Ramble with Storm: Old-timer

Mulling things on my morning ramble

with Storm, the family’s mixed Lab.

I think of myself as a young guy.

Of course, that is absurd. I am middle-aged.

And apparently I look even older.

An incredibly beautiful morning. Cold enough that hoar frost coated a few trees, apparently there was an icy fog overnight. Cold enough that a heavy frost was so thick it lightened the morning. The light dawn was helped because the cloud cover drifted away before the pre-dawn.

Back to age.

So last Wednesday, I was at the stocking of walleye fingerlings in Wolf Lake. And one of the Perch America regulars asked, “How ya doin’, old-timer?”

At first, I figured he was just saying old-timer in the sense of meaning I have been doing the outdoors for a long time for the Sun-Times (17 years now, if my count is right).

But then I got to thinking, “No, I think he means old-timer, as in: an old guy.”

Well, I am not an old guy. At least I don’t think so.

On the far end of the extended ramble, the cackling of Canada geese wafted in.

But looking in the rear-view mirror in our old Saturn before I pulled back out on Calumet Avenue last Wednesday, I had to concede, “Well, maybe I do look like an old-timer.”

My face is weathered, looking older than my years. Gray/white locks of hair spilled from under my green Ducks Unlimited baseball cap. To call my mustache and goatee salt and pepper would be to stretch the definition of pepper to its utter palest.

One muskrat swam to the west of the island. Better swim now. Trapping season opens today in Illinois’ north zone. And I think a real old-timer has permission to trap, specifically to remove some of the muskrats in the town pond.

Maybe I can live with old-timer. That seems like a salutation of respect. I sure don’t feel like an old guy.

Back in town, one gray squirrel scurried under a fence. That was it for wildlife this morning.

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