Ducks and Turkeys: A Thanksgiving Tradition

By John Criner Outdoors Columnist

Deer season has been open a couple of weeks and we are into the first week of duck season. Things are wonderful for hunters in our state. By now much game has been harvested and processed. The freezers are starting to fill up and the meat processors are smiling. Not to mention taxidermists like Lakeside Taxidermy. I am starting to see some great sets of horns and pretty ducks. This is truly the time of year we have been waiting for. My family has a Thanksgiving tradition that goes back 30 plus years. It started before my son was born about 38 years ago. We head to the duck blind long before daylight with friends, the yellow lab, Henry, and high expectations. Being the first Thursday after opening morning, the hunting is usually pretty good. However, the total count on the duck stringer is the least important factor. After the hunt and before dinner time, we are back home and my wife, Colleen has the kitchen smelling wonderful. We always do turkey and all the goodies that go with it. The smell really turns on the hunger pains. Hunger pains? No, starving pains! We now have grandchildren, thus the name Papa Duck, to celebrate this great holiday. We say the Blessing and try to thank the Lord for being so good to us. My family has been so blessed. After eating we are off to the final phase of the Turkey Day Tradition. We go down on Missouri Street in West Memphis to the Christmas tree store. We have been going there ever since he opened many years ago. This is a neat place to go and wander through the pines, furs, cedars, and other varieties of trees. The only problem is there are so many it takes a while to pick it out. The selection must be done right. This only happens once a year and we have to get it right. Everybody has an input on the variety, shape and size. We have a vaulted ceiling in our home, so we always get a big tall tree. My son Dr. Keith who lives in Jonesboro, picks out his while we are all together. I know this has not been about hunting, but it is part of the season. I ask that you send stories of your traditions and perhaps some fishing tales. Some folks deer hunt and I have a friend that always runs beagles on Thanksgiving with his family. Others just visit family and talk about tomorrow. Let me know. Good hunting, Papa Duck Lakeside Taxidermy, Proctor, AR 870-732-0455 or 901-482-3430,


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