Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Quacking Up

The e-mail traffic between my younger son (Jeremy), his best friend (Jason), and me (the Colonel) yesterday crowded out all other rational thinking for the day. It began innocuously with a message from Jason noting that he and Jeremy had seen a lot of ducks at their hunting spot last weekend and that the water levels required to attract and hold ducks were improving. He concluded with the observation that, and I quote verbatim, "THIS IS THE LAST WEEKEND OF THE SEASON," and the suggestion that I drive 8 hours north on Friday, hunt with them on Saturday, and then drive 8 hours south on Sunday. The ensuing replies-to-all devolved into some totally inappropriate references to my advanced age and innability to shoot and then was capped with a message containing some drivel from my son about the duck hunting trip being an opportunity to spend quality time with him.

It is worth noting at this point, that from a true duck hunters perspective, driving a 16 hour round trip to spend several hours standing in waste deep freezing water, makes perfect sense. Despite the fact that I can in no way rationalize the trip--it would require canceling several other obligations and enduring several rounds of spousal frowns and scowls--I am seriously planning to go.

Just so you understand the height of idiocy this trip, and the whole idea of hunting ducks, evokes, let me add some data from my duck-hunting trip with Jeremy the week after Christmas. I drove the 8 hours to his home in Mississippi. We then drove an hour to Jason's house to spend the night. Actually we only spent half the night, because we were up and pulling on long johns at 3 the next morning. We drove another hour to a boat ramp on the Little Tallahatchee River, launched our boat, and motored upstream a couple miles in fog so thick you choked on it. Reaching the furthest point navigable by boat, we loaded several dozen decoys on our backs, carried shotguns and enough ammunition to sustain a military coup in a banana republic under our arms, and hiked what Jeremy promised was only a couple hundred yards (I believe it was more like 5 miles) to his "honey hole." Upon arrival at said "honey hole," we discovered no honey, and more importantly, no water. Our excursion was extended by "just another 100 yards, or so" (I believe it was another 5 miles) to find a beaver pond that held enough water to attract ducks. We placed decoys out, didn't do it to satisfy my perfectionist son (he gets that from his mother), took them all up and moved them, and then gathered brush to conceal ourselves. Mind you, all of this took place in the dark. We hunted ALL DAY, saw a total of 6 ducks close enough to shoot, and then repeated the decoy/gun/ammo-lugging hike, in reverse, in the dark. I don't remember anything after arriving at the boat--I passed out from exhaustion and remained comatose until we got home.

Well, better start loading the truck.
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