By Ben Smith:
I don’t miss many opening days. I’ve yet to miss an opening day of baseball season. I rarely ever miss the opening day of archery season. And you can bet on opening day of rifle season I’m usually in the woods. However, sometimes things are beyond our control. For far too long now, I’ve bragged about how I haven’t gotten covid. Jokingly, I’ve even gone as far as saying it was genetic superiority. I was obviously kidding when I said that, but I did find it odd that I’d been around so many people that had it the last couple of years and that I never came down with it. I even joked with our baseball manager the other day about never getting sick. He quickly responded that sooner, or later, karma was going to catch up to me. He was right.
The few days before the rifle opener in Mississippi, I noticed I was running a low grade fever at nights. I had a little congestion, and a dry cough, but didn’t think it was anything to worry about…or sideline me. On Friday, I couldn’t take it any longer and decided to go to the doctor in hopes of getting an antibiotic to speed up the recovery process. They tested me for flu, which was negative. Then, they tested me for covid. I told the nurse that she was wasting her time, and a test, since I couldn’t catch covid. As you can imagine, when she returned to the room and told me that I had covid, I was floored. How? Where did I even get it? Heck, at this point I haven’t heard of anyone even having it in a while.
So, opening day of rifle season came and went while I spent the day in the upstairs room in our house. There was a part of me that figured I should have went on to the woods, but by Saturday climbing up and down the stairs had become a fairly tiresome task. Plus, the thought of spending the night in a lonely, cold tent all the while hacking my lungs out didn’t sound too appealing. So, opening day of rifle season in Mississippi was spent watching old movies on Netflix and surfing the web for new hunting ideas. However, as soon as I could traverse those steps without getting out of breath, I was out of there.
Two days. That’s all it took for me to lose my mind. There’s only so many times you can watch “The Irishman” before you either get tired of it or join the mafia. Seeing that I don’t take orders very well, joining the mafia is probably out for me. That said, on Sunday afternoon I packed the truck and headed to the woods. I couldn’t take it anymore. My wife, not wanting me to get everyone else sick, even gave me her blessing to go hunting. That doesn’t happen very often so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Loading the truck was a little more of a chore than it usually is, but I made sure to take my time to keep from losing my breath, and more importantly, forgetting something that will make my stay harder than it has to be.
So here I am, typing this column under the stars…literally. There is a warm, cozy fire going next to me that I built to cook dinner over earlier. The Earth almost seems still. The occasional hoot of an owl in the distance fills the night air. Other than that, the only noise is the crackling of the fire and the pecking away at the keyboard. I’m guessing that most of the people that will read this will think that I’m crazy. And you may be right. On the other hand, why wouldn’t I come out here when I’m sick? What is there to worry about? Do you think fresh air is healthier, or a stuffy house? I think that’s where we went wrong with covid. I’m no doctor but forcing people that were sick to stay indoors had to be way worse for them.
Plus, if I’m going to continue my assault on turkey for Thanksgiving, then I’ve got to bring something home to eat this week. If you’re new to the column, I am of the opinion that it’s preposterous to eat turkey on Thanksgiving…especially when the world says that’s what you do. I’m more of an “against the grain” kind of guy, so if I don’t freeze to death out here, we will be eating deer meat for Thanksgiving. And from what I’ve seen on the internet so far from opening weekend of rifle season, plenty of you should be eating deer meat on Thursday, as well.
I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. As a reminder, with rifle season now in full swing, be sure to wear your safety orange when in the woods. It’s not going to mess your hunting up, I promise, and it might just save your life. On the other end of the rifle, don’t shoot anything that you aren’t 100% is a deer that you want to kill. Take your time, take a breath, and don’t take a human life.