“ALL I HAVE To Do Is Dream,” The Everly Brothers taught me that way back in 1960. It is a lesson I learned all those years ago and it has come in very handy in recent weeks.

Last weekend, my wife and I had to cancel a trip to Green Bay to visit an old college friend and take in “Menoma-Mia” at the Meyer Theater. The show is a comedy takeoff on “Mama Mia,” in which a girl is going to be married, but doesn’t know which of three men is her father: a yooper, a Friendly Illinois Buddy or a Canadian.

I also can’t go to Illinois or Tennessee to hunt turkeys with good friends, a Milwaukee Brewers game or any other such stuff, but I can still dream and I do.

Next week, I have a tag for Wisconsin’s second turkey season of the year and so far in my dreams I have yet to meet a gobbler which didn’t come racing in to my decoys after hearing my first yelps, clucks and cackles of opening morning. Nor have I so far missed a single shot at said trophy gobbler after first watching him strut, gobble and attack the “jake” decoy attempting to usurp his breeding rights.

Turkeys aren’t the only thing I’m dreaming of each and every night as I try to fall asleep from another exhausting day of self-isolation. Before we know it, the snow will be gone, April will merge into May and fishing season will open.

Each night as I begin to slide off into the contented sleep of an old outdoorsman, visions of brook trout, vivid in gleaming colors of red, blue, orange and green fill my head. I see myself camping in my beloved Brule River-Barnes-Delta-Drummond stomping grounds and I see myself on a long walk to spring ponds I have almost always had to myself any time I’ve fished them.

I see trout rising, hear ruffed grouse drumming from the brush thicket behind me, watch mallards, drakes in their brilliant mating plumage silently gliding across the water of the pond, and feel the soft kiss of a light breeze and warm sun on my back.

I hear the whish of my line as it curls out into the pond, feel the sharp slap of a native brook trout grab the hook and shiver with the excitement of being in such a wonderful place having such a great experience with only God as my witness.

I hear the gurgling of the mighty Bois Brule River as it swirls around my wader-clad legs and feel for good footing on a stream bed littered with stones, large rocks and sunken branches just waiting to take an inattentive angler for a very cold swim.

I see the giant spruce and lovely balsam that line the banks of the Namekagon River as I try to lure a few of its trout to my net and I wade the narrow, twisty section of the Marengo River over Mason way. I work the familiar waters of the White River, the main stream and its west branch, grateful that there are such places for a trout fishermen to be.

To top it off, I even breathe deeply of the wonderful aromas of breakfast bacon and eggs wafting from the kitchen of the Delta Diner, admittedly a monstrosity of a tourist attraction ever since it was featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” years ago, but still with the great food and service it featured when I first visited there long before it became famous.

I dream of all those things and even though all but next week’s turkey season will remain but a dream for a while, I fall asleep content with the visions that fill my head.

My night dreams do not stop with things I hope and know in my heart regardless of what comes next, I will do in the coming weeks. I dream also of the coming summer when bluegills, perch, northern pike and maybe a walleye or two will find its way into a frying pan above a campfire where I’ll be watching loons drift across the water and might hear coyotes yipping in pursuit of a rabbit somewhere back in the woods.

I’ll dream of summer afternoons spent throwing a duck-shaped retrieving dummy, sometimes wrapped with real duck wings saved from my North Dakota hunt last fall, for a yellow lab who will severely test the resiliency of my arm long before he even begins to tire.

Better yet, I will dream of the time in October, the first week of that month to be exact, when I will be happily ensconced in the little slice of heaven that I call duck camp in the prairie country of North Dakota.

I’ve started the wheels turning in recent weeks and I’m still not sure if it will come together, but I’m really hoping and dreaming that this year North Dakota duck camp will include Uncle Hank, his three sons, grandsons and great-grandsons, my son and maybe my brother who has missed being there for several years. It may not happen, depending on schedules, but I still can and do dream about it.

Soon, as winter truly ebbs away and hopefully this bad time is swept away behind us, these dreams, all of them, will come true. 

In the meantime, to stay happy, all I have to do is dream.