Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 47

By | January 8, 2024

[January 8, 2024]  It was an amazing shot.  With my handmade slingshot and an eagle-eyed aim, I knocked a giant fat squirrel right out of the oak tree.  The shot was one in a hundred.  From where I stood, I could see the squirrel jumping limb to limb, always on the move, doing what a squirrel does.  He must have been a good 25 feet away.  I’m sure he saw me.  To my surprise, when the squirrel hit the ground and hit it hard with a thump, the next thing I saw was him scampering away like nothing at all happened.

I had made my slingshot meticulously, ensuring the stretch bands were cut precisely with quality bicycle innertube rubber.  It was the best I’d ever made, and I was proud to use it and show off my work.  Like art, it was a masterpiece.  Yet, every kid had their own slingshot and also a toolbox of items for boys to do what boys do,

All my friends had handmade tools and toys, and we learned how to use them properly; otherwise, the older boys would surely get some severe ribbing.  Like adults, we boys could measure our big-boy status by the number and quality of our tools and toys, especially what we made with our bare hands.  We made most of them when I grew up, except for guns, knives, and bicycles.  There was pride in hand-making our tools and toys, and we showed them off to all our friends after getting our Dads’ double-checks to ensure they were good enough.  And this is when we first learned safety.

I made my first kite when I was ten, a standard diamond-shaped kite with a long tail.  My Dad built a box kite late that summer, but we couldn’t get it to stay aloft; it was probably too heavy, or there was not enough wind.  My kite flew high, yeah!  I made a musical flute and got pretty good at playing it, but I think I drove my parents a little crazy.  And I carved a “snake killer” stick that I used when walking in the woods.  I’d used my pocket knife to carve creative designs into the stick, making it look cool and functional.  I was sometimes scared, but many rattlesnakes died after running into me.  I could never figure out how to make a good sailboat because mine always capsized and got waterlogged.  My sailboats never sailed.  It’s a good thing I never was a Navy sailor.  I helped my Dad build several birdhouses for our backyard, and we gave most of them away to neighbors.  That was a lot of fun learning how to saw with a jigsaw without cutting off my fingers, and it was satisfying, too.  With ingenuity, persistence, help from my Dad, finding suitable materials, and luck, my friends and I could build just about anything.  Almost.

Handmade tools and toys made our lives easier, and we played games with them all, sometimes involving some risk.  For example, I always carried a fixed-blade knife, except not to church; Mom searched me good before we left home.  Many years ago, my good friend Wilson jumped off a trestle railroad bridge one day while carrying a folding pocket knife, his slingshot, strips of innertube rubber, string, a yo-yo, and strike anywhere matches, and after hitting the water below, he promptly lost them.  I was with him when he jumped.  I was scared that he’d drowned.  He was more mad about losing his “good stuff” than his life.  None of us gave a thought to him losing his tools until later.  He cried, and not because he might have died but because he lost all his good stuff.

That squirrel got a second chance at life.  Us boys survived, even if there were close calls, so we also got a second chance, or third, or fourth.  Looking back on my reckless days, I’m amazed we lived to advance to junior high.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

31 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 47

  1. Eddie Gilliam

    Squirrel man. We welcome you to the blog. Congratulations on your achievement no alcohol. Staying focus and not allowing is set back to set you back. We’ll here for you. We don’t judge a person by their pass. We all have a pass.
    Gen my friend. You was a David with the sling shot. Making things at young age prepared you for your service career in engineering.
    I built my own kite and sling shot. Got in trouble several times shooting at wrong things. 😕
    Grown up in the country and poor we had to make our toys to play with

    1. Squirrel Man

      Hey, I resent that …. just joking. I just discovered this website and leadership. Wow, great content and I see that this is no recent creation but a site over 10 years old. That is amazing. I hope to learn a tad about leadership, about people, and how to be a little more humble in my outlook on life. I have given up alcohol and now my life has turned around and headed in the right direction. This website is helping me see it. I will get a copy of “55 Rules for a Good Life” and maybe it will help me more.

  2. Da Man

    Gen. Satterfield, you da man with this letter to your granddaughter. Well done, once again in entertaining us and telling us that we do need to “connect the dots” to our past and learn to live with it.

  3. Raw Hide

    The squirrel got a second chance, and that is what I liked to hear.

    1. Mikka Solarno

      🐿️🌰🌰🌰 Crazy reading today with a squirrel as the main character. 🐿️🌰🌰🌰
      Keep these letters coming our way, Gen. Satterfield …. we love them all. I can’t wait to read #100. Or MORE!

