A Mentor named Jay Miller
“I was born in a tiny Southern town.
I grew up with my family and friends all around.”
Something to Love
I grew up in a rural community where I was fortunate to have a long line of mentors and role models. Many of these relationships continued even into my adult years. You’re never too old to learn from others, regardless of your age or station in life
My wise mentors weren’t preachy. They were more about setting an example of what a country man should be. These men shared lessons that were more caught than taught.
Most of my mentors are now in Dry Creek Cemetery. I visited them earlier this week and was moved to see their names and remember the rich culture I grew up in.
The influence of these men lives on, and hopefully, I’ve passed that legacy on to my sons and grandsons.
Dry Creek native Jay Miller was one of those mentors who influenced me. The following story about him still touches me deeply.
It was deer season. I cannot overemphasize what a big deal deer season is in the Louisiana piney woods. On this particular November day during the 2000 deer season, Mr. Jay Miller was eighty-three years old and still spry.
He’d planned a morning hunt in Miller Pasture with his daughter Juanita Miller Brumley and his pastor Glen Ducharme.
He put his pastor on a prime stand where he’d probably see a buck. Then Mr. Jay helped his daughter onto her stand, handed her rifle up, and then walked away in the darkness.
He never made it to his stand. He was found dead in a fire lane, rifle still slung on his shoulder.
It was Mr. Jay’s last hunt. The manner of his death caught the attention of our entire community and was told far and wide.
I heard many Dry Creek men say, “If I could choose, I’d go out just like Mr. Jay. He was doing what he enjoyed and was still able to do it.”
Last week my friend Richard Morton texted, “I still think about how Wade Miller’s Daddy died.”
I think about him too, and smile at how my mentor and friend lived and died.
An eighty-three-year-old man still able to climb a deer stand. Walking on land that has been in his family for generations. Hurrying to his favorite deer stand before daylight. Doing something he loved.
I can still see it in my mind and heart.
“I hope you find something to love
Something to do when you feel like giving up
A song to sing or a tale to tell
Something to love, it’ll serve you well
Something to love, it’ll serve you well.”
Something to Love