The Blood Tradition Continues

Mississippi's Youth Deer Season.  After shooting more yesterday than he sometimes does while duck hunting, Duncan convinced me to check the zero on my Grandfather's trusty ol' .308.  It was off.  Way off.  Rezeroed, let him fire a practice round for confidence.  Baby girl went hunting with us that afternoon.  One and a half year-old spike bucks have been deemed cull by MDWFP on our club property.  Perfect.  It walked to within 25 yards and last thing I whispered was that if he missed it wasn't the gun's fault this time.

Baby Girl had stood in the blind so she could see.  The 120-pounder met Jesus the instant Duncan pulled the trigger.  I hit it, Daddy!  And then, to my surprise, came the tears.  First the boy's, then Baby Girl's.   Good.  I think they now properly understand.

A talk - the talk - followed by a couple high-fives.  We climbed down to go see Duncan's trophy. From another blind, Forrest passed on a young, 15-inch six-point, twice.  A sign of the times: he sent me a cell phone pic of the buck, too.  He couldn't lower the boom on a couple wary does, watched turkeys and wished he'd has his airgun to kill the racoon that ambled by.  He and Mom had a great time.  Forrest has two under his belt from preceding seasons.

Duncan was proud to at long last sport the time-honored blood tradition.

Ramsey Russell's GetDucks.com


Sufferin’ Bastard

Sufferin' Bastard by Gil Jackson

An old River Boat Captain on the Mississippi,  Grady Forkum, gave me this recipe many years ago.  I have taken it to all corners of North America on hunting trips; it was very popular at Nash Buckingham's old Beaver Dam Club. It's not moonshine.  It's legal, and easy to prepare if you know what to look for and how to blend it. Three simple ingredients mixed in proper proportion creates this heavenly libation. Here is a passage from an old story I wrote that has the recipe:

Several years ago the Banker and I had become unwitting squires to an old retired waterman.  The Capt'n had been a pilot on the Mississippi River for better than forty years , living a duel life as husband and father between three month stints pushing trade to the delta.  All those long months away from home were hard on the Capt'n, but not without its fair share of rewards.  One of those rewards was being keeper of the key to the vessel's medicine box, and one of the most significant things stored within that box was known by all on board as "Sufferin' Bastard".  It was so named because a crewmen had to be near death for the Capt'n to allow him to partake of it's uncanny healing powers.

The Capt'n passed on his secret to the Banker and I only after we had performed a few chores about his house and barn. It was a matter of fair market value that one should only receive such a time honored formula within the framework of a true southern horse trade.  Once we had fulfilled our commitment to the Capt'n he gave us "THE RECIPE".

He paused for a moment to gather his thoughts before describing his creation. "Men, first off you got to be patient."  Don't rush things 'cause timing is everything.  Do the sweet stuff first, followed by the spicy stuff, then lastly, and most importantly, you gotta' light the fire in it.  Now, if you do exactly as you're instructed you'll find yourself with a gift from The River Gods." The way he started out I couldn't help but ask if he was describing his famous river tonic or his wedding night.  His tone changed to austere when he saw my mind drifting and brought the bow about.  He was in no mood for levity.  After all, you don't want to disclose your trademarked cure-all in a careless manner.

"Look here guys," he said.  "When I'm talking 'bout the sweet stuff, it consists of eight ounces of Grade A clover honey.  The spicy stuff is nothing more than three or four long cinnamon sticks, and the fire in this concoction is one quart of fine bourbon with Kentucky somewhere on its label. It takes a spell for the cinnamon and honey to blend properly with Kentucky's finest export, but once the right ingredients, in due proportion, have been given the time so well deserved, there is hardly an ailment known to mankind that can't be treated. "

I assured the Capt'n that I knew a good bit about Kentucky's artistry with hardwood barrels, and one of my cousins was a bee keeper.  After displaying favor in my response, he continued.

Next he told us to place the ambrosial ingredients in a glass jug, secure the elixir with a tight seal, shake violently for a couple of minutes, then store it in a cool dry place for a year.  At the end of the allotted time open the jug and strain the heavenly libation through cheese cloth to remove any residual wax and what's left of the cinnamon sticks.  The remaining sum total of your efforts will astound your friends and free your tongues for praise when served at room temperature or as a "Hot Christmas Toddy". He finished by saying, " This is for sippin' not drinkin' but if you choose the latter be forewarned it has made grown men run rabbits, and the fairest ladies to loose their resolve."

Capt'n has been gone for many years now, but his river boat elixir has traveled with me far and wide.  Canada to Mexico … Beaver Dam Lake to Reelfoot Lake …. Chesapeake to the prairies of Arkansas , and places in between. I hope the Capt'n is lookin' down smiling every time he sees me start a fresh batch blending.

Ramsey Russell's GetDucks.com