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I never thought the day would come when a boat (not made from a refrigerator box) would be parked in my backyard.
Don’t worry; it’s not mine; I don’t have any use for a fishing boat.
I’ve always been a creek-bank fisherman.
I don’t swim and certainly don’t walk on water.
When I just about drowned at the old Lancaster Pool on Gay Street many years ago, that cured any fascination I had with water.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been in my share of boats since that day, fishing with the likes of the late Ned Plyler and Tootsie Parker and my schoolmate Bobby Parker. We frequented the Parker Pond off Springdale Road, mostly for frog gigging.
Years later, I rode the ferry from Camp Stoneman down to the troop ship in the harbor of San Francisco. Trust me, that troop ship provided me with enough sea-faring adventures to do me forever. Bless Pete, I even volunteered for a ship voyage so I could leave Vietnam three weeks sooner.
Regardless of what size a boat was, my fear of deep water never left me when I stepped aboard.
It brought every motion picture I had ever seen about ships and roaring oceans to mind. Thoughts of waves sweeping me over the railing into the sea made me insecure and nervous.
Given that, I’ve always stayed away from boats and deep water unless it was absolutely necessary.
Well sir, a few weeks ago, my grandson backed this powered fishing boat onto my backyard patio.
What a sight. I have to admit it looks pretty good as far as boats go.
My grandson has traveled Lake Murray, Santee-Cooper, Wateree and the Catawba in this contraption.
You know I wonder if he really is one-quarter Evans.
He has no fear and he’s sorta become the daredevil of the family. What’s more amazing is he navigates all those places in the dark of the morning until the dark of evening.
Why he has even waxed his pickup so it will shine as he travels to various boat landings.
Naturally, this boat thing is just the crack under the door.
Now – almost every day – the mail carrier brings us catalogs of bigger, faster boats.
To me, it’s depressing. It seems as if the sheer joy of just trying to catch supper with a worm on a hook you just spit on for good luck is out of style.
These days, the pickup has to be customized and the boat and trailer the latest available.
Why, there are even battery-powered fishing rods that glow in the dark. I can catch just as many fish (maybe more) with a simple bamboo cane pole.
You know, maybe I’m a touch jealous of my grandson’s youth, love of boating and lack of water fear.
He and his friends enjoy boat fishing even if they don’t bring home an ice chest of fresh fish to the dinner table.
That’s why they call it fishing, not catching.
So, my hat is off to all of you boat fishermen with fancy rigs who travel up and down Charlotte Road.
But I gotta ask one thing: Are you fellas really backing those gleaming, fiberglass-hulled metal-flake-finished boats into muddy rivers to catch a string full of keepers?
Could it be you’re like the so-called golfers whose game consists of puttering (not putting) around the 19th hole for fellowship and tales of glory?
If that’s the case, check the tackle box for your razor.
It ain’t in your suitcase.