Tuesday, March 16, 2010

All Signs Points to Spring

Crocuses? Bah. Robins? Who needs 'em? In my little town, where the state highway meets the road into town, we have an old school, drive-in A&W. It closes in the late fall, and when it reopens, well, you can be sure it's spring. 

We stopped yesterday, and nearly everything about the first trip to A&W for 2010 was right. When I handed the kids their food, they treated it like a sommelier handles a fine bottle of cellared wine. There was the admiration of the packaging. The unwrapping, married to a deep inhale through the noise. A satisfied 'oohhh'. Praise poured forth from the lips of all: the perfect coating on the chicken strips, the crispiness of the hot fries. To all this, we added the glory of the Black Cow: creamy soft-serve ice cream blended with that signature A&W root beer.

Nearly everything was right. How did it fall short? Two things: we didn't have time to eat right there, so I was forced to drink my root beer out of a paper cup. If you stay, they bring your food on one of those trays that latch onto your window, and your root beer is served in a glass mug. Mmm. The second thing that was wrong? I'm still recovering from the stomach flu and wasn't up for the deep-fried mushrooms. 

Ahh, but there's time, now. Spring is here, at last.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Huntin' Math

I've been married for 18 1/2 years to an outdoorsman. Some of the implications of that have been enjoyable. I love to cook, so preparing venison and pheasant has been a satisfying challenge. It might be a little 1950's housewife, but I enjoy how much this makes him feel good about providing for his family.

Secretly, I like being married to a fella with his kind of passion. Time spent outdoors transforms him from tired working man to enthusiastic kid: jumping up and down after a successful hunt, imitating the squirrel that almost walked right into his treestand.

Ah, but the downsides. Consider the month of August. In my mind, it's still summer. I'm taking in the last bits of sun before the kids go back to school. I'm enjoying those cool evenings where you throw on a sweatshirt and hang around the fire. But while I'm thinking gourmet s'mores bar, the change in nighttime temperature does something to him. He raises his head and sniffs the air. If his ears could twitch and flit like a dog's, they would. He starts looking for the Cabela's catalog and I know I've lost him. It's 'pre-hunting season' season. 

March is the August of fishing season. He had to go to Bass Pro before all the good stuff was gone. He's working on a signature laugh, like Jimmy Houston (I'm trying to get him to go Rosco P. Coltrane.)

All this has reminded me of one other thing I've learned from him: hunting math. Here are three principles:

1) When discussing the harvest, round up. For example, a 25 1/4 inch fish is 'about 30 inches long'.
2) When discussing the cost of equipment, round down. A $299 gun is 'about 200 dollars'.
3) Since hunting and fishing provide food, the budget for these areas should be as great a priority as grocery money.

Of course, I've taught him a few things too, like this formula: 
Saying #3 out loud + Couponing wife = No new gear and an indian burn

Why didn't they teach that in school?