• 63°

Duck season is just wonderful

Thanksgiving — which, yes, is fast approaching — is a time to give thanks for all that we are blessed with and for spending time with family. For a few of us, Thanksgiving means the start of the most wonderful season in the world, duck season.

Most people have hobbies they enjoy and mine just happens to be duck hunting. For eight weeks out of the year, duck hunting is an obsession.

I was first introduced to this small town in the Mississippi Delta in 1983. Little did I realize that I would make Brazil, located in Tallahatchie County, my winter vacation home for the next three-plus decades.

For most hunters, it isn’t about the shooting of the game as much as it is about getting outside and enjoying God’s creation, nature. So much of duck hunting is the camaraderie we share with each other and the bonds that are formed.

We have been around each other for so many years and watched kids grow up and mature, all the while watching as the adults revert to childhood.

My son, Pittman, spent most of his early years with me at Mallard Alley Hunting Club, my camp’s club. I have pictures in my office that reflect our times together even before he could shoot a gun.

I remember picking him up after school and seeing the excitement on his face, as he knew his weekend would be spent at camp with the men.

Mallard Alley is like so many other duck clubs in the Mississippi Delta. Our club started off in a single-wide trailer and then eventually added a double-wide attached to the singlewide. After the skunks finally ran us out of the double-wide, we decided to build our own building, which we have been in for the last 14 years.

Duck hunting is like no other type of hunting in that we get to talk and laugh at each other for the entire day. Not only that, but if the hunting is slow, then the stories and lies really start to flow.

Dogs have come and gone, but always remain such an important part of our club. My dog, “Smokey,” can see me putting my boots in the truck and knows that it is time for us to head west, where he enjoys life like nowhere else.

Mallard Alley has been a large part of my life and is a place that I can go to forget the everyday struggles that life throws at all of us. When I turn off Highway 35 onto Paducah Wells Road, all the stress from the week disappears, at least for a few days.

Mallard Alley is a place that I can always remember sharing with my late brother Dan, and younger brother, Andy. Dan made an appearance once a year and always enjoyed his weekend at Mallard Alley. One of my favorite paintings is the one in my office of the three of us duck hunting and seeing the genuine smile on Dan’s face.

Life is so short for all of us, and any memories doing something that we enjoy with family and friends is a part of life that we all need to cherish.

Tim Phillips is publisher of the Oxford EAGLE. Contact him at tim.phillips@oxfordeagle.com.