What is it that triggers those memories of your childhood to come back? For me sometimes it's a song on the radio. Or maybe rummaging through an old photo album over at grandmas house. Taking my kids hunting or fishing in old familiar childhood haunts jogs my memory too. Old familiar voices from family and friends that I haven't talked to in a spell does it for me as well. Memories of a typical fall weekend duck hunting trip when we were kids in the early 80's suddenly came flooding back to me this morning after I hung up from talking to one of my cousins on the telephone. We were 13 year old Kansas farm kids...and hunted every weekend together. I thought I'd share it with 'yall. There we were.... Time was wasting...grandpa told us to be at the road by 6:00 pm. It's 5:42 pm...and the light is fading fast. I was wading through a 3/4 mile wide shin deep flooded and very muddy cut milo field with my 3 cousins...we were carrying what birds we killed, our guns, pocketfulls of leftover shells, multiple bags of decoys, ect....with a gorgeous fall sunset in the background splashed with hues of purple and orange. It was that few minutes of last daylight that there was left in the day. The time when you see nature at it's absolute best....and feel the connection to the land and your surroundings the strongest. You know what I mean...the time when you realize how small of a role you're playing in the bigger scope of things. It's also the time when the birds just get downright silly, and will come to even a mediocre caller and splash right down without even circling. There were clouds of Mallards still swirling and spirally splashing down into the flooded field and pockets of water behind us to feed and roost for the night....before continuing their southbound journey at first light. Distant V's of vigourously honking northern Greater Canadian Geese were on the horizon against the fading back drop of the sun. The distinct squeal of the Wood Duck pierces the thin...crisp...chilly air. We kept pressing on towards the road...still 1/2 mile away. You could hear the wind whistling beneath the wings of flights of various species of ducks passing over head...along with the peeps, quacks, and whistles that accompany each individual group of birds. Pintails...Gadwalls...Shovelers...Teal...but most of all...Mallards. Big northern jumbo green heads. Each step in the field almost pulls your rubber boots off in the sticky riverbottom mud. We were breathing hard...our breath crystalizing into fog as we panted and puffed as we trudged along in the slop...and still had a long ways to go. There on the distant dirt road...300 yards away or better...was my grandpa in his old gold '76 Chevy pickup...honking the horn for us to hurry up. After an eternity of wading through the mud...we were nearly at the road. But...there was still a 3 foot deep drainage ditch we had to cross before we could get to the truck. My grandpa knows this...and gets out of the truck in order to see the ensuing show. Under the guise of asking if we got any birds of course. Two of us just wade right through...no problem. My cousin Mike...the youngest of us four...and last in line of our single file formation...stumbled...and grabbed his brother from the rear to stabilize himself...and doing so...pulled them both down into the cold november ditch water...LOL. I remember my grandpa rolling with laughter...tears coming from his eyes... as the two practically got in a fist fight in the nearly hip deep water...cursing and yelling at each other. We finally got loaded up into the back of the truck...and rode the 3 miles back to the shop to clean our birds. Some of us were colder than others...LMAO. I sure miss those days...No deadlines or commitments. No responsibility other than school...making your bed...doing your homework...and helping grandma do the dishes after dinner....or maybe cleaning your shotgun after a weekend hunting expedition....or changing your line on your reels every so often. As a teenager...I know I had to have reloaded a million shotgun shells on my old single phase MEC reloader in my spare time down in the basement during the week....between hunts. ALWAYS looking forward to the next weekends late Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday hunts my cousins and I had perpetually made plans to do. I now know how blessed I was to have been able to grow up a farm kid...and have access to hunting and fishing some PRIME pieces of riverbottom real estate. Places that now I have no right to. All one sees these days in those places is purple paint and/or no tresspassing signs....or even worse...LEASED. Looking back...I now know that it's very possible to be having the time of your life...and not even realize it. The only thing I enjoy more than reminiscing the old days...is teaching my still young son and daughters how to hunt and fish. Much like my grandpa taught me to do the same...back when everything was still new and exciting. It tickles me pink to see that spark of fascination and the light in my 5 year old youngest daughters eyes as she admires the crappie she reeled in all by herself....proclaiming it to be a "Leopard Fish". Maybe the good times really aren't over for good.