HOME RANGE: Notes on Literature, Nature, Working Dogs, History, Other Obsessions and Sundry Annoyances by Henry Chappell

Interview on the Master National

November 5, 2017

Tags: Master National, Gary Joiner

Up-and-coming young pro trainer Luke Cour and his Cody after a near-perfect run on a water-land series. Luke's expression says it all.

Here's recent, short interview I did with Gary Joiner of "Texas News and Views" on this year's Master National Retriever test held at The Big Woods on the Trinity in east Texas.

Marking Our Lives With Our Dogs

November 4, 2017

Tags: yeti, Sam, Labrador Retriever

Love this.

Yes, it should be too sentimental for a rumpled old novelist, but I don't care.

Time, Gravity, Entropy

November 3, 2017

Tags: Aging

A little forced inactivity reminds me of what looms in the not-too-distant future, and of the preciousness of time.

Back in April, I noticed that when I tilted my head back, mild pain flared up in my left shoulder. Meh. Old age and all that. Nothing a few Advil and healthy hardheadedness wouldnít cure. My grandson Cade and I took up Krav Maga and fished a couple times every week, all summer. My shoulder ached, but after a little warm-up, I felt fine and could pump through 40 pushups, and a bunch of burpees, and throw punches and elbows with little or no discomfort.

Okay, the problem worsened, a little, but, see, my first belt test was scheduled for September 23. Iíd deal with the issue afterward. The test, a grueling three-hour ordeal is designed not only to find out if youíve acquired the requisite skills, but also to test your resolve. How much do you want to move to the next level? (You know itís going to be rough when there are designated puke locations.) I got through the test fine - the oldest geezer in the group - although I hadnít known that kind of fatigue and pain since my college football days.

The strain didnít help my shoulder problem. Now, I had intermittent tingling down my arm, and a hell of a lot more pain. I took a couple weeks off, then showed up for my first Level II workout. After an easy jog around the facility, we came in and plopped down for push-ups. I nearly fell on my face. My left arm had no strength and now ached from the mild exertion.

Turns out, I donít have a shoulder problem, I have a neck problem. Stenosis caused by a ďsignificantĒ bulge between C6 and C7 pinching the nerve that serves my left arm. The problem would likely go away in a year or so, but Iíd lose a lot of arm strength in the meantime. Never mind the everyday pain and interference with hunting, fishing, and fighting. Oral steroids helped slightly but only temporarily. Now Iím scheduled for a cortisone injection on November 8. If that doesnít work, there will be a second injection, then, as a last resort, surgery, which will fix the problem for sure, but Iíll be pretty restricted for three months or so.

Hunting season has arrived, but it hurts to look up. This might not be a problem if I were a deer hunter sitting in a stand instead of a squirrel and bird hunter. Fishing is great in North Texas in early fall, so Iíll be pumping up the old float tube (one-handed), feeling grateful that my casting arm works just fine. And Iíll kick the heavy bag, do my squats and crunches, and try to remember not to take good health and the gift of a day for granted. I have friends whoíre facing challenges that make this one seem like nothing but a minuscule aggravation. If nothing else, this little setback serves as a reminder of what looms out there in the not-too-distant future. Time is precious. I regret every second Iíve wasted even though Iíll surely waste more.

Selected Work

"I regard Silent We Stood as being among the finest Civil War novels I have ever read"
  • David Madden, Civil War Book Review
  • "Blood Kin is historical fiction at its best."
  • Bruce Winders, Historian and Curator, The Alamo
  • "The finest book on buffalo hunting and the resulting conflict with the Comanches that I have ever read."
  • Doris R. Meredith, Roundup
  • Non-fiction Books
    "Sharp and colorful also describe the economical prose of sports and wildlife writer Henry Chappell"
  • Elaine Wolff, San Antonio Current
  • Magazine Work
    Articles and Reviews
    Articles and Book Excerpts
    Feature Articles
    Columns and Feature Articles