Happy to be home, and to hear from on old protagonist. Forget about holiday shopping for me if you’re inclined. I’ve already received everything I could have wished for.

Foremost, my thanks to the Press Pros staff for filling in with outstanding professional content while I was gone for a few days with friends to conquer the challenge of the outdoors and collect a few pheasant tenderloins for holiday consumption.

It’s what I would call…a Christmas present to myself.

And by the way. Eat all the turkey and ham you want this season. Nothing beats the taste of pheasant breast prepared marinated and grilled…or as a stir-fry component…or with pasta and Alfredo sauce instead of chicken.

And, of course, my thanks to some wonderful friends with whom I shared mutual concerns about Covid, culture in general, snoring, and gastric issues at night…all that and a lot of laughs.

I had no cell or wi-fi service in Hettinger and Slope counties, North Dakota, so I missed the daily repartee’ with readers of Press Pros. But when I got back to Minneapolis Sunday evening I was delighted to find a response to our recent column (Dec. 2, Boys Become Men, Men Become Boys) from…you know her, you love her…Syl, at her snowbird quarters on the coastal sands of Florida.

Wrote she: “I’m not surprised at all to find that you prefer wildlife over people, for frankly your attitude about each is about the same. How many innocent pheasants must you track down and kill to satisfy your barbaric fascination with hunting and what you call appreciation for wildlife and natural resources. Like so much of what you support…a total joke. We live in the 21st century now, at least most of us. Some day the news may even reach you.”

(Ed. Note:  My dear, as always I look forward to your dour misunderstanding of things about which you have no experience.  As to your stated concern about depreciation of the species, there are no shortage of pheasants…because as I wrote, there’s more of them here than there are people. While the numbers fluctuate, it’s a matter of being a rich environment and without the encroachment of people. The Dakotas are going through a terrible drought period at this point, which is equally hard on all living things, including the cattle from which you enjoy those fine fillets – this being the 21st century.  As to why pheasants, grouse, and deer, are here in the first place…God put them here for the survival of mankind. And it’s written in the book of Genesis “that man is to have dominion over birds of the air and beasts of the earth.” I add that just in case you take comfort in Biblical knowledge.  And Syl…most of us that hunt can claim experience and appreciation for the safe handling of firearms that too few enjoy because they grew up in the absence of fathers who made it a point that they learn – respect, safety, and the sanctity of life.  We all have our exclusive activities, Syl. And it’s comforting for the sake of inclusiveness that a shotgun costs a lot less than a membership to Doral.  It’s just that some of us have learned one of life’s greatest lessons from that purchase…at a bargain rate.  Happy holidays, my friend. And don’t wait so long to write.

The holiday dessert (in word form) came from this correspondent, concerned with our proliferation of life is worth living…at the cost those whose concern is Covid morning, noon, and night.

“Sir, while I support your right to opinion and freedom of speech, I’m disgusted with your prevailing attitude that sports should be played at all costs with no regard for the ongoing tragedy of the Covid virus and 265,000 deaths of innocent people.  You obviously ignore the consequences by encouraging high school football, while thumbing your nose at the governor, Urban Meyer and Jim Tressel with your coverage of the state football tournament.  We’re at war with an enemy that we cannot fight any other way until the vaccine is made available.  Until then, I would think that you would encourage people to be more patient and agreeable to a change in habit so that innocent can just live.  If you and Bruce Hooley don’t believe the facts, and the science, then you are the epitome of fools.”  …  James W. Koch

(Ed. Note:  With respect to your own opinion and command of facts and stats, I will remind you that of the 265,000 that have died, the CDC recently confirmed that only 12,000 have actually died strictly from the Covid virus (.0000375% of total population).  And the 265,000 that have perished, overall, represent .0008% of population, overall.  And of course, even Dr. Fauci NOW says that the safest place for kids to be is in school, given the stat that says Covid has little or NO effect on that age group.  So why not play?  If you’re one of those who believe that we should shut down the country, and the economy, for the sake of .0008% of population on the say-so of the government…who’s responsible for the lives and futures lost with those 19,000 small businesses in California?  In Ohio, one quarter of its population is tied to the future of small businesses threatened by the current mandates from the governor.  You think Gavin Newsom (California), or Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania), or Mike DeWine (Ohio) is going to be there with a check to cover their losses…if and when the war on Covid is won?  You talk about deaths?  What about the deaths of those people’s futures, their livelyhoods – their life’s work?  Please weigh the consequences to those innocent people, as you put it – to the .0008% – and get back to me.  And James, tell me how long that war will take and what makes you think that government knows best when it can’t even run an election?  And I can’t resist…Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel, and Clark Kellogg, who did those public service TV ads at Mike DeWine’s asking, don’t have to worry about losing their job or business.  Their fortune is secure, just like DeWine’s.  Do you appreciate the irony?)

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