Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Today

I went hunting for ducks this morning with my good friend, Steve.  I love hunting more than anything in the world. I get so excited about it, even after almost 30 years of hunting.  I still feel like a kid on Christmas when I am doing it.  

Steve is a lot busier than I am. I don't do shit, and Steve has a 53-acre farm that he takes care of, he's a pastor of a church, and the dude started his own elementary school, I kid you not. He built a private school for kids whose parents didn't like the public school system. We have been hunting together for 20 years. That's a long damn time. Some of the best memories in my life have been with Steve. Oh, I almost forgot: He's a dog trainer also, and a breeder of badass Labradors, including my own Rebel. He taught me everything that I know about training dogs. And he raised a bunch of kids and stepkids. You see, Steve is one of those guys who do it. He doesn't talk about it, he gets into action and doesn't stop until he's done. I don't know what drives the man. Well, I think it's some type of search for real truth, that's what I feel. And some justice. And like he says, "Who else is gonna do it?"

So, he's really busy and I wait by the phone for his text the night before we are supposed to hunt,  to make sure that we are really going the next morning. After a while, I can't stand the waiting, so I text him, and then my phone buzzes in reply. It is Steve with the particulars on when to meet him the next morning. I feel a rush of excitement go through me and Rebel can tell that I'm happy. He tilts his head at me, and I say to him, "Hunting tomorrow, big boy!"

Now, it is time to get ready. 

The night before we hunt, Rebel follows me around while I walk up and down the steps carrying my hunting stuff from the basement. He walks right at heel and then looks at me when we get upstairs and is like, are we going now? And I say to him we aren't going til the morning, til the morning. But I really love that he does that because it means that he knows that he is going to do something that he loves above all else. Just seeing that excitement in him makes it worthwhile. And the next morning, at 4am,  he follows me outside and back inside over and over while I load the truck and finally he gets on my damn nerves so much that I tell him to "load up" and I put him in the truck. Then we leave in the dark on our way to Maryland and we listen to country music or the Duck Commander podcast on the way and Rebel jumps from the back seat to the front seat to the back. It used to drive me nuts, but now I ignore it and laugh at it. Royal Farms is the next stop for us. I meet Steve there and we got coffee and said our greetings. I hadn't seen Steve in a few months, and it was good to see him.

And then after a short drive, we arrived at a private farm on the beautiful Susquehanna River. We had access to a thousand acres with not one other person on it. Steve and I waded out and with Rebel swimming right beside us, put out some decoys. It was so beautiful, looking at the River with the mist on it and the geese and ducks. It wasn't a day where the action was none stop and the barrels were hot, but it was wonderful. Steve shot one duck and Rebel went out into the water and grabbed it and brought it back to me. You see, different than what most non-hunters think, it's about the experience, not how much game was killed.  

We have always had some deep conversations when we are together, but we also laugh and tell old hunting stories. It's a huge part of what I love about going, talking to a good friend whom you have a lot in common with and who understands you.

After 4 hours, we decided to call it a day. Rebel swam around us again as we brought in the decoys. Steve and I said our goodbyes, gave each other a hug and said we couldn't wait to do it all over again. I  rode out of the place on a dirt road with Rebel in the back seat, still a little wet but so content, and all curled up for the ride home. 

It's magical to me, mornings like that, and I have a deep connection to the water, to my good friend, to my dog, to this whole experience that seems to fill in gaps that are missing in my life. Gaps that you don't even know are there until you feel them fill in. 



Sunday, October 23, 2022

What Are You Saving Yourself For?

 Get to the ball

When I played football in college, everyone had to hustle. On defense, all 11 players had to run to the football no matter where the ball ended up. In practice, you had to run to the person that had the ball, and everyone had to chop their feet as we surrounded the ball carrier until the coach was satisfied and then he would blow the whistle. I can remember a play where I rushed the passer, the pass play was 40 yards downfield, and it was an incompletion and I got yelled at for being late at getting to the ball. 

