“Will” by Doug Fincher

November 5, 2018 - When I returned from a Lion’s Club meeting one day, Pam met me on the porch. “Doug, you just missed a true Mountain Man,” she said. “He came to see your gun shop… he was tall, wore a big hat, and had a Sam Elliot mustache. He said he’d be back tomorrow.”

After getting soaked by rain on my way to the shop the next morning, I was humming and listening to the rain when I was suddenly electrified by a soft tap on my shoulder. “I didn’t mean to scare you,” he laughed. “I’m Will Poss… my friends call me Lorrie. I’m Bennie Poss’s grandson.” When he asked if I knew Bennie, I told him that everyone in San Augustine County both knew… and loved… her. 

“I just left a Hunting Guide job in Wyoming,” he said. They wouldn’t hire me until I promised I’d be called by my other name (Will) instead of 'Lorrie.' “I toughed it out in an old Red Dale travel trailer for two years… it got so cold that I had to stack bales of hay around it to survive the winters.” Will and I had a common interest in guns and our many visits in the shop resulted in our close friendship.

One of my friends was fishing in Toledo Bend Reservoir one day when he spotted Will fishing from an inner tube… all alone… a quarter of a mile (!) from land. “When I asked him if he needed help, he said, 'Naw, I’m fine… I’m just tearing the bass up out here.'” When Will and his wife joined our Church, he sat near the back so he could sip (incognito) on his Orange soda.

When our 900 pound Milling Machine was delivered to us, neither we nor all our neighbors could get it into the shop. I finally told Pam to call Will. “Where there’s Will, there’s a way”, I laughed. Within minutes he wheeled into the driveway and hollered, “Pam, get me your liquid soap,” And within an hour, Will had the machine slid up four steps, into the shop, and mounted to the floor.

Will called one day and asked if I wanted to buy his trailer. “I’ve taken a surveying job in Fort Stockton, Colorado,” he said. We bought his trailer and two weeks later he and Gladys made their move. I later received a three page handwritten letter from Will. “Preacher,” he wrote… ”I want to tell you that I’ve made some mistakes in my life, but the Lord has forgiven me. I meant it when I accepted Christ as a teenager and everything is right with my soul.” His letter was so moving that I took it to his grandmother and let her read it. As tears filled her eyes, she sobbed, “This is the answer to my prayers.” I gave the letter to her because I knew her special love for Will. Then two weeks later we were all shocked when Gladys called and said Will had died a tragic death. And till this day when I am working at my Milling Machine, I often think of the day Will wheeled into our driveway and hollered, “Pam, go get your liquid soap.” 

I miss my dear friend. I miss him a lot.