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Now let’s be honest. Age has its embarrassing moments.
Just the other day, I ran into a long-lost friend.
He walked up, shook my hand and said he was glad to see me. Shucks, we had not crossed paths since the 1950s.
We’re about the same age and I was sure glad to see him, though our chance encounter was somewhat embarrassing.
For the life of me, I couldn’t recall his name and I am so ashamed.
I started fishing around in my memory for it, but my brain cork wasn’t bobbing one bit.
I guess that’s to be expected when we hit a certain age. I just couldn’t face up to the fact that my mind was blank. I remembered him well, but Bless Pete, I didn’t know who he was.
Of course, this isn’t the first time a name has escaped me. When I usually suffer these brain freezes, the name will come back to me right out of the blue, so to speak.
You know, I’m not the Lone Ranger, though. Changes – called generation gaps by some – seem to affect more than just me.
I’m fortunate to remember bunches of other stuff, although I sometimes get sidetracked.
Let see... where was I? Oh yeah, fishing.
Spring is in the air. Bamboo canes have survived the cold winter and several look very good for some serious creek bank fishing.
My grandson tells me that I am too old fashioned when it comes to catching a stringerfull of keepers.
“Nobody fishes with cane poles and worms anymore,” he said.
Guess that means I’m a nobody in the fishing world.
Maybe he’s right, seeing how he has a couple of tackle boxes filled with all kinds, colors and shapes of plastic worms and the like.
I think he calls them lures. He has a dozen or more special rods constructed from state-of-the- art, space-age materials, along with various reels to use under certain conditions.
Seeing how his passion is participating in fishing tournaments with other folks of the same sort of persuasion and tackle, I reckon he’s the expert.
Still, I’m kinda puzzled at grown men who rise before dawn on cold mornings and head out to far- off fishing holes with a boat and motor that cost more than my last three cars combined.
I reckon it’s for the sport of it.
When they get there, they spend three days and 60 gallons of gas looking for the biggest old fish they can catch.
What I can’t figure out is why they toss all the skillet fillers back in the water for the next tournament.
Is it any wonder I’m confused? Where is the sport in that?
Fishing is getting popular once again.
As men age, they pack their golf clubs away in the corner of the garage and use golf carts for trips to the mail box.
With nothing better to do, they settle in for a return to the kind of fishing I know best, you know, with a cane pole and hominy can full of wigglers dug up from the garden.
The problem is finding a place to fish. A lot of stuff has changed. Yesterday’s deep creeks are now shallow or clogged with trash.
That includes the trusty old Catawba River, whose grassy banks were often filled with many folks, young and old, fishing for whatever was running or catchable.
A couple of months ago, state officials told us not to eat largemouth bass and catfish caught in certain areas of it.
Add mercury and chemical dangers, Charlotte raw sewage spills, dead critters and storm water runoff, upriver manufacturing plants to that.
Don’t you just wonder why we become so advanced in some areas and so sloppy with respect to the major source of our fishing and drinking water?
But that’s OK, farmers are coming to the rescue.
A lot of ’em have built dirt-banked ponds and stocked them with several species of fish.
That means these ponds are the best and safest locations to meet the urge to sit on a grassy bank, swat off gnats and teach those red earthworms how to backstroke, if we are willing to pay for those lessons.
After a few hours of fishing, we have amassed a fine string of fish to clean and fry in an iron skillet filled with a lump of lard.
In no time, they are golden brown and ready to eat with cold pork and beans, white loaf bread and a cold RC.
I guess that in a small way, it’s about as close as we can come to the days of our youth. It ain’t too expensive and friends don’t fight over who got the biggest fish.
Maybe I’ll ask my new, old friend if he wants to go next. I just gotta figure out who he is.