Sometime a number of years ago I think it was my younger brother Dick who, at the end of a pheasant hunting day made up of long walks stuffed some toilet paper into the toes of dad’s leather boots as a bit of a joke. We all laughed as dad complained the next morning of his uncomfortable fitting boots. So began a long-running family laugh. Not only in leather boots but paper stuffed toes were, from time to time found in hip boots, rubber waders, tennis shoes and dad’s leather Wellington work shoes. Needless to say when my boys, Erik and Chad began to hunt the soft paper found its way into their footwear too. The laughs were always more funny for the prankster and frustrating for the recipient when boots were already laced up or wiggled into. Once I even wore the boot for most of the day before the uncomfortable fit caused me to check it out.
So began some of the small funnies around home. That is until not so many years ago when lunch sandwich-making duties came my way for the next days’ hunt. Somehow I decided, in the spirit of the tissue toes to make one lunch item much less desirable than all the rest. Not inedible or truly nasty but different to say the least. Outwardly it would have exactly the same appearance as all the others but with just one bite taste buds would give it away with absolutely no doubt that you’d been had. Items like horseradish, large amounts of mustard (none of us really like the yellow stuff), garlic or combinations that included jelly with garlic, sweet pickles (preferred about as much as mustard in our group) with horseradish would be included between the bread slices. One of us, usually not me became the obvious winner around lunch time. With laughs ‘n chuckles it soon became a bit of a tradition now looked forward to, sometimes unknowingly by one of our group.
The "Special Sandwich" has also made its way from time to time into the boat during days on the water. In one instance I waited 3 days to eat a sandwich. Chad and I had spent 2 practice days together not finding it and if the truth be known he wasn’t even aware there was a special one until tournament day. It was around 11 when hungry he reached into the cooler. After the first bite he gagged a bit, wrinkled up his face with tongue hanging out suddenly digging for a Coke. "uuggggg" was all he said before expressing his extreme surprise and displeasure as I laughed my way into a remaining sandwich I now knew was safe, finally!
So as melting snow drips from the roof and a reluctant spring still seems far away my thoughts are of days afield with the dogs, fishing trips, the sweet smell of outboard exhaust, a spring rain, the squeeking calls of a hen woodie, gobbling toms and lunches complete with "Special Sandwiches!"