Greatest gift: Being able to continue outdoor pursuits

Well, here we are on the eve of one of mankind’s greatest holidays. Children are getting all snuggled in their beds with thoughts of computer games and hi-tech gadgetry whirling about in their heads. The past several weeks has seen the crowds of parent "elves" bustling eager to fulfill these youthful dreams to a world of reality. In fact, I spent some time this past week making my list for this year’s under the tree surprises on Christmas morning. In consideration of my exemplary behavior over the past year I don’t think it’s out of character to throw a hint here or there whenever this special holiday occasion arises. The holiday has arrived, so without further ado or suspense I herewith offer my thoughts for a Holly, Jolly Ho Ho Ho !!

Real or perceived doom and gloom reports from various corners of this planet and global warming once again seems to be making headlines even in the face of evidence that this ebb and flow of planetary vagaries has been going on since before the dinosaurs tromped through snowdrifts on their way to extinction. My first and foremost wish is for some stability from old Mother Earth herself and a show of journalistic integrity reporting the extent and advancement of our joining the dinosaur’s march to fossilized left-overs.

Global warming is real, no doubt, but I doubt very seriously that we can control its advancement or retreat despite the best of intentions on our behalf.

My opinion only, and I will readily admit that I am not a trained meteorologist. With that thought in mind, I do ask Santa to forestall the down-side of global warming and allow us to enjoy our time outdoors in pursuit of game and fish.

This is a good intro for my next checklist item – a fly rod that casts just like we see the pros do. Nice tight, elongated loops, great timing on the back – casts, and a presentation like a tiny feather wafting gently to the watery surface. I want this rod to make me look very good in front of my fellow anglers in order to give them an awe inspiring idea that I truly know what I’m doing. No frantic back and forth whipping about of the fly line nor a remarkable inability to hook anything but tree limbs while missing the fish swimming hungrily in the water below.

Rod size, line size, and length of rod really doesn’t matter nor does the terminology of dry, wet, nymph or salt water affect my time on the water! I just want to catch fish and let the skills of the rod maker artisan solve the inherent problems as they come about.

Reasonable request on my part, don’t you agree?

As long as we’re going all out for special under the tree goodies, how about a really fine shotgun with the uncanny ability to counteract my aging reflexes and diminishing abilities. Slow swing, misjudging of intersecting angles and an overactive trigger finger whenever game birds BURST ( did ya flinch there ? ) from cover and rocket away from my misplaced shot. A stock of extra fancy walnut to smile over whenever I wipe down the gun after a successful day in the field. A box or two of special shotshells that automatically adjust for the bird’s size, speed and distance from the barrel muzzle.

If this is too much to ask I am willing to forego the extra fancy engraving and wood inlays that I know would look fantastic adorning such a shotgun.

How about a tackle box that always has the right lures, in the right sizes, colors and hook arrangement for the species you may be questing after on any particular day (or evening). A fly -vest with the same qualities as the tackle box. Substitute flies in their infinite variety for the plugs and you’ll match that hatch each and every time, just like the pros do it.

Make the box and vest manageable but not too insignificant to a casual observer – remember that image is a powerful part of sport fishing.

Of course my list (and, I do believe, yours as well) can go on and on much like the pieces and parts that make up the world of hunting, fishing, hiking, and boating that we all pursue with such enthusiasm. HOWEVER – what I’d really like to see is a world at peace with itself and all the peoples that call Earth home. A world I will be proud to turn over to my children and grandchildren so that they can enjoy the abundant pleasures and adventures that I’ve found roaming the woods and waters during my lifetime.

I wonder if that will be the world we leave behind as our gift in a future yet to come or will the despoilers have their way and help us speed up our path to the dinosaurs’ demise? A world of peace, love, happiness and freedom is a beautiful gift that truly means, literally, how much we love them at this special time of the year.

To all my readers I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and best of all things good and attainable going forward into a Happy New Year.

Gordon Lewis can be reached at