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Carmichel Confetti by Jim Carmichel
  'Gentleman' Jim Carmichel is best known as the former Shooting Editor for Outdoor Life magazine, a position he has held since 1971, when he replaced the legendary Jack O'Connor. He is the recognized expert in rifles, and authored five books, including The Book of the Rifle in 1986, which is still considered the bible for most rifle shooters. He has been on nearly 30 safaris and has hunted in over 20 countries on six continents, and his trophy collection is very impressive. His stories are endless, and simply cannot be equaled when he tells them. He does not suffer fools or engage in idle chit chat. Jim has participated in shooting competitions since his first win at Camp Perry in 1957. He has also developed new rifle cartridge designs, including the .22 CheetaH, .260 Bobcat, and the 6.5 Panther. A true Renaissance man, Gentleman Jim is known to enjoy good food, wine, and even an occasional cigar. He is the father of three daughters and lives in Tennessee with his lovely wife Linda.
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Thanksgiving Morning   

Thanksgiving Morning
11/20/2012
Many years ago when I was a boy, Thanksgiving Day also marked the opening day of hunting season, making the occasion doubly joyous. We lived on a small farm and as soon as the morning chores were finished; the men and I would head out to the fields in search of quail and rabbits. I still remember those frosty mornings and how the crisp air tingled my nose and the excitement of flushing bobwhite and zigzagging cottontails. I was too young to have a gun back then, but I did my part anyway, stomping brush piles to spook bunnies and running down fallen quail as fast as any retriever.

One regular member of our small group lived in town and came in a shiny car that had wood on its sides. He always wore a red leather hunting cap and a fancy hunting vest with enough shell loops to hold a whole box of shells. He also had two pretty black and white setters that he scolded when they chased rabbits. The dogs would hang their heads in mournful recognition of their sin, and then he would grant forgiveness by rubbing their ears and petting their ribs, after which they would gleefully bound away to chase more rabbits. I always stayed close to him so I could hold his shotgun when he climbed through fences. Holding his gun made me feel important because it was a lot nicer than our two family shotguns, and I was dazzled by the way it tossed fired shotshells back over his shoulder when he opened it to reload.

The paper shells looked like rockets taking off from the twin barrels of his shotgun, leaving a trail of smoke in the cold air and I grabbed them in an instant, wafted them under my nose, inhaling their exotic incense, then saved them in my jacket pocket to sniff again later. There was no smell sweeter, I thought, than the smoky perfume of a freshly fired shotshell. Except, that is, the heavenly aromas from Mom's wood burning stove when we came tromping into her kitchen after the hunt. "Get out of here and take those muddy boots off," she would order, "and start getting washed up because the pumpkin pie will be done in a minute." So we'd wash our hands in the gray enamel pan on the back porch, wetting the single comb in the cold wash water to slick our hair back.

On most days we had our meals in the kitchen, our oilcloth covered table only two quick steps from the warm stove. But on Thanksgiving we would eat in the dining room, sitting there quietly as we awaited the bounty of Mom's cooking, our heads bowed, feeling blessed by the day and each other. It was Thanksgiving, and we were thankful.
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