Aggies and mourning doves, the seasons are here

This is one of my favorite times of year. It is not necessarily my most favorite because the temperatures outside are still above 80 degrees. But, early in the morning the air has a crisp feel to it and two of my favorites pasttimes are in full swing’hunting season and Texas Aggie football. With dove season officially underway, I am becoming anxious for time in the field. Give me the opportunity to go and I am there. Just ask my wife. Now the challenge is to balance time in the field with family time. (Solution’take the family to the field with me. Brynn is an excellent help at picking up spent shells.) With a few hunts already under my belt so far, one thing I have come to realize is that I miss my old Springer Spaniel, Sarah, who right now is most likely sitting at the foot of her owner’s bed fat as a tick from all of the table scraps she has received. Gone I am sure is her desire to bound through the bushes in search of a downed bird or two. Or at least it has been put on the back burner in her little dog mind. I prepared myself for this moment almost two years ago when I allowed friends Ernie and Ruthie Garcia to take over as owners for Sarah. Knowing that we would one day be living in a house with virtually no backyard, I reluctantly let the sweet dog befriend her new owners on what was originally only a long weekend. I didn’t have the heart to take her back only to have to give her up again, so she stayed with the Garcias. I am sure she is glad she did. Life on easy street. Air conditioning, a mom and dad who dote on her and several canine buddies to keep her company all day long. Be that as it may, I was sure missing her on my most recent dove hunts as I spent many frustrating minutes searching for downed birds that seemed to disappear into the weeds. In fact, on one hunt, I gave up when on four successive birds, each seemed to fall, never to be found again, amongst the dried up sunflower plants. I went home one bird shy of a limit wishing Sarah had been with me. This past Saturday morning I joined compadres Clay Vogel and Marcus Amthor on my first morning hunt of the season. Despite being tired from a long work week and staying up late at a post-Bulldog game party, I was at Clay’s house at 6 a.m. sharp. It is funny how getting up for a hunting trip is not nearly as difficult as getting up for work. We loaded up, headed to pick up Marcus (who happened to still be asleep when we arrived) and then stopped at a convenience store for a hot cup of java. We were in the field as the sun was coming over the horizon, chatting about this and that waiting with anticipation for the first birds to fly in. We had a good hunt and we all headed home with our limits by 8:30 a.m. We had a cleaning party and all of the birds went into a community pot which will be transformed into an epicurean masterpiece at a dove cookout in San Saba (Marcus and Clay’s hometown) by a friend of theirs who is a professional chef. I have heard of their feasts and hope to be invited to partake. For the second weekend in a row, it was honey-do chores around the house as well as a list a mile long of my own. It’s a good thing really, I mean we almost have our lives in order. I eventually petered out about mid- afternoon and crashed on the couch for a nap. I must interject a side note. Naps are one of God’s little gifts of which I do not often partake, but when I am fortunate enough to fall into a short slumber, I am a happy man. I have yet to figure out why as kids we hated taking naps, then in college, they were few and far between but even more highly treasured. Now with kiddos, hobbies and work pulling me in numerous directions, I crave them even more. The Aggies were scheduled for a 7 p.m. Saturday start at Kyle Field. Larry had been trying to get me to go with him (mostly because I think he didn’t want to drive home that late after the game was over). The Stewart and Smith families had to be in church bright and early on Sunday. It was the first week of choir and Holly and her charges had big plans for the congregation. Holly told me that she wanted to shock them with a doozy of a show, so that is what they did. She cranked up the sound system, lit a fire under those singers and woke those church goers up with a stellar performance. Back to the Aggies. Not to sound like a two- percenter or anything, but I have been waiting for a coaching change for several years. The status quo wasn’t cutting it anymore and ol’ R.C. Slocum had (in my opinion) used up his time. Enter coach Franchione. I have heard great things about this coach and after the first two quarters of the Utah game, I was convinced all was well in Aggieland. I wasn’t fortunate enough to view the season opener against Arkansas State so this game was my first real look this season at my alma mater. When the second half started, I quickly hoped it would end. All in all, I couldn’t watch the last two minutes of the game for fear of what almost came true, the Ags nearly choking and giving the game away. Alas, the Aggies were victorious and I can continue to proudly fly my school colors. They now prepare for their next real test against Virginia Tech Thursday week. I hope coach Fran has them ready. All in all, had I actually been able to enjoy ESPN College Gameday and been able to sit and channel surf between all of the different games rather than work around the house, my Saturday would have been that much better. But, all is not lost. The house is nearly in order, Holly and I both parked our vehicles in the garage at the same time and there are only a dozen or so more things to hang on the wall. All I need is a couple more hours to finish organizing and I’ll officially be set. Bring on the cooler weather. Bring on deer season. It’s that time of year and I am a happy man.’JS

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