Friendship and fellowship, the power of a small yearly tradition

By Josh Beavers

One of the greatest human needs is to be a part of something larger than ourselves. Even the most cynical and antisocial of us have a desire for human connection and community. Fellowship. That’s the key word, and it can be found in so many places.

At the church house, at the golf course, at work, at the ball fields. And even around the kitchen table early on a Saturday morning in the fall. That’s where one longtime Lakeside teacher hosts a group of coworkers, retired and those still plying the trade, at the beginning of every regular deer firearm season.

“It has become a tradition for a group of us to meet together for breakfast on the first day,” Gary Cooper told The Journal. “We pray for a good and safe deer season as well as swap stories about the previous year and what we expect to do this year.”

The tradition has been going on for six years, and Cooper said he wanted to bring back a sense of community and of days gone by when meeting together before the big season meant something to us all.

“I just remember as a boy how the ‘old men (& women)’ would get together during deer season and visit,” he recalled. “It was a special time for me.”

That wistfulness is a mark of kindness and humanity. We fail to think of each other as at one time being children with hopes and fears and dreams. We fail to see the humanity in who we are; it’s much too easy to focus on the negative traits of the adult rather than see who we are underneath.

That’s why it’s so important to build relationships. Relationships lead to friendships. And friendships lead to traditions. Traditions are best meant for the young so that they may carry them forward to those who come after. To make the world a little bit better than it was before we came through it.

While some of those in attendance every year are “old men” – as Cooper used the term – there are others with young children who will likely start similar traditions for their own sons and daughters.

Family. Fellowship. And that may be one reason why Coach Cooper loves that yearly Saturday so much.

“I think fellowship, especially outside the workplace, is so important to me because it allows us to get to know each other better,” the longtime coach and math teacher told us. “I think with the fast-paced world we live in today, the more we do things like this the better people we become.”

And just how important is the breakfast to this man?

“I enjoy being the cook, and it’s probably more special to do this than to harvest a mature buck,” he said. “Well, at least as important.”

And he gave a good laugh.

If you have good and simple stories of peace, fellowship, and goodwill, please contact Josh Beavers at the Webster Parish Journal.

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