I am intentionally uninformed on the topics of both “Global Warming” and “Climate Change”. I have my own set of opinions on both issues, but since I haven’t done my own research on the topics I am unable to bring a whole lot of factual information to the conversation. As such I have chosen to remove myself from debates on these topics.
Obviously I see some shifting in the seasons and that things aren’t quite the same as they once were when Central PA still experienced white Christmas’s, but I tend to be of the belief that God has it all under control, the weatherman is wrong more often than he’s right and at some point Mother Earth is going to shake the entire human race off her back like a stray dog with a bad case of fleas.
I mention the preceding paragraphs because my story takes place in December roughly 1996 or 1997 and it was cold. I don’t mean “you might need a sweater” cold, I’m talking “well-diggers buttocks” cold. My buddy Dom and I were headed out for an early morning duck hunt. We had a spot picked out along the Susquehanna River that required us to wade across a 30 yard cut between the shoreline and the little island that we would be hunting from.
It was just before dawn and the water was 18” to 24” deep tops. We decided to pack as much as we could carry so that we only had to make one trip. I was carrying my gun, my blind bag and two large bags of decoys on my back. Dom was packing in pretty much the same set of gear.
Piece of cake right?
Things started off okay. We hiked the 250 yards from the dirt road through the woods, dropped down the bank, hit the skim ice and started breaking our way across the cut. I was leading the way and we were making good time. We’d be there plenty early…heck we might even be able to eat some breakfast before the first flights took to the sky?
To this day I am not exactly sure what happened next, but in an instant I was face down in the freezing cold water. I fumbled to keep a hold of my gun and I tried desperately to regain my footing. My favorite canvas waders were taking on water fast and the decoys on my back wouldn’t allow me to right myself. The combination of confusion and the water temperature took my breath away. I was very quickly in a bad way…in less than two feet of water!
Thankfully my buddy Dom quickly realized that I wasn’t getting out of this predicament on my own. He got me to my feet and guided me back to his truck. He quickly got me in the passenger seat, fired up the truck (cranking the heater), gathered up all of our gear and stowed it away.
It didn’t take long for the heater to kick in. I shed my wet clothing, wrapped myself in a blanket and sat there in the passenger seat shivering in all my God given glory. I was trying to figure out what the heck had happened…did I trip over a submerged branch, did the rock I was stepping on give way, did I hit a patch of ice? What the hell had gone wrong that left me naked and shivering in the front seat of my buddy’s truck?
Up until this point Dom hadn’t said a word.
He had pulled me out of the water, he had made sure that I got somewhere warm in a hurry and he had made sure that I didn’t lose any of my possessions over the chaotic last half hour. Heck…in all likelihood he had probably saved my life. Thank God for good friends!
“Guess we aren’t hunting today?” was all that he muttered.
My response cannot be printed here nor should it be spoken in front of women and children.