I was thinking the other day about how much I love Thanksgiving Day. It occurred to me that it is the only holiday that hasn’t been so abased by commercialism, it still retains a core value. The older I get the more I realize I don’t know.  But if you can’t look at how blessed we are in this country, and give thanks for it, you have a serious problem facing reality.
When I was very young Christmas was my favorite holiday, but when I was in the second grade I confronted my mom about the reality of Santa Claus. Christmas gradually took a second place to Thanksgiving.  
 I will never forget the shock; I was sitting at our kitchen table after an exhausting day of second-grade school and I said, “I know there is no way any man could go to every house in the world in one night. Santa Claus can’t be real, can he?”  I can still see the disappointment in my mom’s face, as she realized that her youngest son had passed another critical point in growing up. Santa Claus was not real, it was a big lie the whole time, a cruel hoax that the whole world had participated in.  
Fast forward six years; I am in the eighth grade, and finally after my begging every year, my dad has agreed to take me deer hunting.  Deer gun season is always the week after Thanksgiving, and this has a lot to do with Thanksgiving being my favorite holiday.  Growing up we would leave on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and meet somewhere for the best week of the year.  Deer gun season has been a family reunion for the men in my family for 44 years.  
Back in those days, it was nothing to go all week and not even see a deer.  We used to get excited about seeing deer tracks; hard to believe with the abundance of deer we see now.  Bringing back the white-tailed deer population is one of our country’s greatest conservation stories.  I plan on making the trip again this year for the Ohio Deer Gun Season.  Good Lord willing, I’ll be there when the sun rises on Dec. 2. Gun season runs through Dec. 8. Then I will slowly migrate back here to Florida.
I implore every hunter to have a wonderful, safe, and hopefully productive gun season. Remember safety first, make 100 percent certain that you are shooting at a deer, and nothing or no one is behind your target. Remember the old slogan that I love so much, and every year that I grow older the wisdom in this statement seems to grow: “We do not hunt to kill, we kill to have hunted.” Good luck to you all.                                                                    God bless you all,
  RHM