The other night I was out exploring SW Houston and discovered I am less than 15 minutes from a Bass Pro Shop, otherwise known as Outdoor World, or as I call it, “HEAVEN”. Years ago I lived an hour away from one and in recent years, made annual pilgrimages to the locations i knew, but now that I am 15 minutes away, I know my spiritual life will improve. You cannot be that close to Heaven and not be affected, after all.
If you don’t have an Outdoor World near you, I am so sorry. You might know Cabela’s outdoor stores, which are very similar. If not, and you have no clue to what I am referring, you have my deepest sympathy. These are very large, no….HUGE stores designed to look like hunting lodges, extravagantly decorated in all things outdoors, with lots of stuffed trophy animals, fancy gun rooms, aquariums with lots of giant bass and catfish, and everything that could possibly used during outdoor activities. It caters to those of us bitten by the outdoor bug and who have subsequently lost our minds, thinking that camo is a color choice for home decoration.
“Now, where is that sculptured camo shag carpeting with the wildlife hoofprints cut out? Excuse me, do you have this in forest floor with deer tracks or is it only available in pasture with raccoon and turkey?”
I love going to Outdoor World and Cabela’s stores. Although I cannot afford most of what they have since I operate on a Walmart budget these days, I do find some deals on occasion. Even if I don’t buy anything, I really enjoy walking around and looking at the latest and greatest outdoor gear. Guns, clothes, hunting paraphernalia, (sniff) fishing poles and lures by the millions, boats, camping equipment, (sniff) hiking stuff (tears streaming down my face). Pardon me while I compose myself. It’s really an emotional, almost spiritual place. As I think of this I recall the band of Hillbilly angels that descend whenever I arrive there. They fly right through the log cabin roof, playing the fiddle, juice harp, and banjo versions of Dolly Parton’s greatest hits. SIGH. What could be sweeter?
(work with me people).
I am not being sacrilegious when i call this place Heaven. I know the difference, but we have to die to get to Heaven. “Outdoor Heaven” is here right now. I love going there because it is a place where I escape when I walk in the door. I dream and visualize all the things I enjoy doing outdoors and all the places I have never gotten to go do them. I would love to go to Canada and catch a fish that you have to drape over both arms. Bear hunting in Alaska. Marlin fishing. Hiking in the Rockies. When I am there, I see myself hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and anything else you can do out from under a roof, and when I see myself doing it, I am really good at it. It’s a fantasy. It’s better than an amusement park, plus it’s air conditioned! I mean let’s get real folks. I live in Houston, the world’s largest petrochemically enhanced concrete sauna. Dreaming of outdoor stuff during the Houston summer is much more enjoyable than getting out and fighting the giant mosquitoes that carry off our young.
“Outdoor Heaven”. It’s free to get in and you can stay all day as long as you behave yourself. You don’t HAVE to spend anything, though they prefer you do. There are no $4.00 hot dogs or $5.00 cokes like the amusement parks either. The night I was there I watched outdoor cooking demonstrations, drooled over all the new equipment that I can’t afford, and listened to discussions about fishing techniques from guys who are WAY better at it than me. They even had a free BBQ chicken dinner. The only thing to make it better would a sweet southern treat like a MOON PIE. Holy cow! They have those too. It’s all just oo much for me to bear. Please come back and check out my next post, where I will extoll the virtues of Moon Pies, that all time southern sweet treat from my childhood. Thanks Outdoor World. Do you hear those hillbilly angels now?