The Deer Season Cometh

November 18, 2019

Firearm deer season isn’t the only thing which cometh this week. Old Man Winter has chosen to make an early appearance this year. He and Mom Nature are certainly having more than their share of seasonal discord. It is the kids who suffer, and we are. I cannot believe that anyone is thrilled to shovel both leaves and snow from the driveway or to turn up the thermostat against this mid-November blast of Arctic cold.

Somehow, I can’t quite believe that most deer hunters are thrilled with single digits either, even though they are a hearty lot. Perhaps hunting is not as difficult as it once was. Now there are blind heaters, Under Armor and cell phones for diversion. Still the whole process and early morning start is a jolt to many a sportsman’s constitution, and not in a good way. We wish the orange army a safe and successful 2019 firearm hunt. Let’s fill that Buck Pole Marion, Michigan!

November is a month of birthdays at our house. We begin on the 1st with our son, whose day after Halloween birthday is a one-two jump-start on things for him. Then we click them off as they roll through the month. Daughter, just two weeks after her brother, is a Bicentennial-deer-season baby, followed by dad the Gardener, the Gardener’s brother and several cousins follow with Thanksgiving tossed in the mix.

This year we are delighted to celebrate the first birthday of the latest November baby and the youngest member of our family, great-grandson Wyatt. This sweet little guy slipped into this busy month on a day all his own, right between his grandma, and great-grandpa, the Gardener. How lucky have we been this year to attend two first birthday parties and a 95th birthday party? The answer is very fortunate indeed. In fact, we anticipate a full house for Thanksgiving and could not be happier.

If you are an old Marion Kid of a certain age, you will remember the former music teacher and later guidance counselor at the Marion Public Schools, Harold Kelly.  

Harold Kelly came to teach music at the Marion public school in the late 1950’s, just about the time that a music class became part of my third or fourth grade routine. The band room was in the bus garage, adjoining the school, and it was there where we learned the music scale on the tone-ette, a black, cigar-shaped recorder. Our tone-ette playing music class produced a whole lot of screeching noise, although I’m sure we thought we were doing a grand job tooting out “Twinkle-twinkle Little Star”. Most of us were not.

I still marvel at Mr. Kelly’s ability to listen to all that noise and still encourage the players. Mr. Kelly of course had students who were very musically inclined and he gave them an extra push. Mr. Kelly had the great ability to know who would be a good band candidate and who should stick to the tone-ette. Marion’s band and orchestra performances and awards won were a testament to that.  

I started sixth grade at Winterfield’s Grandon School in the fall of 1961, leaving Marion behind for three years. I took a tone-ette with me at the encouragement of Mr. K. I seriously do not know why. I was no better with the small wind instrument than I was with the piano. My family is thankful that no one encouraged me to sing.

By the time I returned to MHS, Harold Kelly had become the guidance counselor, leaving the band in the capable hands of Mr. Utley. By 1969, Kelly was on his way to Mid Michigan Community College to work in the counseling capacity. After my graduation from MMCC, I lost track of Mr. Kelly, other than what I saw in the Marion Press and the warm greetings he always had for former students at Old Fashioned Days. He seemed never to forget a name or face.

Harold and Marjalee Kelly were deeply involved with their family, music of course, the Marion United Methodist Church and its choir. They were members for many years. The Kelly’s lived away from Marion for quite some time, but were Marionites at heart and held their Marion friends and memories dear, wintering for a number of years with the Marion contingent in Florida.

I was glad to see Mr. Kelly on Old Fashioned Days just past. And as always, I was pleased and surprised that he remembered me.  

Harold Kelly passed away on Monday. He was 88.

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