This is a time of mourning, never mind the doves or for that matter the pheasants and quail many of you will be pursuing first thing Saturday morning.

This year, it's all about me. About how unfortunate the situation is, how forlorn I am and will continue to be.

At least for the next week or two.

You see, I've been working here at the HDN for more years than I care (or perhaps am able) to count. Let's just say that we don't have to count in dog-years to make it sound like a lot.

And in each of those years, I've had a long-lasting tradition of taking two weeks of vacation in November, starting, of course, with the second weekend of the month.

Never mind that Mike Hayden, then secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks -- don't mention the tourism -- tried to throw a wrench in my smooth operating tradition when he changed the pheasant season to the first weekend in November.

He soon learned the error of his ways, and the agency quickly decided it was time to revert to its old ways.

There are, after all, some things that simply can't be messed with.

Ask almost any seasoned pheasant hunter and they will simply say it has to be the second weekend in November.

Not to mention it made me sit idly by and watch as others took time off and went hunting, even as I had to toil that whole first week of pheasant season.

I was filled with grief, as I worked my fingers to the bone.

So why am I bringing this all up now?

It's simple, actually, but quite devastating.

You see, this year, I'm simply going to have to work the first week of pheasant season, and I should, perhaps, work the second week as well.

I know, shocking.

I'm not sure how I'll survive, working the full, entire first week of pheasant season.

I suspect I'll be flinching at odd times throughout the day, tripping on imaginary underbrush and involuntarily raising up for a reflexive shot at a rooster that simply doesn't exist here in the office.

There's no doubt in my mind that in the fog of the morning (the fog of waking up, of course), I'll simply reach for my field bib overalls and slip them on over my camo Under Armor.

Of course, I'll slip on my Gore-Tex, 1,000 denier camo boots as well.

It is, after all, standard apparel for the first week of the season.

And then, unfortunately, I'll soon (after a couple pots of coffee) realize the error of my ways, and be forced to don something a bit more casual. You know the type, button-down collar shirts and a nice pair of jeans, and boots that don't have blood and feathers on them.

More than likely, during the first few days of the week -- let's say the first five, of course -- I'll break down and cry each morning, perhaps even at various times throughout the day.

Pay me no heed, even though my life as I once knew it, is now over.

This tradition is as American as apple pie, mothers and trucks -- with gun racks in the back window of course.

I will suffer, but endeavor to persevere, even though it will be a struggle.

There is, however, one saving grace to all of this misery.

I do have a pair of pants with pheasants embroidered on them.

Perhaps it's high time to bring them out of the closet. Let's hope no one notices I wear them every day.

After all, a person has to cope somehow.

That just might get me in the mood for the Christmas season, and the bright red pair of corduroy pants that I own. The ones hanging next to my pheasant pants.