Well, here we are. It’s December, and Christmas is just around the corner. I think I will focus on the season from the perspective of us old folks. Young folks, convinced that they have lots of Christmases left, tend to focus on the present and the future. When we hit old age, we naturally begin to wonder how many Christmases we have left. This leads us to think, sometimes longingly, about the Christmases that have come and gone.
One of my best memories goes back to Christmas of 1958. That was the year I got my first shotgun. It was a Mossberg 20 gauge. I still have it, and although I have a number of other shotguns, it is still my go-to gun for hunting small game. I shot a whole box of shells on Christmas Day.
In 1960, I got my first ever high powered rifle. It was a Model 1891 Argentine Mauser, which my parents had worked on while I was at school. It was in rather rough shape, but, to an excited 12-year-old, it was truly a thing of beauty. I still have it, but it’s been “remodeled.” A few years ago, at a gun show, I came across a ‘91 in its full military configuration. Of course, I bought it immediately, as memories of that long-ago Christmas of 1960 flooded over me. It is in much better shape than my old one was, but it evokes the memories just the same.
Then, there was 1964. My buddies and I had really gotten into coonhunting, as one of us, the now deceased Gerald Wetzel, had the best coonhound I have ever seen. Anyway, the only carbide light I had was an old, worn out one that my dad had used in the coal mine years before. Under the tree that morning was a brand, spanking new one. There was also a six volt handheld spotlight. Even more, there was a catalog, along with a gift certificate, from Bill Boatman and Company, a now defunct outfit that sold virtually everything a coonhunter could want.
When you get older, the memories of those now deceased naturally are part of Christmas. For me, of course number one is my late wife of forty-six years, who will be gone three years a week before this Christmas. Then, my mother and dad, who, although they never had much money, always made sure that I had a wonderful Christmas. Naturally, I miss my old outdoor buddies, like Gerald Wetzel, Earl Lytle, John Kusick, Joe “Doc” Scisly and Larry Crawford. Thinking about them is a bittersweet experience, but one I truly cherish.
I hope that you have enjoyed this little nostalgia trip with me. Maybe it will set you off on one of your own. I hope so.
The governor recently signed a bill into law that allows for some Sunday hunting in the state. Of course, in typical Game Commission style, they have made it restrictive and complicated, and used it to expand their powers.
Don’t forget to get your new fishing license. They went on sale on the first of this month. Geezers like me don’t have to worry about that, but others do. If you don’t plan to fish until spring, there is no rush, but if something like ice fishing is on your mind, then there is. By the way, vouchers, which amount to gift certificates for fishing licenses, are also available. Sounds like a very good gift idea.
And finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers a very, very Merry Christmas!