#53: Jumping Sharks

We live in amazing times – Youtube, Cable, Satellite – so many choices for outdoor programming.

But what if we could re-invent the genre?

This week, we put ourselves in the director’s chair(s) and pitch our best ideas for new outdoor entertainment.

Here’s the link to Travis’ column on the loss of our beloved French Brittany, Coleman.

Here’s the link to the Peterson’s Hunting article Nate discussed about Hunters and Non-Hunters co-existing . . .

Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .
Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Website

Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram – @lovedalocafitness – Instagram

Coleman

It’s the hardest thing, losing a dog.

I was just reminded of that truth.

We’d had a good day.  A good walk that morning.  A leisurely nap together on the couch.  He’d eaten the last of my roast beef sandwich for lunch, just the way it should be.

For 16 years, he was my constant.  I’ve known him longer than I’ve known my wife or my son.  When I was single, I had a twin bed that he was always in – me, 6’3″ and full-figured, and a 45 lb puppy.  He never left my side, day or night, never out of ear-scratching distance.  Any knock on the door was met with barks that belied his stature.  My wife.  My kids.  He was our dog, and we were his people.  That was indisputable.

I carried him home from his last walk.  It was time.  His fight was over.

What you’re never ready for is the little things.  I don’t want to vacuum, little tufts of his hair in the corners.  I don’t want to change the sheets.  I absentmindedly saved a piece of cheese when making Will’s lunch this morning – I always gave him a piece of cheese.  I came home last night and went to check on him, only to catch myself halfway down the hall . . .

There’s never been a dog who had such infectious joy.  He was truly happy, all the time, unless you were scolding him for his latest counter surfing shenanigans.  He once broke into my office and “retrieved” my mounted ducks, the room looking like a malfunction at the world’s prettiest pillow factory.  His grin melted my anger in a moment, a look of “Dad, you’ll never believe what I found in here!”

Sedatives settled his angst, and he looked up at me with his faded, whiskey colored eyes, still smiling.  I tried telling him it would be okay, even though it most certainly would not, ever, be okay.  I laid on the floor holding his head and talking in his ear.  I made sure he knew he’d done his best.  I made sure he knew I was there.  I made sure he knew he was a good dog.

It was over in a minute.  The vet looked at me, misty-eyed herself.

I scratched those amazing, floppy ears one last time.  I smelled his wonderful head, and closed his eyes, rubbing them the way he loved.

I stood up from the floor, and for a moment, so many memories flashed – playing in the snow and chasing deer and fetching doves and swimming pools and ice cream cones and stealing muffins from the kids and snuggling my wife, a furry wedge in our bed every night for 7 years.

And I came back to a simple memory, of he and I sitting on a borrowed couch in our empty house, right after my divorce.  We were watching TV, in as much as any dog watches TV.  We had no food. We had no money.  We were sharing a jar of peanut butter – I’d take a bite, then let him finish the spoon.  At that second, I wasn’t sure which way life would go; I mean, it pretty much sucked right then.  And clear as day I can remember looking at his head as he smiled, almost as if to say “hang in there Dad – this is the best day ever . . . “

That’s the thing I remembered as the vet handed me his effects.

16 years is a lot to lose in a moment.

I stuck his empty collar in my pocket, and stood there alone in a vacant room, and sobbed, a 41 year-old man heartbroken over his dog.

Just the way it should be.

#52: The Voices in Our Heads

When you’re spending time in the Great Outdoors, what voices are in your head?

From our parents to our kids to Steve Rinella and Randy Newberg and Rocky Leflore, technology coupled with memories has given us a fantastic perspective on why we do, what we do . . . This is our discussion about that!

Bonus: Here’s a link to Emily’s Wasabi Oreos . . .

Keeps:

Emily – Hipcamp – need a campsite?  This site is like airbnb, only for campers!

Nate – Binge Mode Podcast – Do you love Harry Potter?  Like, really, really love Harry Potter?  Then check out the Binge Mode Podcast from the Ringer!

