Wandering through a sportsmen’s wonderland

15 years ago

    At this time of year the Christmas spirit abounds everywhere, from the seasonal office party to the live manger scene and holiday pageantry at local churches. 

    Santa can be found at every mall taking requests and photos with youngsters, and Salvation Army bells and buckets help spread good will to those who need it most.
    Nothing purveys the warm feelings of the season like the traditional exchange of gifts between friends and loved ones. Just as the three wise men brought wondrous gifts from afar to celebrate the baby in the manger, we carry on this joyous tradition. Although the gala event of trimming the tree and opening gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning has always been geared especially for children, many of us baby boomers have a lot of inner child remaining.
    As a group, it’s safe to say outdoorsmen are big kids at heart, and perennially excited about what wonderful sporting goods are awaiting under the tree to be opened with much ribbon ripping and paper pulling. Sportsmen make wish lists, visit local sporting goods stores and wander aisles wistfully, and constantly peruse outdoor catalogs with eager eyes and longing sighs.
    Sometimes we even daydream about the items we most desire to unwrap on Friday morning. With that in mind, and with extreme apologies to Felix Bernard and Dick Smith, the composer and lyricist of “Winter Wonderland,” I offer the following heartfelt sentiment. If you can’t remember the tune, wait until the song plays on the radio and read along with the music.

Sportmen’s Wonderland
Cash registers ring, are you listening
In my eyes, tears are glistening
It’s a wonderful sight
Outdoor gear left and right
Shopping in a sportman’s wonderland.

Gone for now is the green grass
Here to stay is the snow mass
Autumn’s memories bring smiles
As I wander the aisles
Shopping for my outdoor wonderland

In this store, the guns are in the basement
On the top floor fishing gear abounds
A clerk says “Can I help you” I say “Yes, man”
Just aim me where the salmon flies are found.

Before long, I’d bought a pistol
A salmon rod, handmade in Bristol
Two new duck calls, 12 decoys for fall
Shopping in a sportsman’s wonderland

All of the aisles, are lined with tinsel and lights
And the vast display of outdoor gear is a wondrous sight
Wandering through a Sportsman’s Wonderland

Hours pass, and I’m still shopping
Floor after floor, without stopping
Knives, hats, clothes and reels
Boots, gloves, lines and creels
More great toys than most grown boys could stand.

Later on, I bought a shotgun
A canoe and paddles, for some real fun
A new rifle scope
Books and anchor rope
Shopping here makes Christmas truly grand.

In the foyer packages are mounting
Clerks are lugging gifts from all about
The manager says no more checks from you Sir
And each and every charge card is maxed out.

All at once, I awaken
I sit up, forlorn and shaken
It’s all been a dream
Sad news it would seem
I was snoozing in a sportsmen’s wonderland.

Down the stairs, I did wander
Spied the tree over yonder
All the gifts from my dreams
Were ‘neath the bows, it would seem
Santa too, is an outdoor sporting man!

    Here’s hoping old St. Nick finds his way to your house Thursday night with his sack full of goodies, and one or two much dreamed about outdoor items end up under the bows of your tree. More importantly, I wish you and yours health and the opportunity to share the holiday with family and friends, and to revel in the true meaning of the season. Merry Christmas.



Image    HOPEFULLY the fictitious fellow in the poem's sporting goods store found a few of those special gifts under his Christmas tree – just like this one.