"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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A Time of Huge Thanks
Copyright © 2008 by Bill Scifres
Over the river and through the woods . . .

 It is not something that comes and goes with the winds, but one of my most revered episodes of childhood (at Crothersville) came at a time when times were, indeed, worse than they are at this Thanksgiving Day. 

My mother, the late Laura Belle Scifres, had taken me shopping at Bill Applegate’s grocery store (everybody had a running bill at the store because we were not yet recovered from the Great Depression).

I don’t remember how old I might have been, but I do recall my mother discussing Thanksgiving Day dinner (it would be at noon or so, not evening).

It was well before turkey dinners were popular, and the ladies of the town were loading up for all kinds of meat dishes, and one woman asked my mother what she would be cooking for Thanksgiving.

“I don’t know, my mother said, adding, “Jake (my father) is out hunting now . . . I will cook whatever he brings in.”  

When my dad returned from hunting with his old 16-gauge Winchester 97 pump gun, he spread newspaper on the kitchen linoleum floor and emptied the game bag of his hunting coat. There were half a dozen or so quail, several rabbits, and four mallard ducks--a bountiful haul.

With this collection of wild and wonderful food, there was the heart-warming story of how the ducks, almost unheard of in Southern Indiana in those years, were on a deep hole in the Muscatatuck River, and how Debbie, our little white wire-haired terrier went into very deep water to get the fourth duck. Debbie could not get out of the deep water and up a steep clay bank with the bird and was nearing exhaustion when my dad placed his gun in the weeds, slid down the bank and grabbed a bush to halt his slide to the water’s edge. There he grabbed Debbie by the skin behind her neck and gave the dog, the duck, and all a giant lifting ride to safety.

I can recall, vividly, how I cuddled Debbie thankfully that night on the black leather davenport, and the memory of that Thanksgiving dinner never is far removed. In my mind, I see the baked duck and quail (in a huge pan of sage dressing) roll out of the oven of the old kitchen wood stove and take their place among the candied sweet potatoes, the homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy.

It was a time of huge thanks.

. . . step light, my dapple gray . . . spring over the ground, like a hunting hound. . . for this is Thanksgiving Day. 

RAW FUR PRICES -- Bruce Plowman, the former Division of Fish and Wildlife’s biologist, now is working for a gold mine in Alaska, so the dope on prospective raw fur prices for 2008 is unknown to the state folks, and likely will stay that way for a spell.

However, your inquiring reporter is seeking (the TV networks bigwigs would say “I am vetting fur prices" because they do not wish to be understood) information on raw fur prices for this year. We will pass them on in a future column.

FLY FISHING -- Indiana's 2nd annual fly fishing and wing shooting show is set for Saturday, January 10, at the State Fairgrounds Ag/Hort Building in Indianapolis. 
“Indiana on the Fly” will feature over 60 well-known vendors from across the Midwest with enough variety to satisfy the most discriminating outdoor sports enthusiast.
This year's show features an expanded vendor area and separate casting arena sure to bring in even more sportsmen and women than last year.  
Fly fishing celebrity and author Bob Clouser will be speaking in addition to other experts on a variety of fly fishing related topics. The day's activities also include a gear show, casting clinic and fly tying exhibitors as well as a children’s fly tying station, a learning center featuring Purdue University Entomology Department, IDNR exhibits and a Women’s Workshop.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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