One of my fondest memories of my grandfather is his favorite story he loved to tell every time he visited. Though he had many fun and exciting stories, this specific story had quickly become my favorite also. It is the story of “Old Sly Eye”. As a younger boy, Grandpa Newman was outside in a large berry patch located in their backyard in Salt Lake City, UT. As he was picking raspberries, gooseberries, and blackberries he saw something slowly stirring towards him over on the row next to him. It was the biggest porcupine he had ever seen. He noticed his eyes blood red and the quills were like small arrows the Indians used.
He sat there looking mean and mad. Grandpa didn’t want the porcupine to get old Jazz, his sidekick dog, and fill him full of quills, so he hurried up to the house to get his gun. Unfortunately, his shotgun was out of shells and had to rely on the 22, the only other gun he had. With no other choice, he loaded the 22 and headed back down to the berry patch to find the porcupine. Grandpa silently went up and down the rows, but could not see him. Finally, as he approached the blackberries, there was the porcupine as if he was waiting there for him to come back. Grandpa and the porcupine were only a few feet from one another.
He knew his little 22 wasn’t as efficient as his shotgun. His plan was to shoot the porcupine in the eye in hopes to hit his brain. The trigger was pulled. Grandpa had shot the porcupine in the eye but amazingly didn’t hit his brain. He squealed and twisted and ran out of the patch. A stream of blood was left behind by the porcupine. Grandpa whistled at Jazz and they followed the trail of blood that led them to a canal. The porcupine was nowhere to be found. He had escaped into the water leaving no trace of him. Grandpa and Jazz sombered back home with no porcupine.
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Several weeks slowly passed by with no indication of the illusive porcupine. Grandpa had almost forgotten about him until one cool evening, when a full moon showed its face over Mt. Olympus. Out watering the field, a loud splashing noise arose through the grass. Grandpa carefully sauntered closer to the sound and peeked through the grass. There he was, the big porcupine snarling and showing his teeth. Grandpa instantly knew it was the same porcupine he shot because he only had one eye. Over time grandpa had tried to stay out of the one eyed porcupine’s way, but from time to time he would appear in the field and yard.
Grandpa named the porcupine, Old Sly Eye. Over the years, Sly Eye lingers around the berry patch at night, trying not to be seen. I don’t know how old I was when I realized the story I loved to hear was fictitious. As children, Grandpa Newman would take us in the dark night with flashlights to that same canal searching for that one-eyed porcupine. To this day, grandpa still repeats this story to all his great grandchildren as though he still believes these events occurred. It’s a story that will be told for generations to come.
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