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The best of Wiltz: Nightmare on Erika Street

Editor's note: This column first appeared in the Yankton Press & Dakotan on Nov. 28, 1987. It was rerun in the P&D as "The Best of Wiltz" on February 1, 1992.

Editor's note: This column first appeared in the Yankton Press & Dakotan on Nov. 28, 1987. It was rerun in the P&D as "The Best of Wiltz" on February 1, 1992.

I had this dream the other night that left me terror stricken until I woke up and found Betsy beside

me. Often something happens during the day that inspires me to dream at night. This was no

exception. I had spent the afternoon with a computer salesman. Although I realize that these hi-tech devices are here to stay, I'm still reluctant to turn my record keeping over to one of these things as I find them intimidating. The sales rep went on to tell me about computerized matchmaking services that pair couples with a perfect mate. I had a perfect mate, and I didn't need a computer to find her.

The opening scene of my dream found me coloring in the squares on a computer questionnaire. The questions seemed endless. How tall? What race? What religion? How should she be built? How inhibited? The final question asked if I wanted her to be as enthusiastic about hunting and fishing as I was. I answered "Yes" without hesitation. My new partner was going to be totally awesome!

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Erika walked into my life just as I was leaving for work the next morning. This 6-foot-2 woman with blonde hair and blue eyes was built like a burlap bag full of bobcats. As I climbed into the car, she said that she probably wouldn't be home when I got home because she was going shopping.

When I got home that night, I found a new Ruger Model 77 rifle in .300 Winchester caliber on the kitchen table. She had made this $300 purchase without consulting me. To make matters worse, the pickup and the boat were gone. Apparently she had gone fishing, and wouldn't be home for supper.

I fell asleep at midnight while waiting for her. When I awoke in the morning, I could smell fish! She

had filleted walleyes in the kitchen sink without cleaning up! I was slowly getting ticked. Now she was sleeping so soundly I couldn't wake her. Small wonder when one is out fishing until 2:00 a.m.

When I got home that next day, supper wasn't ready. In fact, she wasn't even home. Brown and my favorite shotgun were gone. She had apparently gone pheasant hunting. When she did get home, she asked me to clean the pheasants. She also mentioned that I shouldn't wait up for her as she was showing some hunting slides to the Tyndall Rotary Club. It was beginning to occur to me that being married to the perfect woman wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

At least the weekend was coming. We had both drawn coveted deer licenses for Custer State Park, and we would be camping and hunting together. She, of course, would use the new .300 magnum rifle while I toted the scopeless .30-30 Marlin. We pulled the camper into the Blue Bell campground around 2:00 a.m. and were in bed by 2:30. When I snuggled up to her, she told me to go to sleep as we would be getting up at 5:00 a.m. Of course she was right. You bet.

As my luck would have it, Erika had thoroughly studied a map of the park. She said that the French Creek area probably held the biggest bucks as it was practically inaccessible. She also said that she didn't want to hunt with me as I was too big and any deer could spot me. Again she was right although I was beginning to get a wee bit irked with her logic.

Before we parted, I told her again and again, "Erika, don't shoot a buck in the bottom of that canyon. We'll never get him out."

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At 8:03 a.m., I heard the roar of the .300 magnum. From the top of the wall, I could see Erika a

quarter mile east of me waving at me from the bottom. The wall was treacherous, but I would have to find a way down to her. When I reached her around 10:00 a.m., I found that she had bagged a magnificent six-point whitetail buck that would easily dress at 200 pounds. After I gutted the thing out, I asked her how "we" were going to get the buck out of there. She said that she would carry the trophy head out if I packed the meat. What a girl.

After caping out the head (of course it had to go on the wall), I skinned and quartered the deer for

the agonizing trek out. At 2:00 p.m. we arrived at the pickup with the first load. There would be two more trips. Erika went to town. By 7:00 p.m. I had the hind quarters out. Erika mentioned the great T-bone she had for supper. She also had a Dr. Pepper and a Snickers bar waiting for me when I finished that second haul. How thoughtful she was.

It was 1:00 a.m. when we returned with the third and final load. Erika had held the flashlight. What

a girl. The nails on the ends of my big toes had turned blue. My left arm was probably cut deep enough to require stitches, and both legs tightened with seemingly unbearable cramps. In an effort to regain strength, not to mention soothing my legs, I stretched out on the cool grass. Now my uninhibited blonde cuddled up to me. One hand massaged my neck as the other unbuttoned my shirt.

I was screaming madly when Betsy awakened me. The Ghost of Hunting Past had done a number on me. Sweat poured down my face as I made wild promises. No more new guns without asking. No more suppers alone while I fished. No more cleaning fish in the kitchen. No more eye-balling other women. I was born again!

Hopefully you tolerated my last three "vacation" columns. Next week I'll tell you all about our British Columbia hunt.

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