Saturday, Sept. 21, was the first day of duck season on Gull Lake. Like always, it was Saturday and, true to form, my wife, Susan, and I were sitting on our back (or is it front?) porch having a cup of coffee. My wife refers to the lakeside as the front, and I can’t break the habit of calling the roadside the front.
I was amused listening to the sound of shotguns as it brought back fond memories of a long ago duck hunting trip to Arkansas, with what could best be described as very professional secret service personnel.
When I moved to Texas to be president of the University of Texas at Arlington, I was invited to duck hunt on opening day in “Duck Dynasty.” Yes, it does exist!
I visited Duck Dynasty because the “business” person on the search committee, the only non-academic, was a banker. Nathan introduced me to many members of the local community. We became friends, and it is very important to have non-university friends if you are the president, because the university “types” all have personal agendas.
Dan, the entrepreneur I met through Nathan, grew up in Arkansas, where he still owned land and still had duck hunting “connections.” Dan invited Nathan, me and Don, a developer, to go duck hunting in Arkansas at the opening of the season. Since Don had his own plane, it would be a fast and fun trip.
Now, I don’t like “Duck Dynasty,” as it seems too outlandish to be true. But listening to “openings” on Gull Lake on that Saturday jogged my memory about my Arkansas duck hunt.
We arrived for duck “openings” where we picked up a truly, ancient, filthy, Chevy Suburban, which Dan kept at the airport. This truck could easily be in use on “Duck Dynasty” now. We were dressed in hunting clothes and loaded the Suburban with a pistol and 8 shotguns. And yes, about eight cases of 12 gauge #2 and #4 shotgun shells.
We stopped briefly at the guide’s home to establish contact and make plans for the next day’s hunt. In his house, we chatted in his living room where there was a mounted two-day old fawn curled up on an end table. The fawn served as the room decoration. I was in Duck Dynasty before there was a “Duck Dynasty.” I was impressed with the fawn, but my wife put her foot down when I suggested we get one.
We then left for our rooms, as we intended to get up before dawn. On the way to our quarters, we approached a Holiday Inn. One of the party suggested we stop and see the end of the Cowboys game. I forget who made that suggestion, but since I grew up in Wisconsin, I know it wasn’t me.
We went to the bar to watch the game. When we settled into the bar, we recognized a lot of national politicos coming and going. We inquired about what was going on. The bartender told us that president-elect Clinton was in the hotel consulting with cabinet possibilities.
Wow! the president-elect is in the house and we have enough ammo in our decrepit vehicle to start a small revolution. We decided we better inform someone with the Clinton Secret Service party before we drew their attention. Instead, we decided the most prudent thing was to get out of there!
We beat a hasty retreat, got settled where we were staying and went to find a bar/restaurant where we could misbehave like you are supposed to when hunting with “the guys.” We were drinking and had just ordered when four agents walked in and sat down to order dinner.
It was easy to identify them. They did not order duck hunter drinks and they were dressed in suits — in Arkansas! I walked over to them and introduced myself. I explained our experience at the Holiday Inn. They were friendly and amused.
I was surprised when they informed me that they knew who all four of us were. We looked like duck hunters, but they had checked us out when we arrived in an unexpected vehicle.
Those guys are good!
(Ryan Custer Amacher, an economist, lives in Lake Shore.)