark cloud.
And that is the key to life. We all have tough times we travel through. Being able or forcing us to laugh, joke and share some sorrow with some friends, be they close or across the country, helps a lot. Ol’ Callshot was taking care of his wife, Betty, who was bedridden with MS when I met him. He took care of her until the day she died, like no one else could. He did the right thing and never lost his sense of humor.
Humor can make all things tolerable. And so can good friends.