The Curse - By Tom Word

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Ben and Sam had lived long and seen a lot. Ben practiced law and Sam medicine. But more than that they collaborated on trying to help solve families’ problems.

Not a week passed that one or both of the curmudgeons were not consulted by a desperate parent or grandparent about a child or grandchild on the verge of ruining his or her life. The crises varied from substance addiction to academic failure to depression leading to attempted (or successful ) suicide, often in combination. And the cause was mostly affluenza: a lack of aspiration to make a worthwhile life brought on by lack of need to struggle. Mixed in were crumbling or crumbled parental marriages also linked to affluenza.

Often Ben or Sam got this call in late spring : “My son (grandson) has been informed he will not be asked back to (prep school) for his senior year. I want to talk to you about what might be done.”

The curmudgeon receiving the call would often say, “ Do you mind if we include (Sam, Ben) in our conversation? “ The answer was invariably, “Fine with me.” The closeness and discretion of the curmudgeons was well known by their patrons.

The two would meet with the caller and hear the tale of woe. They would ask questions and ask to meet with the youngster. Sometimes he would be defiant, sometimes remorseful, sometimes sullen and silent. The curmudgeons had perfected the art of appearing non-judgmental. It often led the youth to confess his own desperation for a turnaround in his life.

That’s when Ben or Sam would say,

“ How about you go work as a helper this summer -July through September - up in (North or South Dakota or Montana or Nebraska ) with (name of plantation dog trainer or field trial trainer-handler) ?”

And not always, but sometimes, the youth would respond to a summer of responsibility, long work hours, physical work, and a goal (teaching a
young dog to do as required to be a successful gun or field trial dog).

And when the formula worked it could be a thing of beauty.


About the Author

Tom Word
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Tom Word is a lawyer who represents individuals about managing their assets and for amusement writes fiction and non-fiction about bird dogs and humans obsessed with them.


About the Artist

Kate Hall
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Kate Hall is an outdoor artist who resides on an Angus cattle farm in Tennessee, where she began hunting at an early age. During her 13 years as a flight attendant, Kate visited 27 countries and all 50 states. She now spends her time traveling across the country in search of rising trout and upland birds with her husband and their English Setter. In his first two seasons they hunted on public lands in MT, KS, SC, AL, NC, KY and TN for quail, ruffed grouse, sharptail grouse, woodcock, pheasant, prairie chickens, and hungarian partridge. Upland hunting has enriched Kate’s life and influences much of her colored pencil work.

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