Dr. Berry’s Deer Season

November 8, 2018

 I’ve long since told my few deer season stories and the hunters around here don’t generate any new or exciting buck tales, or at least not ones fit for publication. We do note (treating deer season as an adverb here) that ‘doing deer season’ is not what it once was. Things have changed considerably since the days when all a hunter thought he needed was a good rifle. Not so these days. Like everything else, deer season has gone high tech. So I’ll type out a tale on my high tech lap top, of good times gone by and a boy from the days of red and black wools and arctic pack boots.    

Julie Traynor Postcards from the Pine Columnist

Julie Traynor Postcards from the Pine Columnist

Dr. Berry loved deer season. He relished all the hype, all the preparation and each and every day of November from beginning to end.  He told stories of deer season’s past to anyone who would listen, and his patients were a great audience. Honing his story telling skills, he told favorite stories time and again.  Dr. Berry had plenty of tales to tell too, from his first childhood adventures in the woods to his latest.

Jerry Berry was born in 1931 in Depression era Marion, Michigan, the youngest child of Frank and Fern Berry.  He inherited his mother’s great love of the outdoors and shared his oldest brother George’s enthusiasm for hunting sports…especially the annual pursuit of the white tail deer. And, oh yes, he decided when he was 7 years old that he was going to be a doctor.
These were also the days of rationing, gas shortages and a lot of just plain doing without. It was also the time when young Jerry learned his hunting skills. Partridge, pheasant, rabbits; each in season found their way to the Berry table. And then there was deer season, the king of them all.

For most of his adult life, Jerry Berry did his best to come home to Marion for the annual white tail hunt. His years as a student at CMU and U of M in the early 1950’s did not get in the way, nor did the residency, a growing family and busy medical practice in Toledo, Ohio in the years which followed. Dr. Berry was boots on the floor at Marion for many a white tail opener.  The old friends, deer stories and beer would wait until the evening.

 Back in everyone’s younger days, Jerry’s mother was sure that his visit was really just for her, and his sister thought much the same. They always made a dinner plan which seldom paned out. Jerry, his brother and nephew would find themselves catching up over a few at the Shoe and then at the Ideal. They told stories and listened to more. Yes indeed, for a lot of years a good old northern Michigan deer season with all it encompassed ranked mighty high on Dr. Berry’s list.

Jerry Berry - School Days 1939. By the time this photo was taken he already knew he wanted to be a doctor. 

Jerry Berry – School Days 1939. By the time this photo was taken he already knew he wanted to be a doctor. 

And then there was the memorable deer season of 1976, which he ultimately considered a pretty good year even though he did not bag a deer or even go into the woods. This was the year that found a willing Dr. Berry more than 100 miles away on November 15. Jerry Berry, a proud new great uncle, chauffeured proud new grandparents George and Lillian, to visit their granddaughter, the tiny little deer season spoiler, born November 14 in Flint. The older, wiser and certainly mellowed Berry brothers decided that the sweet little ‘doe’ they viewed through the nursery window made for the best deer season yet.

Personally, it is my favorite deer season tale too, although I would like to hear some of my uncle’s other tales once again. He left us in the fall of 2000. The mental picture of those three dear folks, completely smitten with the newest member of our clan, my tiny new daughter, will always be in my heart.  I look forward to making more mental pictures when another generation joins our clan, the second this year. My deer season baby will celebrate a birthday next week and become a grandmother herself before the year is done. Happy Birthday Daughter,

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