You can click the link above to hear the first RSO podcast, The Ride, in which I read one of the first articles I sold as a young freelancer. It appeared in the Waterfowl issue of Gray’s Sporting Journal, Fall 1976. It put me, as you might imagine, on cloud nine for several weeks.
As I describe in my intro, this sale was for $500, a substantial sum for anyone in 1976, let alone a 20-something nobody from Podunk, South Dakota who was then roofing barns and churches for $5 an hour. By buying and publishing this story, Gray’s gave me confidence to get off the roof and spend more time behind the typewriter. Thanks Gray’s!
After taping this podcast and thinking more about this whole process I now remember that it was opening day of the pheasant season, not duck season. The old man I saw standing on the street curb near the parade route with a cased shotgun and box of shells was undoubtedly picked up by his ride. The Ride was my fictional account of an alternative outcome.
Why did I make him a duck hunter rather than pheasant hunter? More romance and mystery in waterfowling. Birds magically appearing from a distant north land, fighting the same elements as the duck hunters who rise to meet them. Then there are the calls, the decoys, and the craftsmanship that goes into making them. Waterfowling is just a rich tapestry from which to draw inspiration.
(Don’t let the “singing” at the start scare you away. It’s just an advertisement. Both it and the painful ringing in your ears will dissipate quickly, though the memory may haunt you for days.)
I thank Kansan Dave Zumbaugh for discovering his old copy of Gray’s and sending it to me, giving me this touchstone to a time long, long ago in a land far, far away — but still close to my heart.
Ron Spomer Outdoors podcasts are available on most podcatchers including Apple’s Podcatcher, Spotify, and Anchor. We’ll be uploading one a week. Some will just be me reading old articles. Others will include asides and commentary about when, why, and how they came to be. And some will include my wife chiming in with her recollections and perceptions, before, during and after. As she never fails to remind me “I’ve heard them all before!” But that gives her a unique and sometimes humorous perspective.
We hope you can indulge a few listens. Let us know if we’re wasting our breath, if you’d like more or less commentary, and if you want more asides focused on the freelance writing aspects of this business. But now, just come along for The Ride.
Blogger, You Tuber, magazine writer, and freelance photographer Ron Spomer will be producing a new podcast each week. You’ve been warned.