Twas the Night before Opening Weekend at Wister

By Neil Beltran

Twas Opening Weekend, when all through the camp
Duck n’ goose calls were blowing, most of them bad,
Some guys were yelling at their dogs to behave,
But that didn’t stop them from lifting their legs.

The old guys like me tried to sleep in their sacks,
While young guys by fires sat knocking back Jack,
Still I set my alarm with my new iPhone app,
And settled my brain for a short Wister nap.

When out of my dazed sleep I heard such a roar,
From engines of two-wheeled drives and 4 x 4.
Boots stomping on gravel were notice enough:
It’s now two-thirty a.m., time to get up!

So I stumbled with all of the rest to the shack,
And by strange yellow light, I studied the map,
When suddenly my focus was drawn from the dikes
To a large man with brass tags holding a mike.

“Good morning” he said and we murmured replies,
As he placed the brass tags ‘fore our watchful eyes.
Now it couldn’t be said I was fully awake,
But I knew in a moment he must be St. Ray!

“One through five, five through ten, now ten through twenty!
Better be listening when I call your rezzie!
Thirty through forty, now forty to fifty!”
My pond’s sure to go before he calls sixty.

An eternity passes ‘til it’s my turn,
But thankful not to be sweat-lining at Kern.
I push my way up through the camouflaged crowd,
And whisper my choice to St. Ray, who then frowns.

“It’s yours if you want it,” he says with a shrug,
“But it’s dry as a bone, the tules all dug.”
Ah, there’re secrets not known even to St. Ray!
My cousin’s friend’s brother says that spot will pay!

So I load up my cart with twenty-odd deeks,
Squeeze into my waders and hope for no leaks.
Lather on the repellant to ward off the gnats,
Make one last adjustment to the old camo hat.

Ready at last, I trudge on out to my spot
Dawn’s not even close but it’s already hot.
I toss out the deeks but being ever alert,
I note what they hit sounds a lot more like dirt!

Well, many hours later the sun has come up,
I’m hunting a pond that wouldn’t pass for mud.
But just when the water in my brain start to boil,
In fly two mallards, surprised by the soil.

Seems their cousin’s friend’s brother is just as full,
Of whatever ducks call it, we call it bull.
And as I raised up my gun, got them into my sights,
I said “Happy Opener Boys, now it’s good night!”

~ by zenhunter on October 20, 2009.

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