I first met Jim on a very cold Sunday ten years ago after a foxhunting friend asked me if I would be going out with the Skycastle French Hounds the next day on the property adjoining mine. At that point I had been involved with foxhunting for just under 50 years, but had never gone out with a foot back, even though I was aware of footpacks. In fact, I had briefly met Jim’s predecessor Mrs. Streeter at her Skycastle Farm during an extra stop on a quest to buy a horse around 1970, but had no idea she was master of a footpack. Jim and Skycastle have provided me a way to continue to hunt with hounds for the past 10 years. Jim not only looked the part of a great master, he proved to be everything a master could be. Jim was great with the hounds; great with hunting; great leading the hunt. And he had an encyclopedic knowledge of the lore of hunting, and the people and the hounds involved with hunting over the years. When I visited Jim for the last time at Barclay Friends in early January 2019, we had an extensive conversation in which once again I learned quite a few things I had not known previously. I am grateful for the 10 years I knew Jim, grateful for the sport, and will miss him.
Jim was a kind and wonderful person. I knew him best as talented and witty artist. His invitations for our fraternity alumni events were peerless and brought smiles to all who received them. He was an estraordinary talent.
As I look upon a night
And see the skein of stars strung out,
I know for sure where my old hounds
Are running yet, are hunting still.
I seem to hear to my delight
Their hunting cries –
O glorious din!
My tired legs glow with new-found drive,
My aching lungs draw deep again.
The moon beams down in patches bright
On grass, on road, among the trees,
And seem to bring them back to me
For yet a while as I run on.
They dash in joyful headlong flight –
Their shapes stretch on beyond my ken.
I hunt a ghostly pack tonight –
Orion be my whipper-in!
-James Fagan Scharnberg