What’s In Your DNA?

On The Back Page With Daryl Gay, November 2017

Daryl Gay | November 4, 2017

Your DNA is different from my DNA.

Go ahead. Gloat.

I’ll explain momentarily why we’re having this discussion. But before we deeply delve, know that the subject was actually researched, and that it would require 37 minutes to type and three edits to spellcheck before I could get the DN part properly in print. If you gotta know what DN reps, look it up.

“A” stands for acid; that I can peck with thumb and forefinger.

Over these many years—25 for Dylan, 23 (next month) for Myles—the Back Page faithful have kept up with my Knuckleheads, watching them grow up and forever being gracious about it. Y’all seemed to enjoy them at least a millionth as much as I have.

Along about the time you read this—the actual date is November 18—Myles will be marrying his beautiful Elizabeth. (I’d show you a picture, but I’d probably have to shoot you…)

She will become my second gorgeous, blonde, daughter-in-law. Dylan and Ally were wed a year ago this past July. Yeah, the Knuckleheads done good.

My initial thought was to pen an open letter to Lizzie and Ally about this DNA thing. But it’s too late; they’ve already seen the lads and me plying our craft in the woods and on the water and fully realize: We. Just. Can’t. Help. It!

It’s that DN Acid! And since I’m where it all started, the buck sorta stops here. Take, for instance, my first-ever deer “hunt.”

You’d really have to witness all the assorted uncles and great-uncles that tagged along with Daddy and Granddaddy (see Rabbit Stompin’ And Other Homegrown Safari Tactics) to understand that everyday life revolved around hunting and fishing.


My Daddy wouldn’t have given you a nickel for every whitetail deer in the country. He specialized in shotguns, bird dogs, quail, doves—and me.

He recognized my absolute yearning once I began to read about deer hunting. We didn’t even have a season in my home county when I was 12, but he loaded me and a certain Model 12 into a 1959 Ford F-100 one Saturday morning and off we struck—blindly—75 miles away to Jones County.

Season was open there. Actually saw three does, from the truck, on a frost-covered hill 25 yards above the clay road. Can see them right now, believe it or not, 51 years hence. And remain mesmerized.

Oh, you can have my appendix. Need a kidney? And there’s a spare spleen laying around somewhere…

But how do you extract what’s in a man’s soul?

We’re in the midst of whitetail season now, so you guys understand; but what about them thar wimmens o’ yourn? Can they accept the fact that there’s simply no way of explaining it?

Give you an example: I killed a bear on opening day of bear season.

Of the hundred or so folks who have been a part of that discussion, probably 80 looked at me as if I’d just pedaled a bicycle in from Jupiter!


(And right now guys I’m really hoping you’re not wearing that possum in the headlights look…)

My life has been lived in the woods; it’s where I’m at home. The first, soft, guided footfall inside a treeline is like no other step on this planet. The vibrance of life’s very essence manifests itself in a way  experienced, not explained.

That’s me. And my boys. And yes, I do realize that to some, it’s nothing more than a walk in the woods.

But now, let’s examine the flip side: Ally can ride a horse.

No, you don’t understand. Ally can RIDE a HORSE! Ride the HIDE off a horse! This girl gave me a whole new understanding of the term “barrel racing.”

Ally says once you train a horse to your precise specs, the horse does most of the work. If I tried it, that’s the way it’d have to be; after the first barrel I’d be in the third row with a crack in my sacroiliac and that big dummy with the saddle on his back would be on his own…

So Ally’s DNA includes a sincere love of and passion for horses. Especially one brute of an athlete named Ranson, who carried her to many a trophy. Dude’s muscled up like a linebacker, and can fly…

And Liz? She smiles. But it’s HOW she smiles.

This is a girl who finished first in her college class with a 4.0 GPA, graduated early, and is now teaching at that school.

None of which surpasses her smile.

(By the way, Myles also graduated early, magna cum laude from GSW, and is teaching at a middle school. Which points to a DNA transfer flaw, since for sure none of my IQ points trickled down…)

Always rated Julia Roberts tops in the Smile Department—until Lizzie came along. Sorry, Julia; maybe you’ll find your calling somewhere else…

It’s just that Liz gets it. Her heart shines in her eyes when she breaks into a smile, as she’s prone to do at a moment’s notice. You can see that she savvies—because she wants to.

I remember Myles, in his early teens, reeling in a blacktip that outweighed him 60 pounds. All Liz needed was flashing those pearly-whites to do the same to him.

Obviously, I’m really proud about this understanding business. Timing, you see. Way I got it figured, the rut kicks in ‘bout time the honeymoon cruise ends. Hurry back, boy; we got bucks to bag.  Right, Lizzie?

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