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Winter Afternoon With a Woodsman

The day not only yielded an awakening of the beauty of local wilderness, but also thought-provoking data involved in lending thought to a current national issue.

The humidity hung over Saucon Creek with intermittent drizzle and mist that made the footing in the dense woods slippery, especially with the thick leaf covering. My balance-impaired body was at risk of tumbling down each downhill portion of the hidden path known only to my walking companion, Rich Geyer.

Equilibrium be damned, I was determined to keep pace, but to no avail while lagging behind with distance between us continually increasing. Rich slid down banks on his feet and glided up steep slopes with ease. Having grown up for a few years living at the Geyer farm, now the Michael Heller Homestead, he was familiar with all the woods between Water Street and Walnut Street. This was my first trek taking this path along the creek. Previously I had gotten lost taking the "high road" to the H.D. Heller Limestone Quarry, but this time we took the "low road" right along the Saucon.

We passed by debris from several years ago left by careless campers, crawled under wild raspberry bushes and over or under fallen trees. All the time the beauty of the Saucon Creek prevailed while we headed south. He pointed out the high spot where he and childhood buddies had camped and roasted corn and hot dogs in the coals of a campfire during the 1930s and early '40s.

For the first time I viewed Sandy Beach on the east side of the creek, a long ago favorite swimming hole for many youth from Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township. Since it was winter, most of the terrain was brown, but we passed several patches of bright green watercress flourishing next to a narrow branch of the stream.

Later we drove to Hellertown Sportsmen's Club, which I had never entered, that is, the indoor shooting range. On this day the Saucon Valley High School Rifle Team was competing with Salisbury High. I had thought that this club had been abandoned years ago.

Finally before parting, a self-defense instructor and attorney was showing a reporter how to use a semi-automatic rifle at one of the safe outdoor ranges. The writer was interested in having first-hand experience with the sporting life since he had been assigned the coverage by "New York magazine" after the last mass killing of students by a mentally deranged youth who had first killed his mother and stolen several guns from her legal collection. The young man had not sought medical help and had not taken his medication.

In my opinion, if the school principal had been trained and licensed in proper methods of self-defense, and had a weapon, no children would have died. Not all school staff need to be armed; however, one or two in authority should be.

The day not only yielded an awakening of the beauty of local wilderness, but also thought-provoking data involved in lending thought to a current national issue. Learning experiences are part of my passionate life. Rich Geyer had delivered again.

Andrew Wilt February 11, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Rich Geyer is a blessing to this community.
Elliot Thomas February 12, 2013 at 01:49 AM
I consider myself a pretty intelligent man. I graduated high school with honors, got a bachelors degree from a private college, and I've excelled at every job I've had. Yet, to this day, I cannot spend a single afternoon with Rich Geyer without learning something new. As the oldest of the kids lucky enough to call him "Grandpa", some of my fondest memories are afternoons spent with him. He taught me how to fly-fish, handle firearms, navigate a forest, and much much more. There are very few people in the world that I respect as much as Rich Geyer, and not just because he's my Grandpa. He's hard-working, loves a good clean joke, and is still in better shape than I am. He also has this uncanny ability to teach you a meaningful life lesson without really intending to. He's the father of four girls, a former Navy sailor, a skilled fisherman and hunter, and better with a revolver than men half his age. He's probably forgotten more about nature and the outdoors than the average man could ever learn. I can only hope to grow up to be half the man he is today.
Ethan Voice February 12, 2013 at 04:02 AM
Elliot, you couldn't of put it any better. As the 2nd oldest grandson of Rich Geyer, I too would also agree that it's tough for anyone to hold a candle to him. He's essentially more or less a walking encyclopedia, with a witty sense of humor to boot. He is living proof that not everyone needs to go to college to become educated. He is an inspiration to us all...our one and only Grandpa. To end, if the media really wanted to, he would make a great replacement on those Dos Equis beer commercials as someone I would consider "the most interesting man in the world" because he literally seems to have lived 4 lives already, without any of us knowing about the previous 3.
Katie L February 12, 2013 at 11:22 PM
I just got off the phone with him and this had both of us choked up. He said to say thank you to ALL.
Steve February 13, 2013 at 03:07 PM
So Lee believes it's better for a principle to carry a gun then putting all our energies towards mental health and gun control? Hmmmm.
Bob Linney February 14, 2013 at 08:40 PM
I think mental health is the key.
Angie Drake February 16, 2013 at 01:29 PM
I agree with Bob, mental health issues are key inthis debate yet are not getting enough consideration. If you look at all these shooters in the mass killings mental health issues are surely a big component of what brought the shooter to the terrible place they were when they took those assault weapons and went out to kill innocent perople. I also wonder why people are so loath to lock up their guns in a gun safe especally if they have children or there is someone who might be considered mentally unstable. I also wonder why we need big clips of ammo - at a gun range, yeap but for people to have readily available...not so good. Finally, I can't say that I want the classroom teachers in our schools to be carrying firearms but frankly if every principal was required to be well trained in the use of firearms and have one in her/his office I would be more than happy to know that they were ready to shoot any nutcase trying to kill school children. I am a teacher and I speak from that point of view.

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