How to wash milk and burn oatmeal
By By Otha Barham / outdoors editor
April 9, 2004
Jack Dudley of Kemper County, former National Champion caller and winning caller in all the big contests, says "There is nothing equal to hunting the king of the woods…"
The late Ben Rodgers Lee of Coffeeville, Alabama once referred to spring turkey hunting as "the greatest of all sports."
And so it is for a quiet multitude, the ultimate pursuit in the ultimate sport of hunting; Calling wild gobblers in the spring. The finest challenge of all of nature's woodland pursuits. And it follows the traditional hunting seasons for deer and small game by enough weeks to catch zealous hunters in their pain of withdrawal. It's Grandma's chocolate cake after Sunday dinner; it's a generous dollop of whipped cream topped with a sweet cherry adorning your banana split.
When turkey season finally arrives we addicts act strangely, and so that normal people will understand, there is a perfectly logical reason. We are preoccupied. Compare it to your first love, you spend all your time wondering what to do about the newfound passion and you usually do or say the wrong thing about it.
In our March and April minds, we are speaking soft yelps and purrs to a thundering tom turkey, or crawling on our bellies in rattlesnake country to get to that big pine, or doing a high wire act across a flimsy beaver dam with deep water on one side and rocky rapids on the other.
By the third morning after opening day, the 3:30 a.m. alarm is a nasty sound. You lie there for several seconds wondering why you are doing this to yourself. Then that tape of an owl hoot followed by a gobble plays one more time in your foggy mind. You drag yourself to the kitchen in search of nourishment.
The kitchen is where the day's irrationalities begin, in that twilight time when we are still asleep but are stirring about appearing to be awake. Those of us who are moved to be truthful will admit to putting the salt in the refrigerator, the milk into the dishwasher and pouring orange juice into our coffee.
For me of late, my disconcertions have involved dealing at 3:45 a.m. with accommodating my hunger under the limitations of my current diet. (The current diet being one in a rotation of the various diets that are prescribed for me by a host of doctors, each plan intended to shield me from the particular malady that is each physician's specialty, and which, if all followed simultaneously, would result in swift death by starvation.)
For now it is the no sugar, no flour diet, designed to cause me to lose an ounce of fat every month if I starve myself silly day and night and never eat a hamburger or a steaming buttered biscuit or a pizza or hardly anything else good.
So for breakfast I eat oat bran, or if I splurge on calories, I get to eat the whole oat (read cultivated grass.) Friends, do you know what oat bran is? It is what is taken off of an oat to clean it up! Shredded paper could be substituted and I would never notice!
And darn oats anyway. They aren't good. Wait, don't come around here telling me oatmeal is good. Some of you just think it's good. Oats are what we plant for deer to eat and deer like twigs! It's like turnip greens or lettuce. Because Mama said they were so good for us, we sold our culinary souls to Mama's wisdom and we actually believe that turnip greens and lettuce are good. Baloney! (Oh, for a bite.) What's good is ice cream and strawberries and fried chicken and barbeque ribs; that's what's good people! Someone has to just tell the truth here.
Well, the oats got me into trouble. The kind of trouble that is an indicator of the turkey season state of mind that afflicts me and a host of others this time of year. I'll reveal my sins of mental omission next week on this page.