Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - 39

A
FTER YEARS of working as a
noted antique-restoration expert,
Tom had recently developed a small side
business in architectural salvage. It was
1987, and with tendrils of urban sprawl
snaking into the countryside, many old
country homes and rural businesses were
being sold or lost to development. A call
from a contractor friend, who had just
purchased a farm, invited him for a look
around a house scheduled to be razed,
and to pick up a project.
Tom pulled his Suburban into the
farmyard where Ben and his crew were
unloading a flatbed of building materials
in front of a stone farmhouse. The setting
was classic Bedford County hill-anddale
farm country, everything greening
up and sweet smelling.
" Hey, Tom! " greeted Ben. " It's been
a while. Where's old Shadow? "
" Oh, he passed away last summer, "
Tom replied, a slight hitch in his voice.
" Sorry to hear that, " Ben said. " He
sure was a beauty. Speaking of beauty,
isn't this a great looking little farm? But
this isn't the house I wanted you to check
out. If you take this dirt lane way out
and around the bend, then partway up
the hill, you'll come to a rundown place
where you might find some things of
interest. The man who lived up there was
a cousin to the old farmer who sold me
this farm. The cousin and his wife both
passed on more than 20 years ago. He
was a birdhunter, just like you - even had
a birddog. Up on the porch is a box of
the cousin's belongings that the farmer
gave me. It's yours if you want it. "
Ben guided Tom to the box, sitting
on a comb-back Windsor writing-desk
chair.
" It's just a few books and papers,
some ammo and an old broken shotgun, "
Ben said. " I don't know if the gun's
OCTOBER 2021
worth fixing; it's in rough shape. "
The gun was in two pieces, rolled
up in a small carpet. The buttstock was
broken off at the grip. Tom opened the
double-barreled shotgun's action and
checked the chambers.
" It's an A.H. Fox, " Tom noted. " Sure
would hate to see it end up in a scrap
pile. I'll see what I can do. "
" When the birdhunter died, his
widow put the gun up in the attic, " said
Ben. " She was in the process of moving
out when a big tree came down during
a windstorm and took half the house
with it. That's how the gun got busted
up. After that, the whole place quickly
fell into ruin.
" Whatever you find up there, just
keep, " Ben insisted. " We're going to
demo that house after we spruce up this
place. This desk chair is for you to work
your magic on. It's for my wife. "
" Very nice, " replied Tom. " Bucks
County, 18th century. "
" I'm going to sell or lease this house
along with some acreage as a farmette,
but the rest will stay wild and woolly, "
Ben said. " My boys and I hunt deer here
and it's loaded. You're welcome to hunt
it anytime. Way up on top are cornfields
that are part of the farm, too. Looks like
great pheasant country. "
T
HE SMALL, dilapidated house was
tucked into the mouth of a shadowy
hollow populated by enormous oaks that
seemed to be patiently waiting to reclaim
their woods, to be rid of the eyesore
squatting there. The deep, secluded
hollow was shut off to the world, like a
landscape painting rendered long ago,
unsigned, undated and hung in a dark
hall.
A huge limb still protruded from the
roof and the entire upstairs was full of
39

Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - 5
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Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Cover4
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