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Super Senior: Harley Grice and Ernie Malzac

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 4:17 PM EDT
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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s been said you should start a story off with your best shot.

Keeping Harley Grice smiling would be a challenge as it took a while for the retired farmer to warm up to me.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You’re going to be sick of me.

Harley Grice: I am already.

This is a story about a 70 year friendship in rural Middlebury. Ernie Malzac and Harley Grice grew up about a mile apart. Both hunted together as kids.

“Way back then, when I was in school I used to hurry home on my bicycle and grab my .22 and go out and get a gray squirrel,” Malzac said.

It was a different time. Hunting wasn’t just a sport.

Reporter Joe Carroll: What’s squirrel taste like?

Ernie Malzac: Good. When you’re hungry...

“Ten of us lived in that little barn for a year-and-a-half until they got the house built,” Malzac said.

Both men are still neighbors with a common interest -- having a blast with muzzleloaders. Grice set up a firing range years ago on his property.

Both were also on target when they needed each other after they lost their wives just two months apart. Grice’s wife, Marilyn, to cancer, and Ernie’s wife, Lorraine, to a car accident.

“It seemed like the early evening when it would really bother me,” Malzac said. "After a while you’d get over it.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Do you?

Ernie Malzac: Keep right on going.

Reporter Joe Carroll: I guess you can cope. I don’t know if you ever get over it.

Harley Grice: No, you never get over it. I miss her everyday.

Ernie Malzac: Definitely.

Harley Grice: Everyday I miss her.

The couples did everything together. Malzac was even in the Grice’s wedding. “Right here, look at you peeking around,” Grice said.

Finally, it was this reporter’s turn to take a few shots -- a first...

“Wow, look at that, 3 o’clock in the bull’s eye,” observed Malzac. “Beginner’s luck.”

“Very good for a guy that’s blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other,” Grice said. “You’re a good guy Joe.”

Trash talk never sounded sweeter, where even a miss is a hit. “I’ve been blessed. The Lord has blessed me with a beautiful family and friends,” Grice said.

“Very good, very good,” added Malzac.

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