Christmas shopping made easy
By By Otha Barham / outdoors editor
Nov. 22, 2002
Looking around for Christmas gifts for kin and friends who are outdoor people, I look first to books. I have long maintained that a book is the perfect gift. It is small and squarish and thus easy as pie to wrap and to carry home from the store. If ordered, it will fit in my mailbox. Any mailperson or UPS driver delivering it will not get a hernia bringing it to my door.
Books have one of the highest "appreciation quotients," Just about everyone likes to get a book as a present. If it loosely matches the recipient's interests, it's almost a certain winner. Even if the person doesn't like the book, an opinion will be formed and voiced in future discussions outlets for the reader's literary judgement.
Books are lasting gifts, good ones being read and re-read over many years. Many are kept for a lifetime. Some signed copies gain in value, a few becoming very valuable. Books appropriately decorate ones den or reading area. Many serve as references for writing, speech-making or just personal interests or discussions. Books can be lent to others and the gesture generates and strengthens friendship bonds.
For me, and many others, a book on a long trip, be it land, sea or air travel, always makes the traveling part go faster astonishingly fast. And a book suitably fills in the down time, or otherwise boring times, that are inherent in such activities as camping, trotlining or hunting from a deer stand. What could have been hours filled with worries or idle thought become periods of mental growth or amusement.
I'll stop with four paragraphs about the pluses I see in books as gifts except to squeeze in their usefulness as extenders of chair seats being misused as ladders and as spacers between a host of things that must be separated by specific distances. And I must point out that books don't cost very much money.
Appropriate outdoor books I have acquired of late are noted here for those who want to make Christmas shopping easy.
Much of Trout's prose tells me what I already know and should remember but can't! Maybe other turkey hunters can recall just how to deal with the hundred or so tricks that tom turkeys pull, but I can't. I need lots of reminders and this book provides them. It's sub-title is perfect "A Handbook of Techniques and Strategies." Published by The Lyons Press, 123 W 18th Street, New York, NY 10011 The cost is $24.95.
I have not finished the brand new book, "Turkey Hunting Tactics of the Pros," by Richard Combs, but I have read enough to know it is a winner. Combs takes this grand sport to a level that can turn an outstanding turkey hunter into an expert. He interviews the known masters one after another and reveals their tactics, not just in recipe fashion, but with humor and conversational stories as well. The book has a magnetic quality that urges me to read on. Cost is $24.95 and this book also is available from Lyons Press at above address.
Crappie anglers will want to own Tim Huffmans newest book, "Monster Crappie," $11.50 postage paid from Huffman Publishing, P.O. Box 26, Poplar Bluff, MO 63902. It is a must for those who want to consistently catch the biggest crappie or go for a record fish. Huffman's very first chapter covers the interesting topic of using crankbaits for crappie, including trolling crankbaits. Photos show the reader exactly how to rig the boat for "Mississippi Power Trolling" with 14 rods at once.
The author's list of top crappie lakes places Mississippi lakes in first and third place; three of the eight lakes listed are Magnolia State impoundments.
Of course I recommend my own book as a Christmas gift for anyone whose senses are tuned to the outdoors. Fifty-five true outdoor stories follow my poem, the theme of which is the book's title, "Here Where We Belong." Country music star Bobby Bare, an obsessed angler, has received my book as a gift as has Garrison Keillor. Call me for a copy or order it from Old Ben Publications, 3100 38th Street, Meridian, MS 39305. Cost is $11.22 plus $1.85 shipping. Mississippi residents add $0.78 tax. (Add $0.50 shipping for each additional book.)