American Field

Readers Respond . . .

By Tommy Stargell | Feb 07, 2019

Scottsville, Va. — Age and experience have shown me over and over that I know very little about bird dogs and field trials. But age has given me insight as to what, I believe, is most critical to this sport: the preservation of its history.

How soon we forget, and how soon those who can tell us slip away.

Frankly, I do not see us as being very good stewards of the past. Few of us are willing to take the time, to make the calls, to conduct the interviews, or to just sit and talk. Making the efforts, doing the required research and, God forbid, writing things down on paper is becoming unappreciated and a lost skill.

Well, this has been a long-winded exercise leading to the fact the Mr. Robert Franks did take the time. I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed his article — yes a real ARTICLE — in the January 26, 2019  issue of The American Field. He is my new hero.

I also applaud his simplistic writing style and I hope he realizes this is a high compliment. He did the only three things necessary for writing great nonfiction: 1. Choose a subject of merit; 2. Do your homework and find the best primary resources possible; 3. Shut the hell up and let them tell the story.

Mr. Franks is to be commended and since there are many many more dogs, personalities and stories out there, Sir, please do this again. Maybe others will pick up the gauntlet.

I hope The American Field realizes what an asset this article was and  how much it was enjoyed. Perhaps The Field, the AFTCA, the Bird Dog Foundation or another trial organization (region, trial club, breed association) could interest aspiring writers, researchers or just folks who don’t want the glorious past to escape us further.

Obviously, The Field is a perfect vehicle for publication but others are possible. The main thought here is to bring the history alive for us now and then preserve it for future generations.

Again, thank you Mr. Franks.


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