A true country music legend, George "Opossum" Jones, often made headlines in the 1970's for being a hard-drinkin', fast-livin' spiritual-son of his idol Hank Williams. The Opossum's wild lifestyle led to him missing many performances, earning him the nickname "No Show Jones." Which brings me to the story about this weekend...
On Friday, things were shaping-up nicely and all the ingredients were in place for the perfect duck/goose hunt the next morning. The weather report for Saturday morning called for north winds after midnight, declining temperatures with partly cloudy skies and Friday's above freezing temperatures had preventing icing. This would be the first time since the migratory arrival of our feathered prey all the puzzle pieces were fitting together for a hunt at the marsh, and on a Saturday no-less!
After designing a plan for Saturday AM that General MacArthur himself would be proud of, I finally fell asleep eagerly anticipating the inevitable morning slaughter. The alarm clock was unnecessary, as I was conscious and loading gear long before it was scheduled to remind me to wake-up and go hunting. All was going according to plan until something just felt wrong. I couldn't help but notice we were five minutes past our agreed upon departure time and I was yet to hear the familiar sound of ladders clanging against a ladder rack as my brother's truck announced its arrival on our street. At first, I was not too troubled, as my plan always has a slight buffer built-in to accommodate "late-comers", but grew concerned as time passed. I was sure Ol' Pudgy Thumb would show, after all he had sent a text at 11:19 PM which read, " It's going down in the morning. I'm coming early, let's do it right!". As we approached the "drop-dead" departure time and I could observe everyone was growing restless, I had to do the unthinkable, press forward and leave a man behind! During the drive east I was rehearsing what I would say at my brother's funeral service, since the only logical explanation for his absence was his passing.
Arriving at the marsh, one man down, was bitter-sweet. The chilled dark morning sky was filled with birds flushed from the water, but absent was the "Short One's" display of excitement in the form of his trademark pelvic thrusts. The set-up was textbook and well choreographed. Legal shooting light was 6:57 AM, by 7:10 AM there were 9 ducks down and 2 geese. A full limit of ducks was in the brace by sunrise and a near limit of geese followed shortly thereafter. Waiting on our last goose, while enjoying a healthy breakfast of biscuits and gravy in the blind, I received a text from my brother. Relieved I was not going to be speaking at his funeral, I was left shaking my head as he explained the reason for his absence. Long story short, in true George Jones fashion, Ol' Pudgy Thumb's wild lifestyle had caused him to miss one remarkable hunt and earned him the new nickname of "Ol' No-Show Pudgy Thumb"!