Now, I watch high school kids, college kids, and of course, professionals. It's very strange how if the play is even a few yards away from a defensive player, if it isn't directly in the person's area, they DONT EVEN TRY to make the tackle. The players literally jog, walk-run to the ball. 

We weren't allowed to walk anywhere, not anywhere on the field. As soon as you crossed the white line, you were running everywhere. 

Now, everybody is too damn cool to hustle. Wow, man, what's wrong with that guy? Not cool to bust your ass, be exhausted, be bloody, and spent. Nah, man, we have to make sure the arm sleeves and the visors and the towel hanging out the back of the pants and all of that bullshit is just right. Make sure to have the multicolored mouthpiece and the gloves that are like stickum and have cute little designs on them. ( If you haven't read "About Three Bricks Shy of a Load" by Roy Blount, get it. It is the inside story of the Steelers in the early 1970s. Now, those guys were men.)   Totally fake and has nothing to do with how you play. Then you walk around and get your ass beat. But damn, you looked so good on the feed. You know all of that is a sign that the apocalypse is upon us, right? All trickling down from me me me society. Players today are so big, so strong, and so fast, but they are not the same as even 10 years ago. Seen the Pro Bowl lately? It's touch football. Don't want to hurt nobody, ok buddy? Watch games from the '70s, '80s, and even the '90s. Players aren't as talented as they are now, but damn, were they some MEN.

My college coaches would see you dog it ONE TIME and you would never get back onto the field or if you did it enough, they would make life so miserable for you that you would quit and they would take your scholarship. OH!  I almost forgot- first you'd have to get up and run at 4am. "four o'clock train" is what we called it. 

It is all about effort, about trying as hard as you can. You only have so many plays in your life, why would you waste any of them?  Nobody wants to try too hard because they may miss or get juked out. OH, YOU BROKE HIS ANKLE, or some stupid shit like that. 

I don't know what the answer is to all those weak ass shit, but I know one thing:

 We need some more DAWWWGS








Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Water, Water

My 15-year-old was asking me about water today, asking, "Dad, what kind of water bottles did you guys have in the ‘70s, and 80's?" Uh, we didn't have water bottles, the plastic ones or the Yeti's or the gym gallon jug (so irritating). I remember when I first saw a plastic water bottle, I said, Nobody will ever buy that shit! I was oh so wrong. And I don't mind people drinking water, water is good. It's the obsession with it, like....like the obsession with sleep! My son is like, I only got 9 hours last night! I'm gonna be small, my testosterone is going down! Meanwhile, all of his friends are up tick-tocking at 4 am and getting up for practice at 7. I don't know how we survived with wolves growling outside the cave and us telling them to shut up so we can get our 8 hours. How the hell did we survive? First off, years ago, nobody brought water up in conversation ever. We would've been like, are we talking about water? Are we talking about practice? And we had hoses. You'd be out riding bikes and you would stop off at a friend's house and turn on the hose and drink from it. Or maybe there was a warm water fountain at the park that you got a drink from. Didn't matter, it was wet. You'd get done playing pick-up basketball at Knollwood Park and your buddy would go into his house and get you a glass of water. Water, water. My doctor wants me to drink 96 ounces of water a day. I'm swimming in water that much. Hell, I ain't even thirsty. I'm forcing myself to drink all this, and my common sense is going, isn't the body smart enough to tell you when it is thirsty? Maybe not, maybe after all these years, the body has become dumb, I don't know. I think I have written about this before, but we had zero water at practice in high school. We chewed ice chips, I shit you not. Nobody said a word. we didn't know any better, I guess. But here is what is strange: Nobody cramped up, nobody got heat-related illnesses, and everybody was just fine. And this is Maryland in August, 100% humidity, 95 degrees outside. Why? I am being serious here. I can think of some reasons but I do not know if they are true 1. We needed that much water all along, we were just oblivious. So are people living longer because of all the water consumed? 2. A) Kids especially, aren't acclimated to the heat, so they dehydrate faster and need more water. B)The heat-related illnesses/ deaths are related to kids sitting inside all the time instead of, again, acclimating and not keeping up with hydration/mineral needs. I see those folks in the morning out walking with like 3 water bottles around a belt. Where are they going, the Mohave? I'd have to stop and piss 10 times with all that water. Oh yeah, I hate water bottles because when we go hunting we see zero trash except for those damn bottles floating by or jammed up at the shore. Sickening. Just drink some filtered water from a steel container, damn. Anyway, that's my rant about water. Drink up!

