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Fall is in the air — sort of!

7/24/2002

I don't mind confessing at the outset of this column that I'm not the biggest fan of the summer months.

Now, it's not that I'm opposed to the activities of the season. I love lemonade, iced tea, barbecuing on the backyard grill, swimming with the kids, summer vacations, and watching America's past time — the CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic — along with the best of them.

Throw in a little bass fishing, a flyfishing expedition or two, a bit of tuning up on the archery 3-D course, and shooting a few clay pigeons in anticipation of September's dove season opener and I'll admit that summer isn't half bad.

Unless you wilt, as I do, in the stifling heat and humidity that has begun to show up in the part of the world that I call home, the Lone Star State of Texas. I love my adopted home state with three notable exceptions, those being June, July, and August.

Simply put, I don't do heat.

To be fair, this summer has been, well, unlike most other Texas' summers that I've experienced. Triple digit heat and searing drought are usually par for the course between the Red River and the Rio Grande after the summer solstice, not this year's historic flooding and July rains measured in feet, not inches.

But while there is still plenty of time for summer to show up around these parts in all of its blistering hot glory, the end is now in sight — sort of. A proverbial light, albeit a dim one, can now be seen at the end of the tunnel.

Why? Well, just a few days ago, the U.S. Postal Service took it upon themselves to deliver to my mailbox not one, but two hefty publications that bring the same kind of boyhood glee that I used to feel when the Sears & Roebuck Christmas catalog arrived on our doorstep.

In fact, these recently received publications are somewhat akin to a Christmas catalog, since I will undoubtedly drop a hint or two to Mrs. Santa Claus regarding the potential Christmas gifts contained within their glossy pages.

And what you may ask did the mailman deliver? Some 729-pages of an outdoorsman's dream world in the form of the Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops fall hunting catalogs! And with every passing day, more camo-filled wish books are steadily arriving in my mailbox, much to the chagrin of my darling wife.

Never mind the fact that the red liquid in the thermometer is slowly approaching the century mark for the first time — but certainly not the last time — this summer. As I have fumbled through page after page of the latest offerings from Natural Gear, Mossy Oak and Realtree, the newest waterfowl decoys and duck calls, carbon deer hunting blinds, space age thermal underwear, precision optics, and sharp-as-a-razor hunting knives, the first breezes of autumn seem to have emanated from the pages of these catalogs.

Or was that simply the central air kicking in?

Either way, as I scan the latest and greatest in this fall's got-to-have hunting gear, I'm hoping that I can con, I mean, persuade, my lovely bride into letting my fingers do some walking on the telephone's keypad. With any luck, UPS and FedEx will soon be knocking on my front door to deliver a "Christmas in July" spending spree.

Hey, I've got to do my part to help stimulate the economy, right?

Yes sir, while the calendar — and the thermometer outside my front door — attempt to persuade otherwise, for this hunter, the end is in sight. For those like myself that live for the chilly breezes and brilliant hues that God splashes upon the autumn canvas, the days of summer are indeed, numbered.

The flash of a whitetail buck on a frosty hillside, the soft chuckle of greenheads circling overhead, or the shivering point of a canine companion with a snoot full of ring-necked pheasant can't be far behind, can they?

But in case you doubt that, please don't bother trying to convince me otherwise. I'll be anchoring my La-Z-Boy with a glass of my wife's iced tea in hand, the latest catalogs hot off the press, and the TV tuned into the latest ESPN Outdoors shows on the Deuce.

Yes sir, fall is just around the corner. Honey, would you mind turning down the AC just a little bit, please?