• Johnny Carrol Sain

Thank you, sir, may I have another

We're five days into turkey season. I've trekked 25 miles or so on foot and more than 200 miles in the truck. I've yet to hear a single gobble.

This is unprecedented.

This morning, after yet another fruitless dawn of listening from a high, lonely place, another unprecedented event was unfolding: I almost convinced myself to give up on the season.

In the 20 years or so I've been chasing them, turkeys have been the sun around which my springs revolve. This shouldn't be a shocker to anyone who knows me, but I can easily let work stack up and make excuses or just flat blow off any other commitments when I know gobbling turkeys are out there. Nothing else matters. In short, every spring I'm lovesick for turkeys. There’s no other way to define the relationship. Sure, it’s a one-way relationship, but those are my feelings.

I'm also a bit of a masochist.

When the peepers are singing and the trees are chartreuse and every morning smells like the first morning of creation, I want nothing more than to get my ass whipped by a turkey. I relish the times I'm outsmarted, outmaneuvered, and otherwise bested by a bird. I love turkeys. The frustrating, unpredictable, and humiliating things they do to me only makes me love them more. Weird and twisted as it may sound, I never feel more alive than when a turkey puts me in my place.

But a prolonged stone-silent cold shoulder from the object of your affections will cool even the most hot-blooded of hearts.

So, at 7:21 a.m., I was ready to call it. I've got work, fishing, more work, planning for deer season (it'll be here before you know it), thinking about spring squirrels -- so many other things I can do instead of wasting my time on the turkeys.

But as I was driving home, and closing in on what had always before seemed an impossible decision, the turkey gods -- sadistic bastards that they are -- had other plans. Two gobblers with long beards a swayin' strolled across the dirt road right in front of my truck. I could have hit them if I'd mashed the accelerator. Instead, I watched slack-jawed as they nonchalantly crossed and meandered up the ridge. I told myself that I knew where they were going.

Long story short, two hours later, I was proven dead wrong -- yet again -- by turkeys. But that brief tease and soft spanking fanned the spark.

I'm home now, hurriedly trying to get a little work-that-can't-wait done so I can get back out there this afternoon and maybe catch those boys headed to roost. Deadlines and promises are fading to a whispy haze in my mind even as I type. I'm already scheming for tomorrow morning... and the next morning. I'll happily take all the punishment they can dish out. But, Gawd, I hope they stop with the silent treatment.

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