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Football Life Lessons

 Football is a great sport. I played it from the time I was 9 until I graduated from college. I have heard some say that they learned about life in the weight room, but that is not the case for me. I learned a whole mess of lessons from football. I think that most men learn the biggest life lessons from football, combat sports, or the military. Probably rugby, too, but I don't know shit about it. Those fuckers can hit, though.

Also, it teaches you to respect authority. I know everyone calls their coaches by their first name and shit these days, all buddy-buddy and hugging every time you wipe your ass correctly, but that stuff didn't fly when I was a kid. It was always, COACH, and when he got pissed at you, it was rough. Lots of waking up at 4am to run and up-downs and extra sprints. His word was law, hell, all the coaches' word was law, and I learned a bunch about respecting authority.  I mean, sometimes you wished something bad to happen to your coaches.  They could be pretty tough on a player. But you took it and learned and kept your mouth shut. You know that all that respect stuff doesn't exist today, don't try to lie about it. Kids just do what the hell they want, say all kinds of shit to their coaches like they are on an equal level. Men that coached me smoked Malboro Reds and lined up beer bottles as football players to work on plays. The good ones had a bunch of common characteristics: Patriots, blue-collar workers, tattoos. Some had slicked-back hair like the 50's guys. Some were Marines. I'm sitting here laughing about how manly these guys were. It was so great. My Dad's manly as hell and then I go to football practice and the guys there were real men. I'm not thinking that any of them had a whole bunch of football knowledge, but then again, maybe they did. They taught me how to block and tackle, get in a stance, and all that. That's what I needed. And they cussed a bunch and nobody cared. You'd drive up to practice and the coaches would be leaning on their trucks with their ladders across the top of them and they'd be smoking.  One time, when I was playing 80 or 90-pound football, my coach put a hit out on an opposing player. He didn't like the kid, he had purposefully injured another player. So he designed a play where all of us went after the kid.  That kid was like, what the hell?? Imagine that was done today! On the front page of some liberal mag, "Coach puts hit on player, get's indicted". You know that could happen. 

You learned that you can ignore a whole bunch of stuff, like injuries. People that got injured a lot were looked down upon, it is the truth. If you laid on the ground a bunch on the field, people thought you were a pussy.  I remember this one kid, Donnie, would cry once in a while. We were like 11 years old. I remember looking at him, like crying on the field? Strange. But his family was all messed up, his parents were all messed up with divorce and so we can give him a pass on the crying thing. I guess. If you broke a bone, it was okay. But if you had a pulled muscle or something, you needed to get back in there pretty soon. I remember one time when I was coaching, I had a kid break his thumb and he was lying on the ground. I was like, What's wrong? He says it's my thumb. I say, what's wrong with your legs? He says, nothing. So I say, then stand up. And he goes, Oh yeah, and stands up. Now, coaches tell their players TO LIE ON THE FIELD WHEN THEY ARE HURT. We didn't do that, get your ass up! So it taught you to be tough, basically. And that life isn't fair and people just want to win and things move on without you. I mean, coaches care and all, but you gotta get off the field at some point so practice can continue. And then the season continues with or without you, damn your feelings. There is nobody that worries about your feelings in football.

It taught me how to get along with people. So when I was a kid, all the white folks lived on one side of the railroad tracks, and all the black kids lived on the other side. But we all came together on the football field. Not one problem. I know it's cliche but screw it, damn truth. Football does stuff like that to folks. People don't talk about that very much.