  4. Dead Pool Guy

    Nothing like a great letter to get my thinking juices going. Yep, I do love these letters, but, hey, I’m 55 years old and I have grandkids just like Gen. Satterfield and they live a long way from me. So I don’t see them often, and this is very common in a modern world where travel is easy and cheap. So, i too have resorted to writing letters to my grandkids and they are old enough to read them, although not yet old enough to really understand them. At least they will be treasured.

  5. Jonathan B.

    Gen. Satterfield, this is a great letter that just made me smile. Yes, boys do have a habit of making those things they want because there is much more personal satisfaction when you do it yourself, rather than buying something in the store. And also, if your handmade item breaks, you know how to fix it or make another. Your letters to your granddaughter sure make my day.

  6. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Powerful, funny, enlightening. and just what I want to read when I get out of bed in the morning. Thanks, Gen. S.

    1. The Toad

      Otto, yeah, same here with me. I have another long week ahead of me at work, but I’ll get to post this article on the company bulletin board and watch as people walk by, read it, smile, and then move on. That gives me some satisfaction that others are reading it and enjoying the article for what it is. Sometimes, folks will ask me why these letters are numbered, and while I don’t know, it matters little in the scheme of things when reading them. For me the numbering just makes it easier to distinguish between letters.

  7. Gibbbie

    You can read alot of articles on the web and be bored out of your mind but if you read this blog, you won’t be bored ever. The articles are wide-ranging and this is just another example. Love it. ❤ Too bad that Gen. Satterfield doesn’t write at least one more article per day. 🤷‍♂️ I know that I would enjoy it and i’m sure many others here would say the same. Please continue your series, Gen. S. into this year 2024 and we will be here to follow.

  8. Yusaf from Texas

    I nearly fell out of my armchair when I read the introduction to this “letter to my granddaughter.” Gen. Satterfield sure knows how to draw my attention:
    “It was an amazing shot. With my handmade slingshot and an eagle-eyed aim, I knocked a giant fat squirrel right out of the oak tree. The shot was one in a hundred. From where I stood, I could see the squirrel jumping limb to limb, always on the move, doing what a squirrel does. He must have been a good 25 feet away. I’m sure he saw me. To my surprise, when the squirrel hit the ground and hit it hard with a thump, the next thing I saw was him scampering away like nothing at all happened.” — Gen. Doug Satterfield
    Great words. 👀👀👀 Hello from TEXAS!

  9. Edward G.

    Funny and educational. Gen. Satterfield should be a teacher. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    1. Bryan Z. Lee

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing Edward. But you and I know that is the point here. If a person doesn’t enjoy reading the articles, they won’t read them. Gen. Satterfield has a kind of “dry humor” that is rare these days.

  10. lydia truman

    Gen. Satterfield, first Happy New Year. Second, thanks for another one of your days as a little boy in the Deep South. You sure have a style that is easy to read and funny as well.

    1. JT Patterson

      And that is why I read this website every day. If I miss a day, it’s like I have withdrawal from not drinking coffee. That said, my dog is here trying to get a treat out of me, and the coffee pot is ready for my first cup. Reading this blog by Gen. Doug Satterfield and drinking coffee with my dog by my side is the best way to start my day. Thanks all for being part of this leadership forum, I learned a great deal.

  11. Max Foster

    Gen. Satterfield has given us even more to think about with this letter. He was trying to knock a squirrel out of a tree and SUCCEEDED. But something happened that was unpredictable for him, the squirrel escaped. I’m sure he was surprised esp. that the little animal actually got up and ran away like nothing had happened. For him, that meant learning that sometimes things don’t work out like you want them to be. I suggest others who are reading this series note that Gen. S. had also hunted and he used these animals for food (it was his mom who cooked them). Have a great new year to all my acquaintances here on https://www.theleadermaker.com. 🤷‍♂️

  12. Lady Hawk

    There was probably a skateboard or two in there also. Thank you Gen. Satterfield for making my day. I hope and wish that your granddaughter, the first in her generation, finds these letters worthy of reading and that she learns about you and also how to be a “better person” and “have a good life.” You certainly have provided her with a head start.

    1. Janna Faulkner

      Correct. These letters are much more than entertainment but lessons in how to have a good life. That means you have to work for it, learn skills along the way, and get along with others. ❤

      1. Liz at Home

        So true, Janna and Lady Hawk. We can all learn from these letters, not just about Gen. S. but about ourselves.

  13. The Observer

    Woah! Number 47 in this long series ….. and I might add, a superb #47 at that. Gen. Satterfield has given us another insight into his soul and we can come out smiling for his misfortunes and accomplishments with handmade tools.


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