Sending Belated Regrets to the Royal Newlyweds

Dear Kate and Wills:

First of all, my sincere apology for not getting back with you guys sooner. The postman, not realizing that I am a man of superior breeding, impeccable education and sterling intellect (with more than a few drops of royal blood of my own), apparently thought your wedding invite was junk mail from the Franklin Mint. I only received it yesterday, and that’s just because Irma, the lady who works behind the counter on Saturdays when she’s not havin’ one of her early-morning “migraines,” saw the Royal Seal and recognized the genuine British postage stamps.
She kept the stamps for her collection. I don’t mind, though, seeing as how she is an avid philanderer with a huge album of postage stamps that she has philandered over the years.
Anyhow, by the time she got it to me I already had the calendar blocked in for a four-day trip to Lake Livingston. I’m sure you understand. I could not, in good conscience, turn down some of the best yellow cat fishing of the year. As is customary with select locals like me who are burdened with the obligations of high society, royalty and the like, I had no option other than to accept an invite from my esteemed associate Bubba, Baron of Penwaugh Slough.
I’m real sorry if this left you two holding the tab for an extra plate. I know what it’s like when a young couple gets hitched and money is super-tight. I’ll make it up to you; I promise.
Baron Bubba, by the way, is extending a special invite to the two of you to join us this summer when the white bass start schooling. The official invite will come to you on one of the Baron’s new postcards, depicting the newest of the elite fleet of mobile homes that the Baron has purchased in order to upgrade the Penwaugh Slough estate. He also recently acquired a brand-new pontoon boat, a princely 24-footer that will allow the two of you to dunk minnows for crappie in grand fashion. (It makes a great platform for midnight skinny dippin’, too, so long as you stay out of the slough. The ‘gators won’t bother you, but there’s way too many snakes in there for me to go dangling my jewels in the water after dark.)
Sadly, I must remind you that despite the fact that we really enjoyed it last go-round, “noodling” for catfish is one of the few things that is still illegal here in East Texas. You can only legally noodle for whiskerfish in Oklahoma, a state that hardly merits the visitation of a couple of your stature. Please forgive me for even mentioning it.
But worry not, my dear Wills. We shall catch plenty of flatheads on hook-and-line, in true gentleman’s fashion, with a combination of limblines, trotlines and jug lines.
If you two could bring a few dozen of those gold Aberdeen crappie hooks like the ones you had last time, that’d be awesome. I’ve tried, but all you can get around here is the gold-plated variety.
Come to think of it, if you’ve got a some of those one-ounce gold slab spoons you mentioned, bring those, too. Nothing on the market beats the fish-attracting flash of 12-carat gold. Truth be known, the 3-ounce gold slabs are far better for big fish.
I’ll swap you out some of my hand-tied bluegill flies for a batch of those 3-ouncers. And I don’t make that kind of a deal with just anybody. Folks around here have been known to trade an entire case of Old Milwaukee for just one of those babies.
Bubba and I were looking through some of the most recent gossip rags last night, and couldn’t help but notice the 28-gauge side-by-sides the two of you were carrying while pheasant hunting last fall. Those are some darned pretty shotguns. But I have to tell it like it is: They’re gonna be way too light for spring turkey.
Baron Bubba is having a pair of customized synthetic-camo-stocked Mossberg 10-gauge pumps fitted for you two, just in case you make it down here while the gobblers are still strutting. Put a laser sight on those cannons and screw in a turkey choke and you’ll be taking the heads clean off of big Toms better’n 50 yards away.
All the same, I think you’d be wise to have the royal entourage pack those 28-gauge double-barrels for you, just to be on the safe side. A $35,000 hand-engraved Perazzi side-by-side makes a damn fine scattergun for squirrels. Remember, the East Texas squirrel season runs through May, and right now the cat squirrels are thicker than the Queen’s ankles.
Speakin’ of Liz, tell her howdy for us. I’ll never forget how that woman could track hogs when she was still a spry young scamp in her early 60s. Stickin’ her nose in the air all the time like she does, that gal can sniff out a boar like a blueblood bloodhound. Real handy with a .30-.30, too. That’s one woman that you wouldn’t want to have mad at you, Wills and Kate, but I reckon the two of you are already more than aware of that fact.
Baron Bubba’s wife, Lady Bertha Hickner, daughter of Ernest, Vicar of Vidor, has set aside a special cabin for you two if you prefer non-wheeled accommodations. Around here, if it ain’t got an axle, we can’t sleep in it. But we aren’t the future king and queen of England, so we get it if you prefer something a bit more stationary.