It taught me to be early. You late? get up at 4 and run. You late? The whole team is running because of you. So, you get there 10 minutes early.

There is so much more stuff that I learned from football, but I'm gonna go retrieve with Rebel.  He's begging me. Until next time...


Thursday, April 28, 2022

KIDS

I live in a prison of sorts. My two sons are like the prisoners and I am the warden. They basically try to get away with everything all day long and I try to catch them screwing up. It is a constant daily struggle. It is war. Every day. They lie so easily. Lies just flow out of their little mouths.  Did you take a shower like I told you to? Yes, Mr. Warden. Have any homework? No, no homework,  Mr. Warden. Any sharp objects in your cell? No, Mr. Warden. Did you do your homework? Yes, Mr. Warden. Did you finish it? Yes, Warden. Are you sure? Yes, Mr. Warden. They will swear on everything, too. When I was a kid, if you swore on your Mom and Dad and you "no crossies counted", the person was definitely telling the truth. My sons don't care! They will swear on everything and "no crossies" and still lie!  All lies. On top of lies, on top of more lies. And they do it so effortlessly. Lying to my sons is something that they do and don't think twice about. Who broke the mirror? Not me! Then I ask the other brother. Not me! So, let me get this straight: I was upstairs, you guys were both in the basement where the mirror is, a loud crash was heard where the mirror is placed, and you guys were jumping off of the couch like Jimmy "Superfly Snuka", but neither of you broke the mirror? That's right, Mr.Warden. I should make them wear orange uniforms and pick trash up by the side of the road. 

Dude, I'm 54 and I have a 15-year-old and a 10-year-old. I have zero patience for all the illogical, lying statements. Why are you not in bed? Because you didn't take me to the gym today. HUH? It's like the freaking liberals. It is illogical, and nonsensical, but makes sense to them. My kids make zero sense, they make such zero sense that they make me think that I am wrong and I am crazy. I think they secretly get together just to mess with me. Them and the dog. They have a big meeting and decide to lie and act all innocent and make me think that I am nuts. I am sure of it. Let's really mess with him, lets's go down into the woods without telling him, and not answer him when he calls and let's take his good boots and put them on, the non-waterproof ones, and then let's walk in the creek and then come back to the house, take the boots off and leave them outside and then have the testicles say that they have no idea why the boots are ruined. Even the damn dog is complicit. He gives me that, "I know nothing" look. 

All these parents with kids the age of mine are all young and energetic. I just wanna hunt, lift weights and drink beer.  I am so done. I see the young parents smiling and happy and energetic when I go to pick up my 10-year-old at school. They are in their 30's, mere youngsters! HA! Try my life! I'm in this supermax prison with these out-of-control schemers who are out to get me. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

More Stuff

 I have been reading some depressing books lately. I need a funny book. All I read about is the mafia, Vietnam, and Country Noir. Lots of meth and rough folks, killings in those books. sometimes you finish those types of books and you feel like, dirty or something. Good books, just damn depressing. I need a book that makes me laugh out loud. I laugh a lot in life, though. I get some laughs in, real hard laughing in every day. I laugh at my dog, Rebel. He has lots of personality. He's brave as hell when hunting, but a big old baby when he isn't hunting.  He does funny things for me because God must know that the world is shit and I need some damn laughs.

Have you ever wondered what people are really like? Or rather, why they are the way that they are? I watch the parents at travel baseball games, all screaming and acting like they need attention so bad. And then the guy who is dying to coach but he never played any sport in their life and is all soft looking and keeps sneaking onto the field to act like he is helping but is really just coaching his son. What the hell is wrong with people? He needs a throat punch but would definitely press charges and he definitely likes to wear a mask and send his kid to school with a mask. I often wonder how parents live in a dream world of their kid being great but they really suck and will never even play in high school. Poor kids, all that pressure from their parents who never ever ever ever played past little league.  Why are they here? Why are they taking up space and breathing air? Useless.


