Life lessons learned from a sportsman’s mother

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek Birthday ballons? These were the marker buoys for the Air Show being towed into position by a boat.

Happy birthday Annie Pauszek!

That wiry little bundle of energy (on a very good day) is turning 89. For years, she said she was as old as Jack Benny — the timeless comedian who professed to be eternally 39 — but after a few years I finally caught on. I play pinochle with people who are older than either my mom or dad, who is 91, but the amazing story is how over eight years ago, the doctors gave my mom six months to live due to her heart.

It is amazing what a strong will and lots of prayer can do.

I ran into Ron Duliba at the Razor’s Big Dawg Walleye classic on Big Fish Friday. Duliba also lives in Arkwright, where my mom was born and raised along with two brothers, Larry and Ben Schilling, and four sisters, Helen, Bernice, Mercy and Katherine. After taking my mom for a doctor’s visit, we went for a ride around the old homestead atop Center Road. Annie then told me the sad story of how her father tried to walk up the hill in a blizzard because his car was stuck — he collapsed when he got in the house.

He was having a heart attack, so Annie had to get dressed, walk downhill in the blizzard to the neighbors, who then had to go by horseback to the nearest neighbor who had a telephone to call for assistance. No cell phones, 911 or rapid emergency response back then. Granddad passed away, and Annie and Larry quit school to help support the family, as did the rest of the children with Mercy and Ben eventually graduating high school. Annie got her GED when she was close to 65 and also got her drivers license and bought our family’s first car, a used Ford station wagon.

Mr. Duliba had also heard this story. Annie and her siblings along with her mom, Katherine, were country folk who lived close to the land, appreciated nature, a hard earned paycheck and the fruits of hard labor. She tolerated the zoo my brothers collected — except for snakes. She would cook whatever I could bring home from a day’s hunting or fishing including coots, ducks, merganzers, carp, bass, silver bass, etc. She could make it delicious, or at least edible.

Some days she can barely walk, but she still remembers where the blackberries used to grow and other childhood memories from the homestead. If you ever get a chance, watch the comedian Sinbad and his routine about his mother, who was small of stature but would turn into a Samurai-like warrior, wielding a disciplinary device to administer parental punishment. That was mom with red hair; she also was strict on schooling.

All six of us kids graduated, got married, (no divorces either, think about it) and we had numerous Salutatorians and one Valedictorian, from the grandchildren. She taught us about the importance of family, dressing for the weather, keeping your head covered during the winter, picking up after yourself, not littering, hard work, lots of walking, respect, appreciation and prayer. Thanks mom! Happy birthday from all your kids, family and friends!


The meeting of the Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen has been moved to Wednesday, July 19. The meeting will be held at the Jamestown Audubon and will start at 7 p.m. The move was necessary due to a conflict with the Chautauqua County Fair.

The next meeting of the Southtowns Walleye Association is on Thursday, July 19, at the club located at 5895 Southwestern Boulevard, Hamburg. Start time is 7:30 p.m. and meetings are open to the public.

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy will be giving a seminar at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on Sunday, Aug. 20 . Continue reading this column for further details.

Here is a summer fishing tournament for the weekend warrior or the veteran angler called the NYS Summer Classic Tournament. For details, rules and regulations go to: or call the tournament director, Tim Thomas, at (585) 330-0494.

There will be a pistol course at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on Thursday, July 20, from 5:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. There is a $75 fee for this course. For information and registration call Gary Dudek at 366-3397.

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host a .22 caliber pistol or rifle “spinner target” course on July 15, Aug. 5 and Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Cost is $10 per person and includes a hot dog or hamburger, chips and a non-alcoholic beverage. Open to the public. The Bear Lake Club will also host a 3-D archery shoot on July 30 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.. On Saturday Aug. 19, the BLR&G Club will host Chappy Outdoors, a 3-D benefit shoot with a 9 a.m. shotgun start. Contact Rudy Abersold at 397-9717 for information. All shoots are open to the public contact Rob at 485-3773, Tom at 680-0209 or the Club at 595-3334. The Bear Lake Club is located at 4391 Cassadaga-Stockton Road, Stockton 14784.

The seventh annual Sunset Bay Walleye Shootout is July 22 with an optional Big Fish Friday on July 21. For details call Don Ruppert at 498-7770 or Bob Rustowitz at 830-6394.

The Northern Chautauqua three-day walleye tournament will be held Aug. 4-6. For details contact Zen Olow at 640-2776.

The Innovative Outdoors Walleye Challenge from Chadwick Bay Marina is Aug. 26, with optional Big Fish Friday. For details contact Jim Steel at 983-7867 or visit

If your club or organization is holding a hunter safety training/trapping course or a turkey shoot or any other outdoors event, and would like to see it posted in the calendar, send information to the OBSERVER, 10 East Second Street, Dunkirk, N.Y. 14048, or call the sports dept. at 366-3000 ext. 5 after 6 p.m.

Note: If you have a big-game fishing or trapping success story you would like to share, call 366-1772, or 467-2079 and leave a name, phone number and a time you can be reached. You can also call 366-3000, ext. 5, after 6 p.m.

photo 01 Birthday Ballons? These were the marker bouys for the Air Show being towed into position by a boat.

photo by Gene Pauszek.