I'm gonna tell y'all right now that I am a championship turkey caller. Ain't nobody better. I can call 'em in and put 'em in a trance. I just can't shoot 'em as I haven't figured out how to operate the call and the gun at the same time.
Over on the S&W forum a thread went off-topic (imagine that) and got to talking about Martin guitars. I chimed in saying that I'd like to have a Martin but didn't play well enough to trade in the ol' Yamaha and besides there was always another household expense or a gun to buy. One fellow talked of how he'd heard a fellow playing beautiful guitar music once but someone in the crowd pointed out that he was using a cheap Montgomery Wards guitar and the crowd dispersed. He was making the point that the fellow's good guitar playing didn't make up for the fact that he was using an inexpensive instrument. I replied that I had an expensive accordion but crowds dispersed when I started to play it.
I generally don't admit to it but I do play the accordion. I have four of the things around the house. I hate playing for others though and attempt to avoid it at all costs. I play really well when I practice regularly and several years ago I won a contest put on by the Fort Worth chapter of the Texas Accordion Association. Came in first out of 30 participants. Won a $50 gift certificate to the German restaurant that was sponsoring the event. Leave it to my wife to take me down a notch by pointing out that I was at least 20 years younger than the other contestants. Used the gift certificate to take my parents out to eat in payment for all those accordion lessons they paid for so long ago.
Sheet music, correctly transcribed for accordion is very hard to find and I'm always on the lookout for any. I can easily make do with sheet music transcribed for the piano but the "real" thing is nice to find. Once I found a batch of proper accordion sheet music in an advertisement from a place in Houston. I perused the list and ordered a number of song titles. Soon it arrived in the mail and I was pleased to have the new songs to learn.
Not long after the sheet music's arrival I planned a few days afield in pursuit of deer and duck at our old family place at Lake Leon. While gathering up the decoys, guns, and gear, I thoughtfully included an accordion and some of the sheet music, figuring on giving the household a break from the squawking instrument. What better place to run through the difficult portions of the music than at our lake cabin, miles away from anyone else?
I can't now recall whether I pursued ducks or deer that morning but after the hunt I unsheathed a recently acquired 1903 Springfield. This was a real oldie with a low 5-digit serial number and a barrel date of 5-05. Some informal shooting told me that it was still an accurate rifle though the rifling was very worn. I'd had my doubts about it but was grateful it was still capable of useable accuracy. After the good performance of the '03 and a fine steak dinner cooked over a mesquite and oak fire I broke out the accordion for some afternoon entertainment. I warmed up by playing some rags and polkas then shuffled through the stack of new sheet music for some interesting titles to play. The interior of the cabin was a little dark for reading the notes. This was along about the time I first began noticing that my eyes were a bit feeble for reading. I just scooted the chair up into the cabin door using another chair sitting in front of me on the porch for holding the sheet music. There now, the light was fine so I immersed myself in learning some new music.
I 'd been deeply engrossed in the music, not paying attention to the day. The occasional single duck winged it's way back to the lake after a day of feeding in nearby peanut fields, undisturbed by my 10 gauge which always stood outside the cabin door when I was on the place. I've occasionally taken ducks right out of the cabin yard with the 10 gauge or other shotgun while cooking lunch or plinking with a .22.
After squawking through the new pieces I ripped into "Waiting on the Robert. E. Lee" and was happily sawing away on the accordion when, much to my amazement, I looked out into the yard to see a flock of 15 turkeys standing stock still with their necks stretched upward and their heads craned in my direction. They weren't 20 yards from me! They seemed absolutely mesmerized by my award-winning performance. I only recall seeing hens and jakes but hey, turkey is turkey and they were in season in November in Texas. I stopped playing and froze momentarily. How to deal with this predicament? I was strapped to a 28 lb. accordion! My hunting rifle was zipped in its case. The shotgun was just out of reach on the outside wall on the porch. My S&W Model 10 was in its holster on a dinette table inside the cabin and the '03 was leaning against the wall. I'd purposefully left it charged with five rounds of handloaded FMG ammunition, just for general principles. I determined that my best bet was to go for the Springfield.
Steathily I backed into the cabin while keeping an eye on the turkeys which were beginning to look around disappointedly as if " oh, the concert is over"? I was hoping that they couldn't really discern my movements in the dark recesses of the cabin. I would just take the shot from inside the cabin. Pressing the bellows shut I snapped the fastener that keeps them closed with my right hand while gathering up the '03 Springfield with my left hand. My attempt to shoulder the rifle and aim it left the butt on the keyboard of the accordion and I didn't think the keyboard would stand up to the recoil of a .30-06. Nothing would do but for me to get out of the accordion so that a shot could be taken. I was chuckling to myself that it would be some stunt to shoot a turkey that I'd called in such a fashion. Alas, it was not to be as by the time I set down the accordion and picked up the rifle again I caught a last glimpse of the turkeys as they silently, like stately ghosts, glided into the thick mesquite and buffalo grass. There was to be no roast wild turkey for Thanksgiving at my house.