This cabin is the nuts, guys. It has an air-conditioner, screens on the windows, a color TV complete with remote control and a toilet that doesn’t make noise all night long. I’m talking everything. And you guys are gonna love the fish-cleaning table. It’s only 50 feet from the back door, and Kate can drag a water hose back there and have those whiskerfish skinned and on their way to a skillet in a New York flash.
I hesitate to ask this for reasons of breaking protocol, but I cannot resist. If you can’t give me the recipe, will you at least bring a few jars of Prince Charles’ Royal Cheesebait? Camilla was furious with me for asking last time, and hasn’t spoken to me since. But hey; a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and I bet she doesn’t even remember that wet coon dog climbin’ into her bed.
You can’t blame the dog, you guys. That couch fold-out was ol’ Duke’s favorite sleepin’ spot, and he wasn’t used to the idea of someone else getting’ in it. Duke is real sorry he acted poorly, though, and he promises not to jump up on Kate and mess up her fancy fishin’ dress with muddy paw prints when she visits. (But he can’t help the slobberin’, guys … like I said, he’s a dog.)
Especially for your squirrel hunt, I’ve commissioned a leading American designer, Wrangler of North Carolina, to make you two a tailored matching set of outfits in the Royal Realtree Advantage pattern. When y’all get all snuggled up and hunkered down against a big ol’ oak tree way back in the riverbottom those cat squirrels will have an easier time seeing the fleas hopping around on Traveler’s tail than they will spotting you. Once Kate gets ‘em skinned and dressed out, we’ll get Lady Bertha to fire up her big black stewpot and make some of that squirrel stew that you guys raved about so much last time. We’ll even make a big ‘ol doggie bag for the queen.
I don’t know if you’ll have time, being newlyweds and all, and being on a limited budget, but if you can spend a few extra days, Sir Melvin, Marquis of McFaddin Beach, says you two can use his RV and do a little surf fishing if you like. With the right wind y’all can be casting plugs in the first gut at daybreak and whacking trout fillets before breakfast. The skeeters can be a little rough before the sun gets up, but Sir Melvin has you covered on the insect repellent.
Bring the royal waders. A good pair of royal stingray leggings is probably a good idea, too, and a couple’a bottles of royal sunscreen. A royal whiskbroom for sweepin’ the sand outa’ the tent is real important, too. And a small shovel and some royal toilet paper … you definitely don’t wanna’ forget that.
Two nights campin’ on the beach, rollin’ around in the sand and relaxin’ and makin’ whoopee in a nice, big tent should have y’all ready for a triumphant return to England. I know you guys hate all that bowin’ and circumstantial pompenstance, but at least you’ll be chilled out and ready to handle the pomparrotzy.
Again, I’m real sorry about missin’ the wedding and all. But aside from the fact that I couldn’t let such good catfish action go by unanswered, I seriously suspect the palace guards would have pitched a fit about me trying to bring Duke into Westminster Abbey.
That dog goes where I go, whether it’s to the Biggie Mart in Scroggins or some high-falutin’ nuptial affair in Paris, Vienna, Moravia or some other far-flung town in Texas. A dog is truly a man’s best friend.
You remember that, Wills. Kate’s a fine-looking little filly, and a damn good catfish-skinner to boot. And I ain’t never seen a girl handle a trotline the way she does. Just mention “yellow cats” and those movie star eyes of hers light up like a pair of Coleman lanterns on a Trinity River sandbar at midnight.
This ain’t nothin’ personal, Katie, so I hope you won’t take it that way. But Will, man to man, you need to know that the days are gonna come … and you have to trust me on this one … when your bride is gonna be in a mood that’ll freeze the palace moat. When that day comes, and you and your she aren’t seeing eye-to-eye, you’re going to be mighty happy to have a coon dog by your side (or at least a Labrador, seein’ as how they don’t smell too hound-dog-like, unless they’re wet).
You’ll scratch her behind the ears, rub her tummy and pat her head, and pretty soon she’ll settle down and lay down right beside you, right then and there. Then sure as shootin’, that dog’ll do the same. He’ll come over, too, and you can scratch his ears and pat his head, and rub his tummy and before you know it the three of you will be all happy-like, talkin’ about runnin’ trotlines, huntin’ hogs with a good pack of dogs, shootin’ coots and catching a mess of grinnel for some of that prime Louisiana caviar.
Kate and Wills, you two know that you’re welcome down here any day, any week, any month … well, exceptin’ the first two weeks of deer season, but that kinda’ goes without sayin’.
“Til then, keep your line wet and your powder dry.

Most respectfully yours, your humble servant …

Lord Larry Bozka, Esquire



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