KEVIN TATE: Counting our blessings at the beginning of a new year

By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer

Last week, I had the privilege of presenting an award at a trade show to the family of a man I knew only by reputation, and what I learned has been a reminder to me to count all the small blessings I too often ignore.
The award winner was the co-founder and publisher of a magazine that focuses on the archery industry. The magazine has been in business for 15 years and is successful, which means his days were filled with every headache anyone could imagine and lots more they couldn’t.
Its success is evidence he dedicated a tremendous share of his life force to making the enterprise work.
In addition to the necessities of business, he also undertook to write the magazine’s equipment reviews for every edition himself. I was familiar with the publication so, in preparation for last week’s event, I re-read a few of the last ones he’d done. Called “The Bow Report” and focused on the specific intricacies of new developments and innovations in advanced compound bows and their components, the reports nonetheless read like the fine outdoor writing they were. More than a scientific paper on developments only an engineer could appreciate or their mother could love, there was a genuine enthusiasm on the part of the author, a joy and an energy that conveyed an excitement and translated the potential of the new gear, something all of his former coworkers swore was true to who Bill was.
Reading those reports, knowing how dry they could have been and seeing how appealing they were instead reminded me of a conversation I’d had with a friend a few months prior. This friend, originally from Tupelo, manages a world-class lodge and spa on the Colorado-Wyoming state line. The private property contains 200,000 acres of some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. The views take a visitor’s breath away anew around every curve of the road, but the backdrop is also his office, one from which he manages a tremendous work load and a broad array of personnel under a great deal of responsibility. He loves what he does, but I had to ask him if, in light of the job, the landscapes ever lose their impact.
“You’d be surprised how soon you just forget to notice it,” he said, and I knew exactly what he meant, which brings me back to Bill Krenz and last week’s award.
Bill died unexpectedly a year prior to receiving the award, so he wasn’t there to accept it. I sure am glad he won it, though, because it was another reminder to me to take time to pull back from the trees, every now and then, and appreciate the whole forest.
Kevin Tate is V.P. of Media Productions for Mossy Oak in West Point.