My recent post “On Thin Ice” was my submission to a writing contest sponsored by the good folks at Outdoor Blogger Network and Sportsman Channel. The theme of the contest was “Winter Travel” and the winner was Mark Dillow with his fine entry “Frozen in Time”. Congratulations, Mark!
My friend Owl Jones received special attention for his entry “Winter Scouting on Murphy’s Mountain”. I still laugh just thinking about it. To quote the judges regarding Owl’s literary contribution, “… this story is crazy!” Nicely done, Owl. You may have a cookie now.
My entry was noticed for its creativity and the contrast between the fantasy image of living on an island compared to the stark reality thereof. In recognition, I was promised a “special surprise” and it arrived, via UPS, yesterday afternoon.
One thing I learned while surviving the events that inspired “On Thin Ice” — other than the fact that, when people walk by me holding one of those tropical drinks with the little umbrellas, it’s a struggle to not slap it out of their hand — was to not take living on or at least near a real road for granted, even if that road is presently a long series of frozen, twisted ruts.
It’s taking a toll, all this violent lurching and banging around. Tie rods, ball joints and headlights get broken and knocked askew and I’m considering a helmet and mouthpiece for myself if we don’t get some good snow to pack down and even things out. All four of my cheap hub caps are badly cracked (only three actually remain on the vehicle) and even the UPS guy is bombing around with a broken leaf spring. I could hear him a mile away as he clattered his way up the hill. The ruckus he raised when he pulled into the dooryard scattered cats and shook the knick-knack shelf but that’s okay because as I stood on the porch waving good-bye I remembered a time when I had to wait seven weeks and cross a mile and a half of ice just to get to the Post Office.
If there’s one thing I like more than getting packages it is opening them and this one was full of surprises. To start with, there was a very nice note from Michelle Scheuermann, Director of Communications for Sportsman Channel. She wrote the note by hand and even used her very best, fancy stationery!
Next was a most thoughtful gift. Many of my Vermont friends would call it a strip of “fender patch” or “muffler fix”. I once saw an entire car seemingly held together with this stuff (please see “Fishing Hurts”) and I think it might be the ticket for joining two pieces of broken hub cap but, with history as my guide, I’d hate for my last glimpse of it to be in the rear-view mirror as it sailed off the downhill side of Rte. 155. No, I think the best place for it is here, on the wall, where I can gaze upon it in at leisure and in comfort.
But wait, there’s more! A T-shirt promoting Sportsman Channel and Sportsmen Against Hunger. “HUNT FISH FEED” it reads, encouraging utilization of our natural food resources. I think it’s a great idea and I’m all for it. The shirt is size L, which was me an X or two ago, so it looks like Mrs. Gordon is getting a new nightie for Christmas! Of course, I could give it to my friend, Eugene, who often finds a change of clothes to be in order (please see “Careful With That Axe, Eugene”).
Beneath the nice note, the fender patch and Mrs. Gordon’s new nightie was a hat, and not just any hat, either. This hat has the Sportsman Channel logo embroidered on the front, is adjustable and extra spiffy. When I wear it to town the guys will ask “Is that a new hat, Quill?” and I will answer “Yes. Yes it is” and they will say ” ‘Bout darn time!” Not only that, the hat is black and will absorb solar radiation, keeping my brain warm when I go around the corner of the barn to sit in the sun, out of the wind.
The last item in the box made me wonder how they knew I like a hot beverage when I go around the corner of the barn to sit in the sun, out of the wind. My new Sportsman Channel insulated mug will be with me and if I decide to take that beverage somewhere with me in the truck, I don’t know how they guessed the size, but my new mug fits perfectly into the holder I already have! Now I can just set my mug down instead of holding it in my lap or saying to my passenger, “Here, hold my drink and watch this!”
And now, here is a fishing story you might enjoy: “The Buddy System”