Dreaming of a duck limit I woke up in just enough time to realize that I was only dreaming, and it was time to catch the ducks before they started to take flight on the river. My lab Katie was sprawled out on the end of the bed glaring up at me. I started the coffee pot and I could smell the sense of being at home. As a little girl that is how I always knew it was almost time to wake up because my Dad (George Gross) would start the coffee going. It wasn’t about an alarm clock but about the smell of the coffee brewing. I would stretch and get my eyes all wiped up so I could see and walk into the kitchen. My Dad would be drinking his 1st cup of coffee watching the weather channel. He would tell me if the ducks were going to be flying high or staying cover, if it was going to rain or be windy. My Brother (Chris Gross) would then get up and at this point our black lab would be all tails wagging knowing we were about to hit the lake for some quackers. Growing up in Louisiana it was never a rush in the morning. My Dad always had to finish at least 1 full pot of coffee, leaving my Mom (Jody Gross) just a cup. She would then wake up right before we were leaving and tell us, “Bring back some ducks so I can make yall brown gravy, and I will have breakfast when yall get back.” I could already feel my mouth watering knowing we were going to have some good ole’ bacon sandwiches on Evangeline made bread! So Yummy! So even now being a grown up and having a family of my own those same memories come to mind every time a smell the coffee brewing, especially during duck season. It makes my heart smile really big and it also makes me miss my home of Louisiana. Like they always say, Home is where your Heart is! By this point I am dressed in long johns, dogs fed, TJ has coffee poured, and we are ready to get to quaking. With us living on the river we have the advantage of just hiking a few 100 yards and we are duck ready. Most mornings are cold, very cold, in the low teens and sometimes below 0ºF. As we walked to our blinds the only warmth that I feel is the steam off my breath. TJ sets up ensuring that the ice shelves are safe and then Katie and I crawl into our little honey whole. No decs, just the natural flow of the river which makes hunting tuff but it is worth every shot. TJ watches down river and I watch upriver waiting on some quack action. A couple of mallard drakes and a few hens come our way and we shoot for height. Katie hits the water swimming after a cripple that crossed the river. Katie is sliding along an ice shelf watching the duck under the ice swim back and forth, and Katie is running back and forth like a silly prank that you would play. I am worried that she might fall through because I worry too much. I am trying to call her off, “Katie, HEAR, HEAR, HEAR!” Katie is more than just a hunting dog she is our family pet. Katie gives the duck one last look and comes back across river. The river is flowing at such a fast pace that I trot down river a ways and keep up with her so she won’t try to swim up river towards me. She comes out the water, tail wagging and kind of mad that I called her off, but for me I know she is back in safe waters. We start walking back to our spot and 2 ducks fly over us, boom, boom TJ shoots knocking down a mallard hen! Katie hits the river and to her success brings us back some dinner. All I can think is, “Umm just a few more and we will have enough for a pot roast!” Back in the blind we wait. It is cold! Katie is shaking, her body is iced over and I pat her to keep her blood circulating, and then here they come, Greenheads! TJ and I shoot to another great success. Katie comes back with our birds, tail wagging! At this point we are all cold, my belly is growling and it is time to call it a day for a bit and eat us some yummy ole breakfast. Breakfasts in our Cajun house usually consists of crawfish omelette’s, pan fried pork chops w/hashbrowns, yummy ole sweet pancakes, and always your choice of eggs. It just depends on what me, the cook feels like fixing. As TJ calls it the short order chef, but as I call it, get your tail feather out there and clean those ducks, so I can get them in a pot, as always smiling big! This is usually how our duck hunts begin and end. But the greatest moments are making the memories.