No place is more alive just before dark than the cactus-filled thickets of deep South Texas.
The evening of Saturday Dec. 27, 2014 was no different.
My father and I were hunting our friend Robert Scherer’s ranch near Freer and I was absolutely stunned by the number of big bucks, young bucks, does and other creatures I spotted. A stunning green jay sang just outside the tower blind I sat in while a long-legged bobcat carefully moved down the sendero.
The highlight of the scene was a massive drop-tined 10-pointer that looked like something out of a deer hunter’s dream. I was there to shoot does for the freezer but had just as much fun filming and photographing the behemoth as I would have shooting it.
The previous evening Dad shot a beautiful 18-inch eight pointer that was his second biggest buck, only behind a three main-beamed monster he bagged at the same ranch two years earlier. “That really is a nice buck. I’m so happy for you,” I said to Dad as I showed him a photo of it on my phone.
“Yeah. It is a nice,” he replied with a smirk.
“See anything this evening Dad?”
“A few does and a bunch of javelina, 15 of them,” he replied.
Dad then explained that a group of 14 javelina came out and fed on the corn scattered down the sendero and that he raised his rifle to shoot one but he just couldn’t do it.
“I really didn’t want to shoot a javelina and learned years ago not to shoot anything that I did not want,” he said.
“So, I decided to get some photos for you but when I got the camera positioned they all left.”
“Then something interesting happened,” he said.
“A lone javelina that had not been part of their group came out and virtually posed for me and let me take several good shots.”
Dad then turned on his camera, showed me some nice photos as a big smile came across his face.
“I really believe that was God’s way of showing me I did the right thing.”
“How awesome is that Dad? God has certainly shown us some amazing signs in nature hasn’t He?” I replied.
Two weeks before this trip we spent time at our friendThompson Temple’s Ranch and spent most of it talking about our faith in Jesus Christ. Thompson said that while we can’t talk to our deceased loved ones there is nothing that says we can’t ask God to send us a message from them or a confirmation they are with Him.
We briefly spoke about that and then decided to go quarter his buck that had been hanging in Scherer’s freezer.
While cleaning the buck with another gentleman and his wife who were hunting the ranch Dad suddenly said, “I think I overexerted myself.”
I walked over to help him from the squatted position he was in and he looked at me and said, “It’s not good.”
The couple who were helping us with the buck were EMTs and they worked on Dad and kept his heart beating for a good while, long enough for me to tell him I was proud to be his son, that me, mom, my wife Lisa and his beloved granddaughter Faith loved him.
I asked if he could hear me and he blinked his eyes.
Soon after Dad passed from this world into the arms of His Savior.
My head spun as I watched the man who introduced me to the great outdoors, supported everything I ever did and loved me unconditionally lifeless on the floor of the ranch house. I had to make some painful phone calls home and then make the seven hour drive back to Orange.
Just as I left the ranch gates at around 10 p.m., I came within a couple of feet of hitting a big boar javelina. Something about theanimal seemed surreal, almost as if I saw it in a strange kind of 3-D.
As I drove down the lonely highway in my Dad’s truck, realizing I would never get to hunt or fish with him again, I cried my eyes out in mourning of the man who was behind many of my successes in life.
Then I started praying.
“Lord, could you please send me a sign from Dad, a sign from you that He is alright?”
I knew without question where He was but at that moment not much seemed real. My life suddenly seemed like a very bad dream. And then came the still small voice.
“The javelina was your sign. Your Father is with me.”
It was not an audible voice but it was crystal clear in my spirit and gave me an immediate sense of peace.
You see our last conversation was about a lone javelina and how God used it to confirm that He made the right decision. Now it made sense why I got such a close look at the creature and why something about it seemed different.
The javelina was Heaven sent.
In my grief I did not notice but when I stopped to pray, things became clear.
I will never raise my rifle at a javelina, in honor of Dad and that amazing confirmation that what was temporal is now eternal.
Chester Moore, Sr. was a great man not because he had money, held a prestigious position or was famous. In fact, he was none of the above.
He was a great man because he loved greatly and shaped the lives of many people in powerful ways through that love-especially me, mom,Lisa, Faith and my close friends/brothers Bubba and Chris. The 400 people at his funeral proved that.
I miss you Dad and although I hope it’s not too soon I look forward to talking about our favorite subject-the Lord-in His very presence and seeing what amazing animals live in that very real place called Heaven.
Find a jaguar up there for me. You know they’re my favorite or perhaps a javelina.
Chester Moore, Jr.