I got some sad news today from my friend Father Joe Classen in St. Louis, MO. Gene Kopp, who was one of our hosts on our turkey hunt last spring in Missouri, has cancer and is not doing well, Father Joe informed me today. He is in need of prayer, which I plan on offering today in the adoration chapel at Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul, my parish.
Gene is a delightful gentleman who, along with his brother Glenn, welcomed Father Joe and I to their farm to hunt turkeys and share in a delicious afternoon meal after the hunt. Their hospitality was warm, gracious and very much appreciated. I have had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people during my experiences in the woods and waters and Gene is one of them. Ditto for Glenn. That is precisely why this news especially saddens me.
Relating with landowners can be a challenge for hunters because it often doesn’t take much for a landowner to get turned off and start turning away hunters. I try to behave in all the right ways when I’m afield, but I do worry about making mistakes that will upset the landowners.
Gene and Glenn put me at ease from the very beginning and sent a clear message that I was welcome on their farm. On our second morning, Father Joe and I got to their farm before sunup and went out hunting without talking to Gene or Glenn. Later, we split up and I eventually made my way back to the farmhouse, where the two men were sitting on the porch. Upon seeing me, they immmediately got up to introduce themselves and ask if I would like a cold beer. It was hot, I was thirsty and my answer was quick.
I believe God honors such generosity and I pray God, in turn, will be generous in His love, mercy and healing power to Gene and Glenn during this time.