- I’m think I’m Egg. Zhaust. Ed. Between helping my ex out with the kids on her days, work stuff, Gilly’s work stuff, potty training a puppy, and the baseball playoffs, I’m in need of about 4 extra hours each week. But I’m sure no one else has that problem . . . (wry grin)
- Speaking of “wry” – I feel like we are all friends now, and so I should tell you that I picked “Catcher in the Rye” for my book report in 6th grade ’cause I thought it was about baseball.
- It wasn’t.
- I’m thinking about opening a Betty Ford type clinic, only instead of alcohol abuse, it would deal with smart phone addiction. Cause I’m telling ya’ll, somebody is gonna make a mint off this idea.
- I think I have a Sam’s club sized bag of peanut butter M&M’s sitting next to me as I write this . . . and I look over and Coleman the Wonderdog has his face buried in it like a feed sack. Some of his favorite things – peanut butter, chocolate, and hard crunchy candy shells. He also likes dark chocolate, avocado, grapes – basically anything he can get his paws on that could cause him to die. Also wallowing in armadillo poop.
- I think last week I mentioned that I consider eating at Chick-fil-A to be the same as tithing. I’ve decided to add Chipolte to that list as well. I don’t know that Chipolte is Christian-owned, but I love it the same or better, so I’m counting it.
- I think I started the kids off on the first season of “the Munsters” last week. There’s something very pure about watching an old TV show like that – the slapstick-y comedy, the corny special effects, Fred Gwynne. We watched the one where Herman and Lily get invited to a costume party with Marylin’s boyfriend’s parents, and the dad dresses up as Frankenstein. Gold, Jerry, pure gold.
- The following posts are forthcoming: Stuff on Coley’s head. The Great Hamster Hunt of 2013. My thoughts on church. Gilly’s invisible friends. And more, folks. Much, much more.
Saturday was the opening day of dove season in Florida.
I love dove hunting. Ever since I was a kid, most years, first weekend in October, you’ll find me and my dad in some field somewhere around Polk County. There have been times we’ve had to drive for hours. There have been days in the rain. Some are milder, although it’s usually close to 90 on opening day.
I’ve sat in blackberry patches and palmetto patches and cow pens. Pastures and orange groves and millet fields.
Saturday, we were able to finagle an invite to a private shoot, on a high dollar field. Tickets to shoot this field typically go for $75/person; we were able to go for free, due to a miscommunication on the outfitter’s side (read: he told us we were booked, but he didn’t bother to book it) . . .
So we meet up with our contact, and sit through the safety briefing . . . after clarifying the rules, our outfitter took us to the hayfield.
Y’all, this hayfield was a beautiful hayfield Giant rolls of hay dotting it in a random pattern, edged by palmettos and pine trees. A great place.
The outfitter gets out of his truck and walks back and says . . . “Well, what do y’all think?”
To which I replied “You tell me . . . I’ve never been here in my life.”
Him: “Well, I don’t really know anything about dove hunting. But I’m pretty sure there are birds everywhere. Ya’ll give this a few hours, and we’ll check on you to see how it’s going.”
To which I thought a couple of things:
- I am a fishing guide. I make most of my money doing IT work, but I also guide, mostly in salt water. I take people to catch snook, and tarpon, and trout and redfish. And so I’m looking at this the same way I’d look at a fishing charter, only I’m the customer. You guys, I cannot imagine a scenario under which I’d take my clients out to a beach or dock or island, and drop them off, and say, “Well, I’ve never fished here, ’cause I don’t fish for the fish you want to catch, but you give it a little while and let me know if you don’t catch anything.” Yeah right.
- Um – staying in that same vein – how about I pick up my charter at the dock and say, “well, what do y’all think of this spot? Think it’ll work?” I could probably write off repeat business . . .
- How, oh how, do I not know someone with an extra 20 acres of land? Because if these knuckleheads can take you on a dove hunt without knowing anything about dove hunting, imagine someone, who, you know, had actually done it a couple dozen times in his life could do!!!
Anyway. Pops (my dad, who Will has named Pops) drops Liv and I off and we tote our chairs out to a hay bale. He and Will then drive a quarter of a mile back around the field and park under some trees.
At this point, in most dove hunts, I’d tell you all about how birds began trickling in, one here, one there, blahblahblah.
Only. There was one problem with this dove field. It had no doves.
