Friday, March 6, 2020

The first time.


Can you remember the first time you went hunting or fishing? Who took you that first time?

I grew up beside a pond. When I say beside, it was literally within 100 feet of the front door. My dad and grandfather and step-grandmother loved fishing. Once spring rolled around, it was not uncommon at all for Dad to grab a fishing rod and go over to the bank and cast for an hour or so.

My first fish came with my mom. She purchased a plastic rod that had a plastic hook and plastic fish. I was beside the bank one day with her, slamming the plastic hook into the water, yanking it out, and slamming it back in. Remarkably, a bream somehow was in the wrong place at the right time, and it snagged onto that red plastic hook. I was both excited and petrified at the same time.

But as I got older, and by older, I mean like five years old, I would fish nearly every day in which the weather would cooperate. Why? Because I had seen my dad do it day in and day out. It was what you did. If I wasn’t at the pond, I would walk to Silver Lake and fish along the banks there. Sometimes my dad would be with me, sometimes he would be at work if on a weekday. The wildlife club had a building there and Mr. Barnes ran it each day. He was basically a temporary babysitter.

Times were much different then. I guess that is how things work out after half a century. But those times were the influence to get me outdoors to hunt and fish and camp.

This is one of our first challenges if we believe these outdoor activities must continue.

We no longer have the same schedules. Our workplaces are open longer and during more days. Weekends are no longer a time of rest and relaxation. People don’t get off of work at 5pm, and if they do, many may have commutes lasting an hour or longer. We have lost those brief opportunities that once meant so much.

This is where we need to better address our time management skills. Sounds like something you would hear at a meeting at work doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it is true though.

We come home tired. Heck, we often come home beat. I understand. I’m the same way. But where we once couldn’t go by the lake without seeing a dozen people standing along the shore with a cork in the water, we can’t go by the lake now and find anyone fishing. When we go to the park with friends, family, and most of all children, they are not accustomed to that. Instead they only see people walking or sitting. There is no connection to outdoors other than it being a scene, and they can find better scenes graphically created on their game console.

Even if you cannot take someone new to fishing or hunting with you, simply being out there is enough to spark conversation between others. It is what helps bring that little bit of intrigue and inquisition into what you find attractive about it. It is how a small kid that is full of questions may get to the point of asking his or her parent if they can go fishing.

We don’t get many of those opening title sequences from the Andy Griffith show anymore with Andy and Opie walking to the pond with the rods over their shoulders. But I bet you have many fond memories that resemble that form when you first started fishing and hunting.

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