Hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving; it is my favorite Holiday by the way. Nothing like roasted turkey and my favorite scalloped oysters cooked in butter and cream. For those of you who love oysters here’s a quick recipe. Get 2 pints of Chesapeake Bay oysters with juice, they are the very best but Pacific oysters will work. Two sleeves of saltine crackers crumbled, two sticks of butter salt, pepper all layered in a glass baking dish and a pint of half and half cream.
Grease dish with butter on bottom and all sides. You’re going to make three layers. First crumbled crackers, then 1/3 of oysters cut in quarters, then butter pats across oysters salt/pepper as you go. Use pepper generously and salt mildly. Build three layers till almost done then add oyster juice from the containers and crème over top of dish. You don’t want it runny but very moist.
Pre heat oven to 375 bake for 35 min or until dish is bubbling and a little brown on the sides. This is for oyster lovers but the average pallet will love it. Let cool a little but serve hot. I only have this twice a year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is unbelievable I just love it and I think you will too. One thing is you don’t want to deviate from the recipe.
I have been hunting a few ducks this season and must say it is a lot better than the last few years. ASO’s new owner Andy Bugos took me to his club north of Peoria on opening day and we had a great shoot with mostly woodies and teal. I also went with Al Johnson and his two sons Tyson and Trent at the Spring Lake walk in where I shot my first mallard of the year. If you get a chance to draw a position there it’s worth the effort. Nice blinds and you will see plenty of ducks.
I hunted with Dave Conway near Bath Illinois and shot a few also. I did get to spend some time with Dave’s uncle George Conway a World War 2 veteran. George was with the third Army in France when he was captured by the Germans. He spent the next 9 months in prison. He said the Germans didn’t harm them but was fed potato soup with little potato and turnip soup with little or no turnips. George said he lost 70 pounds in prison when released by the Russians, he was 20 years old. It was a great day spending time with George and it makes you proud to be in the presence of a one of the guys from the greatest generation.
It was funny when loading up in the boat I said to the guys its hell getting old. Then I looked at George who was moving around in the boat like a young man I immediately said disregard those comments. For 93 he is still a hell of a man.
Now another Red Nose Memory a long time ago but not forgotten. One thing I learned from the old guys at the club that eating was a big deal if not a staple of the clubs activities. Of course shooting ducks was our first but having some good food was number two.
I have told you about Paul the old German from WW1 he was a great cook and made sure we all ate well. Paul who went through the war and knew what it was like not to have enough to eat. He ate rats and cats for Christmas dinner in 1917 and knew how to get along with little choices during the war. He told me they would club rats in the trenches and said they were pretty good. I asked him what do they taste like and he said almost like a squirrel.
He said in the beginning of the war they had American canned hams till America declared war. I watch those survivor shows where they try to make it on what they find. But the real survivors are those who actually had to make it on next to nothing or they would die. It was a typical duck hunting day but as young guys go we wanted to shoot ducks not pack a lunch. Three of us had a great shoot and headed to the cabin to see what Paul had made up for us to eat. When we got in there was a big pot simmering away and for a hungry 23 year old, I was starved.
As we set down to devour the stew Paul said this dinner cost 15 cents. Bill Peak said how did you do that? Paul said he bought beef neck bones, a big package from the Jewel store in Springfield for 15 cents. He had a big garden out in front of the cabin and did for years with leaks, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes onions, carrots and everything else. Paul put whatever in the stew and to this day I remember it as one of the best stews I ever ate in my life. Of course I was starved but that shows you that if you know what hard times are you can make it pretty well with a little creativity. I wonder if any of those who complain they don’t have enough to eat ever grew a garden or stooped low enough to buy neck bones. Probably not.
This is the last ASO issue for 2017 and it has been an interesting year. Andy Bugos who took the reins last October 2016 is doing a great job. He has changed a few things like posting the hunting and fishing season dates on the cover which is nice for those wanting quick information. Added new stories plus his own Chronicles but has kept the all the writers who have made ASO the number one magazine in the state for over 20 years. Not only fantastic writers it has given our sponsors a place to promote their unique products and services where they target their customers the outdoorsman. There are a lot of places to advertise but to get to those who would more than likely purchase a gun, book a fishing trip or buy a new boat ASO has been a great value and venue. I am very proud of Andy’s efforts and could not have found a guy who took to this like a fish to water. He is the perfect match for ASO and I couldn’t be prouder of him. All who I talk to agree and say Harry ASO is in good hands. If you meet him you all will agree.
It’s been six months since Teddy Bear’s surgery to remove that tumor. So far he’s doing very well. We are going down to see Dr. Dan at the Cass Vet Center in Virginia for a checkup on Teddy before we leave for Florida. Cathy and I plan to do a lot of winter fishing in the waters near Port Charlotte. Last year was a work year and all we did was paint, put a new roof on, tile and carpet our place but now that’s done we should be on the Myakka River and on the Gulf bay fishing as often as we can. Hope you all have a great winter and it doesn’t get too cold. All though I heard it won’t be as nice as last winter I hope they are wrong.
Remember you only get out of life what you put in it. And what goes around comes around. Be safe out there this hunting season.
Keep your Powder dry and your Worm Wet! Harry