Notice here the
words that rouse the C.F. to near-frenzy: "tailoring," "leather
buckle" and the British touch of "fibre" is a dead giveaway to snob
appeal. Of course it's not "fiber." God Save the Queen.
The photo in the
Bauer catalog presents three people, two women and a man, standing by a boulder
on a riverbank. O.K., a little sexual overtone, tasteful and not in the C.F.'s
way at all. They appear in three different colors of coats and matching pants.
The C.F., depending on his mood, may find this shocking, having been taught
that you never wear a bush jacket with matching pants unless you expect to play
the heavy in a film about colonial oppression. Further, he knows that you never
have a bush jacket in any color except tan. But times are changing. The old
ways are smeared with new adventure.
feature of the Bauer's catalog is small, inset black-and-white photos of
details: the bi-swing gusseted back, bellows pockets. The C.F. perks up. New.
Advancement. Detail. Words dear to his heart. The better mousetrap—with
impressive presentation of the bush jacket is Norm Thompson's:
You'll feel a bit
more dashing...a little more adventurous the moment you put on the Norm
Thompson Shikari Jacket.... We introduced the Shikari nine years ago, and we've
been improving it ever since—updating the style, adding a new fabric, making
the cut even more generous and comfortable.... The look of adventure—the
feeling of comfort.... You can order your Shikari Jacket in our exclusive
Prairie Cloth...five roomy bellows pockets. Two whoppers, 8" square....
The C.F. is in
the DT's. He is nearly fainting to plunge his sweaty palms into those
In the field of
equipment there is one catalog that stands by itself; so distinctive that it is
a special reserve of the C.F., his pure, uncut fix: Herter's. The company lists
itself as provider of the following items: fishing tackle, gem star sapphires,
archery equipment, couturier silks and other fabrics, snowmobiles, ammunition
primers, hunting decoys, Sheffield steel fish hooks, Fiberglas boats, custom
gunstocks, binoculars and telescope sights, clay targets, shotgun shells,
center and rimfire ammunition, survival and camping equipment, game calls,
trail motorcycles, sonar equipment and electronic dog trainers.
catalog was one of the models for the first
Whole Earth Catalog
, which reached
its present fame by telling C.F.s where to get surgical tools for home use and
how to wire their own computers. Most C.F.s, by the way, are not impressed with
Whole Earth Catalog
because it is too widely distributed. Too well known.
As one veteran puts it, "Now everyone will have one of those damn domes in
does have all the things listed, and more. Each item in the catalog is prefaced
by the word "Herter's," lest you forget. The C.F. has conniptions just
reading the titles: HERTER'S HAND CARVED SOLID WALNUT, METAL AND LEATHER
FIREPLACE BELLOWS or HERTER'S FLEXIBLE FULL BODIED SQUIRREL FORMS. And what
self-respecting C.F. would want to bed down beneath anything other than
HERTER'S AUTHENTIC OFFICIAL GUIDE ASSOCIATION ALL WOOL FRENCH CANADIAN TYPE
POINT BLANKET? That may be the world's longest catalog title and, by that fact,
worthy of the C.F.'s stock of merchandise.
Sighing, the C.F.
clutches his catalogs and, if he happens to be a fisherman, dreams lovingly of
the Perfect Fishing Cabin, completely outfitted with catalog purchases. The
prefab logs smell ever so slightly of creosote. It is evening. June bugs whap
at the screen, and the C.F. sits with a rye and ginger on the huge, screened
sleeping porch. An ancient mallard decoy with a brass rod in its back supports
a bulb and lampshade with leaping Rainbows splashing in hand-painted frenzy
forever on the parchment. The glass tumbler sweats, its carefully worked Royal
Coachman dry-fly insignia blurring slightly. The C.F. rises to get more ice
from the Fiberglas bucket on whose lid grizzlies and partridge seem to be in
constant danger of collision,. The furniture is Early Hired Man—clawed maple,
pegged ominously at the joints, but the expensive fabric upholstery depicts
scenes of fox hunts and stag chases. The C.F. sips, thinks "this is all
mine," and looks benevolently at the mandatory three honkers carved from
walnut, over the mantel flying on brass wings from left to right, just like on
The American Sportsman.