"A Confusing Time Of Year"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, October 17, 2015

Are we locked into a state of total confusion? It’s officially fall, or is it? This year, it’s just confused.

The “very” early presidential race changes daily, and the media sources compound the issue. Every hour on most news channels you can hear a political discussion. One thing to be grateful for is the fact because there is so much free press, we are saved from the paid political ads. Hope that continues.

Our sports: Lions and Tigers are in disarray and surly confused. I think they lost the incentive to actually win. The Tigers are licking their wounds and hope for better days next season. The Lions are still showing up and we may yet get a few wins in. Needless to say, the Wings are right in the thick of it and never fail to come through with a good season.

The sport of fishing is affected this time of year. As the lake cools, fish move closer to shore and fishing off docks and riverbanks can be very good. I had a pleasant surprise when I witnessed a big catch of perch in coolers that were caught aboard a DNR boat. They were returning to a port in Au Gres and they said the fish were right off the river mouth in the black hole. I also saw catches in Standish and Lexington.

Maybe the perch will find Bird Creek, the Sebewaing and Pigeon rivers plus the Harbor Beach and Grindstone harbors. We can all agree, lake perch are the best eating fish in the lakes. Big problem with fishing them is finding emerald shiners, which are their favorite food.

And the weather — it really is confusing. Not that long ago, just a few weeks, we had 80 degrees every day and now we are told we will have the 20s overnight and maybe some snow. All while the flowers are still in bloom. The meteorologists like to tell us totally conflicting predictions: one will say look for clear, sunny skies. Flip the channel and we hear the opposite: cloudy and rain on the way. Weather forecast temperatures have been off as much as 20 degrees, up or down. When a forecast is wrong and you tune into the same station that delivered it the next day, the meteorologist comes on air with a big smile and never a comment saying: “By the way, did I ever get that last one wrong.”

I’m sorry, it’s just so amusing. I have heard forecasts that say: “We will have a possible drizzle.” What arrives is a major, tropical storm. Here is one, “It will be partly cloudy with a slight breeze.” What follows are winds up to 50 mph. Then there are the weather telecasts that advise of a chance of rain, but be sure to bring your umbrella and remember not to cross flooded roads.

Fall weather forecasting seems to be the most difficult, so I guess those folks with the long title for their profession try to cover all possibilities. Sure a tornado or other major storm could sneak up undetected (one did this past summer). But our weather reporters did not make any excuses, just told us no one told them about it.

As I see it, the way to know for sure it is fall (since the weatherman didn’t) is when we observe all the stores filling as many shelves as possible with Halloween candy. After all, there are only a little over two weeks to make our selections. Costumes, masks and makeup kits are also showing up. Kids will be left home for a couple weeks during shopping trips so they won’t bug Mom while she shops. Most moms are savvy enough to dodge the early begging about what will be the perfect costume. They will wait to see what the weather forecast is and make or buy ones that can accommodate heavy sweatshirts and pants and a possible raincoat.

The Halloween forecast is almost always a 50 percent chance of rain or sometimes snow. It never seems to faze the kids, rain, sleet and freezing weather is never a problem for them because it is absolutely their all-time favorite holiday. Don’t risk waiting too long to buy costumes, however, because soon they will be hidden behind all the Christmas decorations that appear the last week of October. I just heard a broadcast on TV announcing the big box stores are in a race to see who can get the Christmas shoppers in their store first.

I’ve also heard some younger kids have had trouble navigating the corn mazes and haunted houses. The youngsters really do enjoy them but it’s best to have their parents accompany them.

I know I’m ahead of time talking about Halloween but we all need to prepare. I’m ready to buy my candy. And, have you seen the stacks and stacks of it in the stores? Buying it early, saying they will run out, gives me an excuse to have all my favorites on hand for a longer period of time. After all, the holiday only comes once a year.

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