If you think you can, you’re probably right. If you think you can’t, you’re probably right again. So goes your thinking. So goes your success in deer hunting. One of the real keys to becoming a better and more successful whitetail deer hunter is your thinking. Learn to say and think the words, I can. Of course that’s just the first step but an important step. The next step is take action.
After going 15 years and only shooting one spike buck there wasn’t much question that I wasn’t much of a deer hunter. The last 9 years of that I was just trying to shoot a doe. Grant it there weren’t as many deer back 35 – 40 years ago but there were enough that most deer hunters were at least shooting an occasional doe here in Oklahoma. That is most deer hunters but not me. And I really wanted to! That is the sad part. It was time for me to rearrange my priorities and most of all my thinking. In my life I had risen from the grave to success before being positive. It was time to apply some positive thinking and actions to my deer hunting. It was hard but I knew I could do it. At least I was going to try.
There was one rule in stone when I was growing up: On Sunday we were going to church. It was the law. Period. So regardless of the situation or circumstance on Sunday morning I was with my Mother and we were in church somewhere. Sometimes it was in my home town of Wagoner, Oklahoma. Sometimes it was at a visiting church in Tulsa. But regardless of the location we were in church.
One of the churches in Tulsa that my Mother like to occasionally attend was ‘The Rays of Faith Tabernacle’ down off Utica Ave near downtown. The long time pastor of that church was Rev. A.D. Marney. Pastor Marney was an old time hell and brimstone type Pentecostal preacher. I really like him and there was no doubt he was a real Bible scholar as well. He was married to a lady who had been widowed with 4 boys: Bill, Sam, Richard and Kevin.
Over the years that entire family became preachers. It was a very unique experience to attend one of those services. In fact it wasn’t uncommon to have several of the family members speak during one given service. Those of you who were raised full gospel won’t find that unusual. Those of you who weren’t raised full gospel probably will find that quite odd. That’s OK. I can tell you there never was a dull moment during any given service. To begin the service Sister Marney would climb up on the organ bench and start wailing away with an old time gospel tune and the entire church would join in.
My favorite preacher of the bunch was young Sam. I suppose part of that was because he only a few years older than me. He was one of the funniest people you would ever hear speak. He just put things in a way that were simple and anyone could understand and he did it with his own certain flair.
I was a senior in high school at the time and on one Sunday morning we arrived at the church a little late. The service had already began. Much to my delight Sam was announced as the main speaker. When he took the podium he said he had a song on his heart and he felt led to sing. Sam turned to his mother who was still sitting at the organ and said, “Mother just follow me if you can,” and he began to sing.
Raising her hand and interrupting Sam she quickly said, “Son I don’t believe I know that song,” Sam looked at her and said, “Well I’m making it up as I go. The Lord is giving me the words.” I know that sounds strange, but that’s just how things were done back in those days.
“I’m not really good at following people’s singing Sam. You better just sing it by yourself,”
Sister Marney said nodding as if to encourage him on.
Suddenly Rev. Marney stood up and walked over next to Sam and pointed to my Mother in the crowd, “Sister Raglin. Doesn’t your son play the piano?”
I just sank down in my seat. I thought ’This guy must be crazy if he thinks I’m getting up there in front of all these people to play a song that doesn’t even exist yet. No way.’
Of course my Mother proudly replied, “Oh yes he does.”
She then nudged me and gave me one of those ‘Better do as I say looks’ and said, “Get up thereand give it a try. You can do it.”
What was I going to do? The congregation all began to clap and all the Marney’s were waving me up. So reluctantly I got up and walked to the piano and waited for Sam to begin to sing. That little small voice in the back of head whispered to me, ’Come on. You can do this. You can do this.’
As soon as Sam began to sing, I hit a few notes until I found what key he was in and then just followed him with a few simple cord progressions. I still remember he was singing in the key of E flat.
After a few stanza’s you would have thought that we had practiced for weeks together. We were like peanut butter and jelly – a pretty good mix. Needless to say it was a real blessing to every one in that church. I was just thankful we got through it and it was over. Also from that point forward I never once got to visit that church again without having to get up on the piano. In fact usually when I walked in the door one of the Marney’s would just say, ’Come on up to the piano Roger.’ It was a piece of cake and I actually started to enjoy it. And to think the first time I did it I as scared to death. But My Mother told me I could do it. I told myself that I could do it. I’d never done anything like that in my life, but I was willing to try and it all turned out great.
During my college years I lost touch with the Marneys. But I was able to keep up with Sam. He later left the ministry and of all things became a stand up comedian. He did HBO specials, was a main attraction on some of the biggest stages in Las Vegas with his name in lights. He was featured on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles with other comedian greats like Richard Pryor and Robin Williams. He even was in a few motion pictures with Rodney Dangerfield. Yes he was Sam Kinison. Yes his comedy was rather vulgar. That was the same Sam I knew from ’the Rays of Faith Tabernacle’ there in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was sad to learn of his death in a car accident at an early age, 39. But I was glad I had that experience. It would have never happened if I had not given it a try and believed that I could do it.
The year I really had my break through as a deer hunter, I began telling myself ’I could do it’ and ’this is going to be my year’ long before deer season got there. All summer long I wrote it down on paper, ’I’m going to shoot a deer this year’. I would look in the mirror and tell myself, ’this is your year. You are going to shoot a deer this year.’ I constantly told myself ’You can do this. You can do this. This is your time. You can get this done.’ That may sound silly to you. But this is what I did. I had to get my mind set right in order to prepare for success. The next step was taking action. I did that too in a very strange way.
(See blog Learn to Say I can 2)
Good deer hunting to you!
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