I wonder about stuff lately. How this world is gonna turn out? you have to be kidding me if you think that shit is going well right now. Inflation, illegal immigration. This stuff is being allowed to happen. Fuck them all. They hate regular citizens and want to enslave us. And they are open about it. They flaunt it all in your face.  The Patriots will always win in the end. You can complain about cops and Trump all that you want to. Meanwhile, look who you voted for the last time. Yeah, going well, huh? You want to know how America should change? Look what Guliani did with New York years ago. That's what we need. Evil people in this world, taking charge, wielding power, killing to keep their power. Protecting child traffickers and pedos. They are everywhere. Look up stats on how many kids are missing each year. Y'all gonna pay for it all, whether in this life or the next, and it will be really hot where you are going. 

So what's the good news? The people who love this country and will die to defend it are numerous and everywhere. Don't fall for the bullshit. The wackos are just the loudest and control the media. Stay strong, it is coming. It is coming like a freight train with no damn brakes.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Stuff

This is the doldrums time of the year right now. I am in South Jersey and we hunt here and fish here and right now all of the geese and ducks are gone, back to Canada. Too cold for the fish to be really biting. My dog, Rebel is pissed. No hunting. I am pissed. Both of us walk around all day alternating between getting excited about Summer and swimming and training outside and being depressed because it's so damn far away. Yeah, I know that this doesn't seem like a problem to most people. It is a problem for me.

Isn't it great when you are young and you don't have any idea that the government sucks? You don't know that our "leaders" are corrupt and have their own agenda and that they are all angling for their own personal gain. Or almost all of them. You just go through the day, all happy and shit. And then one day, you realize that taxes are ridiculous and you have no idea where your money is going. It's like New Jersey with child support. Do you know that the ex-wife can spend that money any way that she wants? She could be buying Meth. Just like the government. You send them all this money and they never tell you what they spend it on. It ain't the roads. They suck. Wait, what do we pay all this money for, anyway? Lots more these days than what we went to war with England over. Makes you wonder. But we just keep taking it. Just taking it. The rich get so much richer. I talk to the people at the grocery store, especially the clerks. Everybody is pissed off at higher prices. Not just a little higher, a lot higher. How much more of this shit can people take? The sentiment with everyone I talk to is that the government doesn't care at all about any of us, and they all ask, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? 

Before anyone ever makes a decision about sending our soldiers anywhere, they should have to send either themselves or their kid. Make em think twice, a bunch of cowards. 

All of it is so damn depressing. The world. Nutty freaking world. don't know what to believe, whom to believe. About anything at all. I am fortunate that my friends are Patriots. They see it all. All of us see it very clearly.

Taking guns away from people is the most sexist thing ever. Isn't that a big deal? Only when it fits some stupid narrative. Say I am a woman who weighs 100 pounds and I am being stalked by a 245-pound man. I'm much weaker than him. I can't get a gun but the stalker can get one easy, illegally, or the stalker can easily just strangle me. The gun that I purchase evens out that fight real fast, right? But by denying her the gun, you make her helpless. Dumb.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

I Remember When

 I remember when

My little league football coach would send us to take a piss in the woods and the coach would yell, after a few minutes,"Let's go boys! If you shake it more than once, you are playing with it." He's be put in jail for that today. Toxic masculinity. 

I remember when

no grown man would be seen with their baby in a backpack/sack type of thing in front of them. Pushing a stroller is bad enough.

I remember when

going to McDonald's was an every 6 month treat, not a 3 times a week regularity for a family. We only went to McDonalds when we won a big football game, or when my mother ate liver, which everyone hated except her.

I remember when

folks went into a gym to train, not to take videos of themselves with their little matching outfits on. Dude, that's so weird. Old days was cutoff sweatshirt, white athletic tape on wrists, Chuck Taylor's, gray sweatpants over the calf. What is this Gymshark stuff everyone wears?

