Danger Camoflauge area

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 9, 2002

Sam Venable is a regular columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel. He's about my age and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee journalism school. He's stayed around East Tennessee pretty much all his life and has been an employee of the newspaper since the early 70's.

Sam is a member of the good ol' boy brigade. His quick wit and dry humor put him in demand on the local speaking circuit. This last week Sam wrote a column that brought back to me many memories of Greenville.

The column was about a good friend of Sam's who has become a devotee of pantyhose. Now this man doesn't wear them all the time, but during turkey hunting season, he won't be caught in the woods or fields without them. And turkey season is less than a month away in Tennessee.

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It seems that pantyhose are a wonderful deterrent to seed ticks, which are, according to Sam, "the baby version of dog ticks. They are about the size of a pepper speck. They have teeth like a chainsaware the meanest cooties in Mother Nature's ark of loathsome pests. They make chiggers feel like a mild case of heat rash." So anytime Sam's friend is hunting, he's traipsing around in pantyhose.

But this season should be better than those in the past, thanks to an Ohio-based company called G. Lieberman & Sons. They manufacture Comfilon panty hose for men. These hose have larger waists, a little more storage room and yes, a fly.

This information immediately put me in mind of the Joe Namath ad 20 or so years ago for Mantyhose. Both the nylons and the model caused quite a stir then. There was just something about a quarterback reclined so as to show the hose to best advantage that sent ripples of excitement out to fans of the sport and the sportster. But apparently the hose were a product with a future. I don't think Mantyhose were designed for tick protection. I think perhaps they were more geared to the crowd who enjoyed the feel of nylon against the skin.

But what, might ask you, does any of this have to do with Greenville/Butler County? Well, I have never been to any other place that was so completely enthralled with hunting season, be it turkey or deer. When deer season approaches, all the "off season" clothing is put aside. It will not be revisited until springtime when turkey season ends. And even then, remnants of it may at any time be seen is a passing bass boat.

There's a good chance that a man may not appear in public, other than on Sunday morning, in anything except regulation camouflage gear for months at a time. Hats, coats, shirts, pants and even undershorts are up to code. The camouflage clad men (and women, too) milling around the courthouse square look like they were spit out of the chute of a log chipper or leaf mulcher. I don't know if they fool the wildlife in these get-ups, but they sure fool me. They are easy to spot. They stick out pretty well as a group, but they all look the same. Heaven help the spouse who is trying to keep a sharp eye on his or her mate. Camouflage is great for warfare, for fishing, for hunting and most likely for hunting of the "dear." I'm sure it's easy for the "mulch" wearers to get lost in a crowd of his fellows. All that brown, khaki, tan, etc. bunched together on a corner looks like the city brush truck is running behind schedule.

I had a friend in Greenville who got married about three years ago. She was what I call a "stand up" kind of person. She, as the psycho-babble says, owned her actions. She lived by her rules, cared very little what anyone thought, and she never apologized for her lifestyle. But when she made a commitment, she meant it. I asked her shortly after she was married how she liked married life. She replied that she was really happy and content but she "sure would miss camouflage season." For those of you who don't understand that, I'll only say that there is a certain something in the air as the influx of hunters begins each fall.

The social scene for women who like the hunt or the hunters is certainly on the upswing. To those of you who do understand, I only say enjoy, but do be cautious. You don't want your whole stash of L'eggs to go missing in some hunter's leafy looking pocket while you're frying eggs and bacon after a long night of discussing yesterday's hunt.

The next time you see someone decked out in camouflage, will you wonder if they're wearing tick protection? If you decide they look like the pantyhose type, won't you be a little curious about what shade they chosetaupe, beige, off black? Or will you wonder if Comfilon has gone the full distance and come out with camouflage pantyhose?

I know I sure will.