We saw bald eagles, and purple martins, meadowlarks and kestrels and buzzards and a mockingbird or two. We saw a spider balancing on a piece of hay that was balanced on top of a blade of grass. We saw a banana spider that was as big as my hand.
But no doves.
We drank Mountain Dews and ate candy bars and a good luck bag of M&M’s and a good luck bag of Twizzlers. We had guacamole chips and cheese puffs.
Nary a dove.
The hay bale had bird feathers on it. I’m not an expert on bird feathers, but these were small and gray, and, well, dove like. If this had been an episode of Blue’s Clues, I’m telling you, everything was pointing “Dove” . . .
Have you ever driven around town and noticed doves? There were seven in my front yard yesterday. I don’t have anything special for doves out there . . . grass? Ant beds? Hydrangeas? But seven doves, right there, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
And yet, in this beautiful hay field, where you can pay $75 to shoot doves, with a wonderful breeze and good luck candy and a father/daughter duet of “America the Beautiful” as two eagles flapped overhead – no doves.
So we sat, and we talked, and we joked and laughed and teased. Sometimes we’d just sit in silence, until one of us asked the other “have you killed anything?” Will walked the quarter of a mile to us; twice. Once he was barefoot. He wanted to know if we’d seen any doves. He and Pops hadn’t. Will had successfully shot a palmetto bush 20 times in a row. It was the size of a small farmhouse. But he never missed it.
He had finished all of their Twizzlers, and worked on ours, which was fine, because Liv doesn’t really like Twizzlers; she’d merely choked down a bite of one as a good luck gesture. It didn’t work. Oh well – better to teach the kids that superstitions are silly, right?
Around 5, the outfitter calls to check in with us. How are we doing? Um, bro, did ya’ll line this property with dove repellant? ‘Cause the law of large numbers says it’d be hard to find a piece of property in Central Florida anywhere where you could sit for 5 hours and not see a dove . . .
Still, there’s something special about the opening day of dove season. How often, as a parent, do you get to sit with your kid, uninterrupted, for 5 hours? No cell phone, no iPad, no TV. We talked about school and church and crickets and spiders and buzzards and teachers and boyfriends and fishing and hay bales and palmettos and Duck Dynasty and shotgun shells and Twizzlers and brothers and birthday parties and Europe and passports and . . . and . . . and . . . no doves.
Before we leave, we crack open a 4-pack of YooHoos, and toast to an afternoon spent in the hayfield . . .
No doves? Still a pretty successful day . . .
- I think the thinking that gets me in the most trouble these days is as follows: I’m leaving the office, heading to pick up the kids, and I haven’t stopped to eat lunch. I’m in a hurry, because I’ve pushed my time constraints to their absolute limit, and I know that I really have to beat it to make it to Will’s school in time . . . but I’m starving. And Chick-fil-A is there, but, bless their hearts, they are on the other side of the road, which means going up to the light, circling the building umpteen times to get through the drivethrough, then meandering back out to the light and waiting for it to change so I can get where I need to go. I love CFA . . . I feel as though their honey-roasted barbecue sauce is the stuff of dreams . . . I deduct money I spend there as “tithe” on my taxes . . . but I just cannot make it happen quickly. And where I get in trouble is with Dairy Queen. It looms on my right, easy in, easy out, no line, no tax implications . . . boom, Medium Oreo Blizzard with Chocolate Ice Cream. Lunch – Check! Convenience – Check! Blown diet – Check!
- There is some manner of debate among my friends about milkshake(s) and quality of the aformentioned CFA, and Zaxby’s. Lemme just say this – if I’m in unfamiliar territory, I will track down a CFA milkshake like that bloodhound in that Blake Shelton song . . . but, and this is an enormous, Sir-Mix-a-lot sized but, if I am anywhere near Winter Haven, there is no debate – Andy’s Igloo has the greatest milkshake in the history of the world, and I will drive up to 30 minutes to acquire one over any of the others . . .
- All of this leads to a recent conversation with the kids where I was talking about “spending local” and how Gilly and I like to shop at locally owned businesses and eat at locally owned restaurants, to which Will said “so like we should go to the Taco Bell in Winter Haven and not in Lakeland.” Good talk, son . . . good talk . . .
- I think dove season opens on Saturday and the kids and I are monumentally pumped. I also think Gilly may be monumentally pumped that she’s going to have a quiet little Saturday at home . . .