I have met some real characters in my life, but none was more of a character than Woody "Woodrow" Smith.
First let me tell you - Woody was a real life hero. He was in the Navy's air sea rescue unit during the Vietnam war. Woody told me once that he received the Navy Cross, the second highest honor you can get in the Navy - awarded for heroism. He didn't talk about it any more than that.
I was guiding hunts in Katy, Texas for Butch's Guide Service when I first met Woody. He was a first rate drunk. Whatever happened to him in Vietnam tormented his brain, and W. L. Weller bourbon whiskey eased his pain.
One day he asked me if we could hunt together. I hesitated a little, and he told me that he had quit drinking.
"Really? Wow! How did you do that ?" I asked.
"I just quit."
I asked him if he was an alcoholic.
"Naw, I never attended those meetings."
Woody became my hunting partner. He could hunt Wednesday and Saturday. Rain or shine, cold or hot, Woody was there. He was great help, but his main attribute was his marksmanship. Woody was always good for two birds, maybe three. And to top it off, he was a hoot.
Woody was all into my tradition of naming my dogs with CH names. One day Woody's dog died, and he was looking for a puppy. It so happened that we had a litter, so I gave Woody a yellow male.
Being a person of tradition, Woody named him Chanker. Woody, ever the gentleman, didn't want Judy (my lovely wife) to know that he had named the pup such a vulgar name, so he called him Shank around Judy.
We moved to Matagorda County that year, and I didn't get to hunt with Woody as often. He lived north of Houston, which was too far to come hunting with me.
But one morning, I was sitting in my office drinking a cup of coffee, and bigger than life, there was old white-mustached Woody peeking through my window. It was 3 a.m. and it was a Wednesday.
"You're going hunting, ain't you?" Woody had a distinctive Oklahoma drawl. Think of a hippie trying to impersonate Matthew Mcconaughey in "Dazed and Confused" - that was Woody.
"Sure," I said. "Come on in!"
My future son-in-law, Clint, was there and we quickly drew into some serious BS. Eventually, it became time to meet the hunters, so Woody followed us to the restaurant, where we drank more coffee and participated in more BS, and then off we went.
As we drove down the road with Woody following, Clint asked, "What's wrong with Woody? He is hanging his head out the window."
I looked in the rear mirror and thought to myself, "Who knows?"
At the next red light I noticed Woody gagging and holding something over his face. Very odd.
After traveling for a while, we arrived at our field.
When we got out of the truck, Woody was still gagging and looked as white as a sheet.
"Woody, what the hell is wrong?" I asked.
He pointed to his truck, and in it was his big yellow Lab puppy, and a big pile of yellow Lab puppy poop. Woody had been driving for 15 miles with puppy poop in the car.
He took his boot off and removed his sock to scoop up the crap.
"Woody we would have stopped to let you clean up the poop. You should have said something!"
Woody looked at me and shook his head. "Hell, naw! We might have been late."
He busted out with a pumpkin pie after the sun rose and the hunting slowed down a little. He cut them with his less than sterile pocket knife, and we passed the pie pan around. He even brought whipped cream in a can.