The thousands of the Colonel's loyal legions who imbibe liberally of the literary libations ladled out in posts hereon must, in light of his lengthy cyberspace leave-taking, manifested in a three-week lapse of posts, be worrying that some significant circumstance or serious malady may have befallen him.
For the 'Bama and LSU grads (no explanation needed nor effective for the largely illiterate 'Bama and LSU fans) who may have stumbled upon this site in the frantic search for cut-rate chewin' tobacco and frozen corndogs: the Colonel ain't wrote nuthin' in three weeks and all y'all must be worried that he got sick or sumthin'.
Actually, January happened.
The first month of the calendar year has nearly always been a time of concentrated activity for the Colonel. This January, in particular, has witnessed an amplified confluence of conditions and requirements conspiring to consume the Colonel's every waking moment (and a significant portion of his dreams).
As his readers will remember, the Colonel is a member of an elite, yet egalitarian, band of brothers stricken by an incurable obsession with the idiocy known as duck hunting. January, here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere, is coincident with the migratory crescendo of that most magnificent of waterfowl -- Anas platyrhynchos. Aka: mallard, greenhead, big duck, [insert deleted expletive exclaimed by duck hunters upon the hunted's failure to decoy and present itself for marksmanship display] duck.
Duck hunting necessitates rising to the alarm hours before dawn; dressing in more layers than worn by the men of Byrd's expedition; enduring a boat ride in the dark that exposes one's self to face-frosting wind-chill and the ever-present danger of drowning; donning chest waders and hauling decoy bags, guns, and enough ammunition to wage a counter-insurgency campaign a quarter of a mile into the "secret spot;" breaking the ice in the "secret spot" in order to place several dozen decoys in open water; and standing motionless in thigh-deep, freezing water for hours, while blowing on a kazoo.
It is a sickness bordering on depravity.
The Colonel loves it.
January is not just about duck hunting, however. There is also the tail-end of the deer season to be celebrated with frequent frosty forays afield.
This January (a moment of thanks for Global Warming -- the advent of which the Colonel welcomes with wide open frost-bitten hands) has been one of the most mild on record. Therefore, the Colonel has not had bad weather as an excuse to keep him from felling tall timbers and sawing lumber.
The Colonel's infantry-ravaged back is not such a big fan of Global Warming.
Then there is football.
Specifically, the most important football game of the season: The First Baptist Church of Abbeville Adult Versus Youth Flag Football Game.
As the Colonel is now into the latter half of his fifth air-breathing decade of riding the big blue marble 'round Ol' Sol, he has had to begin his preparation for participation in the game with much more seriousness than in previous years.
The Colonel has marked off forty yards on the front lawn of the Big House here aboard Eegeebeegee and has been conducting conditioning drills. The Colonel's favorite is wind sprints.
The other day, the Colonel's Lady -- the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda -- stepped out on the front porch to give the Colonel some encouragement, "Hey, knucklehead, what in the world are you doing?"
"Gettin' in shape for the big game."
"Big game? Thought I expressly forbade you from exposing yourself to ridicule and the threat of serious injury. You are not allowed to play football, anymore."
"Thanks for your kind words of encouragement, dear. Gives me motivation for these wind sprints."
"Yep," the Colonel explained between ragged breaths, "they're," huff, "my," puff, "favorite."
The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda blinked and her face assumed the visage of stark amazement with which she beholds the exploits of her man.
"I thought you were supposed to run wind-sprints."