I remember when 

NFL players didn't act like they were on fire and danced like fools when they made a freaking tackle. It used to be cool just to act cool.

I remember when

Nobody worried about concussions, they just f**ked people up and accepted the consequences.

I remember when

Everyone wanted to be Clint Eastwood.

I remember when

 my 80 pound football team rode in the open back of my football coach's El Camino on Interstate 95 and when we went under the overpasses, we all yelled and we sounded so loud. No parents freaked out.

I remember when

going to the movies was a big deal, and the movie theatres were packed on opening night of a big movie, Like Conan. Back when Arnold had testicles.

I remember when

You never saw anyone wearing a mask and hardly anyone ever got sick because we all played in the dirt all day long.

I remember when

Lynyrd Skynyrd ruled my world, and AC/DC and Van Halen weren't far behind

I remember when 

a band had to sing and play instruments to be a band. 

I remember when 

Everyone loved America. There were disagreements, but the vast majority of folks were patriotic. Like, you can say what you want to your family but nobody from the outside was allowed to insult them.

I remember when

You didn't feel as though someone was watching everything that you do

I remember when

freedom was a God given right, not a government given right

I remember when

Walmart sold hunting stuff

I remember when

everybody hunted or at least had a neighbor who hunted

I remember when 

being bored was just part of life

I remember when

nobody got divorced

I remember when

streetfights were just a way of life as a kid

I remember when 

you could bust someone's chops without them getting all offended

I remember when

Kids played outside all day

I remember when

you were thought of as strange if you lifted weights

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Christmas and Stuff

 Christmas time is a great time of the year. You know what the best part is about Christmas? Well, there are two things: Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. The worst part about Christmas? When it is over. When Christmas is over, it reminds me of the last day of vacation at the beach. Depressing. But, I think that when you are a kid, the time up until Christmas, like the last ten days before, is so exciting, right? 

When else do you get that feeling as you get older? The only thing for me as an adult is the excitement that I get the night before a goose or duck hunt. I get all my stuff ready, making sure I have everything: The calls, the collars, the ammo, all the jackets and lined pants. My coldgear shirt. And my crazy ass dog, Rebel, is getting excited because he can smell it in the air that we are going hunting in the morning. He was licking my shotgun case the other day. Me telling you that he absolutely loves hunting is an understatement. The other day, he had a toenail come off.  If you have had that happen to you, you know that it's not the most pleasant thing in the world. And he was lying in his kennel, all hurt and feeling sorry for himself and as soon as I got my hunting gear out, he was ready to go. That's some dedication and pure intensity.  I feel sorry for people that have never seen a trained dog hunt and see the intensity that burns from their eyes when they are watching the geese come in and when they sprint for the downed bird. Rebel chased down a wounded goose at 80 yards the other day and he was running so fast that it looked like his legs were going faster than his body, or something like that. He was running like I had never seen him run. It is magic seeing a creature going full speed. Pure magic.

 I digress.

Christmas time is also great because you don't have to go to school. I never did like school very much, all those teachers, all miserable. The classrooms all hot because women are always so cold. I would be burning up in there, all the bacteria just growing. All those kids around me. Miserable Principal. 

But Christmas break was a respite from all of that stuff. I could play in the woods, shoot hoops in the backyard, the Cowboys and Raiders would be in the playoffs, it may snow a little, and if it did, we could sleigh ride down the driveway.  We had a steep, big driveway, and you better hang on tight when it turned to ice. 

And then Christmas would come and go, but you still had a few more days off from school. And then it would be New Year's Eve and then the next day, they would have the college football championship, Nebraska vs somebody. And that feeling of dread would start coming on in your brain: School, school, school, and Christmas is over!

Chritmas is still fun for me, but more for my kids, especially for my 9 year old. He is super excited about Christmas. He's counting down the days until school is over and it is Christmas again, just like his Old Man used to do.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a year...it's for life. Whether its training or your family or your job...it doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.