Travis – Tomorrow night – Sept, 12, 2018 – Kissimmee River Invasive Plant Management Meeting – be at this meeting!

Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .
Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Website

Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram – @lovedalocafitness – Instagram

The Old Man

An ode to Ruark.  And also our grandfathers.

The Old Man watches as the steam rises off his coffee mug, just poured from the old rusty thermos his wife gave him so long ago.

He drinks his coffee black.  No cream.  No sugar.  It’s just easier that way.

His pale, grey eyes scan the darkness for the faintest flicker of movement.  His hands caress the checked wood grain of his father’s Remington, each scar and carving familiar to his touch.

The Kid is drifting in and out of sleep at the other end of the small boat.

He drew the short straw among his brothers and cousins and Grandpa picked him up at 3:30 this morning.  He’d piled into the cab of the old truck, next to the greying Labrador, barely awake but knowing it was his turn.

They’d launched the boat by moonlight, loaded with heavy cork decoys and an outboard older than both of them, kicking them along to an unnamed oxbow just upstream.

The Old Man scratches the labs ears, causing that unmistakable thump in the bottom of the boat.  The dog whimpers his appreciation, anxious for the hunt to begin.

The sun begins to win, and nature begins to stir . . . Egrets and ibis and herons and hawks . . .

The Kid awakens, wiping the sleep out of his eyes.  He looks at the Old Man, grizzled, leathery, his face stoic as his eyes sweep the landscape . . . He wonders how many times the old man has done this . . . How many ducks has he shot, how many mornings has he set decoys . . . In a rare moment of awareness, the Kid finds himself wondering how many more times the Old Man will be able to do this . . .

The Old Man sees them from a hundred yards out . . . Even at his age and this distance, he catches the glint of green signaling an impending landing.  He taps his duck call, cementing the mallards into his trap . . .

The Kid grips his gun . . . His mouth feels dry, the wood stock cold and strange . . . He fingers the safety, nervous he’ll forget to push it when the opportunity comes . . . He reminds himself to breathe . . .

The Old Man calls the shot, the Wingmaster coming easy to his shoulder, a motion perfected by a thousand rehearsals over dozens of years . . .

The Kid rushes his gun up, unsure of what’s happening until the first recoil pounds into his shoulder . . . Aim . . . Pull . . . Pump . . .

The echoes harmonize as the ducks splash into the creek, both brought to hand shortly by that old grey lab . . .

The Old Man holds his aloft, admiring the iridescence in the now high sunshine . . . The Kid takes his duck and mimics the Old Man . . . He notices the hidden purples in the green, the brilliance on the speculum, the sharp lines and the subtle shading.  He notices the smell of the recently fired shells, the lab happily panting, the other ducks moving up and down his field of view . . . He hears the clucks, the chirps, the swirl of a fish, the sound of a distant road . . . He begins to take in the feel of his gun in his hands, the smell of the coffee, the rattle of shells in his pocket . . .

The Kid looks at the Old Man again, now with admiration . . . Maybe this is why he does it . . . Punishing himself with middle of the night wake ups and laborious decoy spreads . . . To come to this, this sort of “church” out here in the middle of nowhere . . .

The Old Man sees a small pod of birds turn their way.  The Kid has seen them too.

The Old Man smiles.

If you enjoyed this, check out our podcast, released every Tuesday . . .

#51: Ducks as College Football Teams

Duck season is fast approaching.  College Football Season has already started.

How does a wayward outdoors podcast combine the two?

Simple – we take the AP Top 10 and assign them duck species that correlate to their various program identities.

Oh.  And Emily drafts country music singers.  And maybe rappers.

If that sounds like the most ridiculous 40 minutes you’ve ever spent, wait until you click play!

PS – if you’re in Florida, and hunt the Kissimmee River Basin, make plans to be at this meeting!

Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .
Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Website

Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram – @lovedalocafitness – Instagram