I have been to Alaska one time, and I want to go back.
This was in June, mind you. I'm not sure I would do well there now, in the dead of winter. The snow, ice and frigid temperatures we are experiencing just don't seem to be my favorite things these days.
Call it getting older if you want to (I won't), but I can do without all this Jack London weather. (If you don't know what that means, go look it up,)
So while we are talking about some of my least favorite things, let's bring up this trait of some people wishing their life away. "I can't wait for this" or "I can't wait for that" seems to be more and more in vogue. Hunters and fishermen, I notice, have picked up this bad habit. We are constantly wishing for a hunting season or a time of year to get here.
Slow down, folks! The days go by quickly, and the older you get, the faster it goes. (For you kids out there, I didn't believe it either when I was young.)
We barely get through summer, and some of us are going on about longing for deer season. The late deer season days are hardly over, and you will hear hunters wishing the spring turkey season was here. Trout fishing begins in the chilly days of early spring, and bass fishermen will be yearning for deep summer. You get the idea.
Well, if you think all of this prattle is brought on by the recent weather, you are absolutely right. As I sit and stare out the window of Guns & Cornbread headquarters, I wonder if it is similar in Siberia or Nome, Alaska, or some other chilled location. In truth, I've only been sequestered for about three days as I write this, but enough is enough.
In wrestling with this frozen dilemma, I decided to go against what I said up there earlier: Let's fight this winter weather by thinking what it is like in a warmer climate sometimes!
As many of you know, spring for me usually means spring turkey season. If you are a turkey hunter, you know that the wild turkey, especially in springtime, can be one of the most confounding creatures on earth. Wild turkey gobblers will do things the hunter has never seen before and had no idea was about to happen. There are times when you just cannot figure them out. We will look at a couple of these scenarios to prove my point.
"Cod, if you think I'm going back down into that hellhole for this turkey, you are certifiable," my buddy John gasped between breaths and wiped a bead of sweat from the end of his nose.
I was inclined to agree. We had just spent most of the morning making our way into a precarious "blue gorge," as John called it, while pursuing a very contrary gobbler.
The steep hollow was full of house-sized boulders and more than a few rhododendron thickets, and it made a wonderful place for the turkey to play what seemed to be a demented game of hide and seek. Now, just as we tried to stagger back up the mountain and leave the gobbler's funhouse, a faint gobble drifted up from the abyss.
We were hot and tired, and it was a long way back to the truck. I knew I would be back in this area again, but I made a vow that I would never ever pursue this particular gobbler again. He could live out his days in that terrible gorge he called home. Fine with me.
Another time I sat for a timed hour and a half waiting on a late season turkey to show himself. Now those of you who pursue the king of game birds know this, but when you are calling in an eastern wild turkey, you cannot move. I mean not move a finger, twitch an ear or (God forbid) swat at a mosquito or a gnat. If you do any of these and the turkey is anywhere he can see you, he is gone. I mean gone like he will leave town and not come back.
On this particular beautiful late spring morning, I was having an off-and-on conversation with an old reprobate gobbler. We had casual talk all morning, but he never really acted like he was going to walk into view and get shot. Now with the sun high and it getting late for shooting hours, he was slowly working his way into my neighborhood. I had been sitting for a long time, and it was anything but comfortable. The standard rock and/or tree root was directly under my posterior, and my arms and back had been holding up a heavy shotgun for too long.
A thundering gobble woke me from a daze, and I realized he was close, very close, well within range, but I could not see him (of course). I am convinced that turkeys know how to do this. They are just out of sight, behind some brush or just under a rise in the forest floor. They can gobble and strut and raise all manner of heck, but they are safe as can be.
Meanwhile, you are straining not to move, keep your shotgun pointed in what you hope is his direction, and not raise a hand as a swarm of gnats devours both of your ears. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? (It's not.)
So, have I made my point? While this winter weather is pretty miserable right now, sometimes we humans aren't that happy in warmer climes as well. Take heart, my friends: March will be here before you know it, and we can complain about the mud instead of the snow.
Oh, you wonder about that old turkey I was about to shake hands with?
Never saw him. He came in close, gobbled one time and slipped away like a wraith in the night.
I admit I have some solace that he is out there sleeping on a cold limb at night, and I can sit by the fire.
"Guns & Cornbread" is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, W.Va. You can write to him at email@example.com.