Kelly Bostian: Giving thanks for warm toes
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Thursday, November 22, 2012
11/22/12 at 6:16 AM
Go to Kelly Bostian's blog Original Print Headline: Giving thanks for warm toes
MOST DAYS I share my office space with a lovable but flatulent elderly partner who specializes in keeping herself comfortable and providing a fantastic toe warmer under my desk.
Tag is a 15-year-old black Labrador retriever who is retired from hunting, but I'm sure she still thinks she runs like the wind and could jump up in the truck by herself if only she hopped on those back legs of hers enough times. I know for a fact that when we come home she would launch herself off the tailgate, and to her own demise, if I were not there to corral and lift her down.
All elderly dogs - kind of like us older people - have some ailment that they just have to live with. Tag was spared the crippling arthritis I've seen in other dogs, her vision is fading but still decent for her age and her hearing is good. For Tag, the failing is her digestive system, bless her heart.
Lengthy medical explanations aside, suffice to say that as Tag ages I wonder if my life experience with her lying across my toes - and creating her own under-the-desk atmosphere - will ultimately leave me an old man with no sense of smell.
Before we get too far, don't worry; I have no intention of serving up a Thanksgiving appetizer of canine flatus. The point here is I sat down to write a column fit for a great American holiday and had just a moment there where I thought. "Wow! Girl, you're making this tough."
But it's not tough. I work from home when I'm not writing from the cab of a pickup outside somewhere and have a job that I love. In an era when so many folks are just happy to have a job, any job, to have a career in the outdoors makes me truly thankful. I know I am a lucky, lucky man.
"Man, I wish I had your job," is the refrain I hear often from folks when I'm out in the field and people learn what I'm doing, trailing along on a fishing or hunting trip.
In 1980 or '81 I read a magazine article by Grits Gresham titled something like "Everybody Wants My Job" in which the famous outdoor author chronicled the tasks involved in his job. Grits essentially pointed out that he spent a lot more time behind a typewriter (remember those?) than he did in the field. He said outdoor writing and photography is hard work and a lot more about writing and photography and business than getting to go hunting and fishing. He also pointed out that, in spite of the downsides, he loved his job.
Grits was right about that hunting and fishing thing. I spend a lot more time watching and talking to others who have done it than actually holding a gun or rod myself.
I don't hunt and fish for a living like the guys with commercial sponsors you see on outdoor television. Occasionally I'll write about my own exploits because it is important that I experience some of this firsthand so I know what I'm writing about, but the great majority of the time I prefer to tell the stories of others (and the irony of that statement in a column written mostly about myself is not lost on me).
Bringing the outdoors to a local newspaper audience is an increasingly rare privilege across this country and I'm thankful to do it in Tulsa. To me a newspaper is about community, a community is made up of wide and varying interests, viewpoints and ideologies, and you can't have community without good communication. The newspaper pulls it all together.
It is my pleasure to bring the Tulsa outdoors community into that picture locally, to share your stories with a wide readership throughout northeast Oklahoma and beyond that via the web.
I've spent a lot of long days with hunters and fishermen holding a camera and watching while they continually apologized for the lack of deer, fish, birds or whatever we were supposed to be chasing. Early in the morning, late into the night, weekends and weekdays, hot weather, cold or dry weather, we are there when the critters and the weather tell us we should be there - or that we think we need to be there.
No apologies necessary. There is always a story in the outdoors and I'm always thankful to be there for the experience and thankful to be here writing later on - warm toes and all.