“Shorty McGraw”

By George D. Stout


Just how tall was Shorty McGraw, I wanted so to know

It was said he was but five foot three, yet he shot a hundred pound bow

One day I happened by his house and knocked upon the door

I heard a rustle from inside, and footsteps crossed the floor



I was greeted by an older man, who asked, “How do you do?”

I said, “I’m fine, my name is George, and I’d like to talk to you.”

He said, “come in.” “What is it son that you would like to know?”

I asked if he would show me that quite famous, hunting bow



He crossed the floor and opened up a cupboard by the wall

And took from it, a straight-limbed bow, no more than five feet tall

He kept it in a canvas bag , hung from a curved, brass hook

Next to a bamboo fly rod, and a leather-bound, old book



He turned and came to where I sat, and opened up the bag

And pulled the longbow from inside, and wiped it with a rag

To clear the dust, and all that else that gathered on its limb

Then opened up himself, to say what this bow means to him



He told me how his bow has grown , with a twinkle in his eyes

And with each tale, it grows some more, in stature and in size

A single piece of wood, it was; backed with a hickory strip

With red oak, and a leather wrap, to make a fitting grip



I asked him of the hundred pounds, and how he pulled such weight

He laughed and said, “that too, has grown; ‘tis really fifty-eight!

But years ago, a big man asked, how much weight is your bow?

You seem quite small, I’ll bet it’s just a forty pound or so!”



“I offered him to pull it back, since he hand none of his own,

He grasped the string and gave a heave , and let out with a groan!”

“My God!” He yelled, “ That bow must be the heaviest around!”

“I looked at him and said, Oh no….it’s just a hundred pounds!



He walked away, and to this day, the legend has grown, and still

There’s talk the bow is really one that was made by Howard Hill

But that’s not so, I made it from an old cut locust rail

And backed it with a pignut strip, I found along the trail”



I sat all day, and listened to his stories from the past

Then it was time for me to go, and we had to part at last

He put the bow back in the bag and give my hand a pat

And said, “It’s been a pleasure…stop again, so we can chat.”



I never made it back again, and now it seems a shame

His passing merely brought a mention of his proper name

It brought no clue, for me and you, why Shorty was his call

The man I knew, had surely grew, to be nearly ten feet tall



A humble, unassuming man, he had led a quiet life

And left his mere possessions to his children and his wife

His bow now lay across the rack that hangs upon his wall

To remind us of a giant man, my friend Shorty McGraw