As the years race past, outdoor memories grow fonder

(Photo by Kinny Haddox)

It’s been decades ago, but seems like yesterday. I walked into the Pittsburgh Paint Store store where hometown fishing buddy Gary Cooper was at work. It was drizzling rain, a bit windy and generally miserable outside. Business was slow. There was only one customer in the store when I told him he should take off a few hours early and we could go fishing.

“Today? Fishing?,” the lady customer asked, looking shocked as she brought her gallon of paint to the checkout counter.

“Today is a good day,” I replied. It was not a good day for painting. But, yes, it was a good day to go fishing. There are very few days that aren’t good for going fishing. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Over the years, I’ve often thought of putting all my stories together in a book. So far, I have only come up with the title — Today’s a Good Day. I may never finish the rest. That’s okay. I have been able to live my own book drowning crickets, bouncing jigs in treetops, splashing spinnerbaits at bass, calling ducks and sleeping in the stand waiting for a big buck. As time has passed, I have grown to love writing about the outdoors and fantastic people as much as I enjoy hunting and fishing.

Many outdoor blessings

I’ve been blessed to hunt and fish with some of the best. Some you have heard of; most you have not. I hunted with Duck Commander Phil Robertson. I fished with Bo Dowden the day he won the Bassmaster Classic. But the really special ones are friends and family. I camped with in the Atchafalaya Basin running trotlines for catfish. Or fishing Toledo Bend from one end to the other. I’ve reeled up snapper from the Gulf until my arms hurt. And I’ve paid the price. Yes, I get seasick. Can outdoor writers say that? I’ve caught a three-pound crappie and worked harder in the deer woods than I ever did in the office. I’ve run down the lake in a bass boat powered by a 250 horsepower outboard and I’ve been up the creek without a paddle. The list is many, many years long.

There have been beautiful days and nasty days, like we often have here in January. Even a bad day fishing or hunting is better than a good day at work. That’s not necessarily true, but it sounds good.

And now as I get to enjoy the outdoors in a new way, helping edit the Louisiana Sportsman magazine, I’m blessed once again. Louisiana is lucky to have such a publication that shares outdoor articles and, photos, news and how-to information with its readers in print and electronic versions.

New for 2022

One new feature we’ve added is new outdoor columns, this one and another by veteran outdoor writer and editor Joe Macaluso. We’ll be sharing the kind of personal tales that we all love to tell while eating venison biscuits around the campfire or sitting on the boat dock as fresh fish are released into the fish cooker grease. These are the kind of tales that are rehashed numerous times and last a lifetime. Some of them are even true. And maybe, if we are lucky, they’ll be repeated around campfires and boat docks even in the days when we are gone on from God’s green Earth.

We want to highlight our people. One way we will do that is feature one of our state’s Outdoor Legends each month. And we’ll share what accomplishments got them there. People like them are what makes the Louisiana outdoors great.

People pursue outdoor activities because they are fun, entertaining and enjoyable. And it’s all about sharing it with friends and family. We all want to know more about how, when and where to bring home a catch or take wild game, but we don’t want to overlook the simple and pure pleasure of going and having fun with people we care about. Life is richer for it. And you don’t have to be the best at it or famous for it, you just have to do it. Here’s a great example of what I mean.

Memories that last a lifetime

In 1957, John Ruark wrote a book called Old Man’s Boy Grows Older. It has a line in it that is one of my favorites. I’ll bet you know what the old man means:

“The best thing about hunting and fishing,” the old man said, “is that you don’t have to actually do it to enjoy it. You can go to bed every night thinking about how much fun you had twenty years ago, and it all comes back clear as moonlight.” 

About Kinny Haddox 591 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.