As we began to recall the stories first from those that could remember the early days, running the state mile for Lee High and holding the record in the book that year, Florida 1950, hard times in the Korean War, recon, the smell of death and life as a Marine.
The strangers that had come to pay respect and tell of kind deeds through many years, different states and times. A common thread spun like rugged wool were the stories of hunting with skills of extraordinary measure.
Elk in Wyoming, Pronghorn in Colorado, and pheasant in Iowa. The white tail too many to count fed his family through the years, shrimp in Beaufort, crappie in the Everglades, Pompano in the surf of Sebastian Inlet, always fishing with a passion like no other. Few that knew him could say they had never been fed by him. He grew gardens of great abundance in Melbourne and Yemassee. He could shoot a Wood duck from a moving vehicle while driving down a back road of South Carolina. If the turkey of Osceola could talk they to would gobble of a great hunter that roamed the woods for many moons.
We wear Cane break rattler belts, his trophies hang on our walls and the stories of his love for the outdoors live on in our minds.
If you have never eaten squirrel perlo, shrimp and grits, fried deer tongue and mullet row than a sheltered life you have led. Least we forget crawfish boils, oyster roasts and fish fry's, plucking quail and dove hunts. There have been at least ten bird dogs all named Tiki or Gal and cleaning dog pens day after day, I believe was a right of passage in his eye.
I have enjoyed flying over Lake Washington, a paddle boat ride down the canal, motorcycles and ATV's, gheenoe and the Mako, air boats and ducs.
He built an old wooden boat and bought a Go devil, and his legend will live on in Bubba, countless smokers and fish fryers, and an occasional green egg.
In the early days there are no stories of tears, then pappy passed, his grandson accepted to his Alma Mater (Go Gators) and the birth of his five great-grand sons bearing his surname. He married his high school sweetheart in 1950 and again at Christmas in 2009, I believe there were tears at the later ceremony.
If you were lucky enough to be present as the Marines saluted him one last time and taps played, then consider yourself to have been in the presence of a Legend.
My memories and recollections are sometimes foggy for I am the youngest of his children and his baby girl and although I do not carry the same skills as my three brothers,I can still recall the stories of a great legend and my memories still hold sweet of a father who adored me until Jesus called him home.
William Irving Turknett
January 16th, 1932 - October 22, 2010