The Ambiguous Fisherman
I have always felt the word avid should only be used alongside the word fisherman. Now, I really can’t explain why that is, it’s as if no other word just seems to fit. You love to fish, therefore you are an avid fisherman, or in my case, I would be known as an un-avid fisherman. Although, I like to think that I fit more into an ambiguous point of view about fishing …I have always been somewhat noncommittal about it. Truth be told, I never totally bought into that whole idea of getting up when I didn’t want to, to do something I didn’t have to. That is such a very strange combination to me. It becomes downright argumentative when that alarm goes off at 5:00 in the morning and you start that whole battle with the snooze button. The only way this scenario seems perfectly plausible at all would be if you really enjoyed fishing …hence you were avid, which, of course, takes us right back to the paragraph above. The times I have ventured out from the comfort of my soft and warm bed linens over the years, to head to a nearby pond or creek, I would inevitably find myself already mad at the fish before I even got there. They hadn’t done anything. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say, if the fish had their way, I wouldn’t be there either, although I have been giving out free worm breakfasts most all of my fishing career. I just feel that starting a day off all frustrated and angry before the sun has even had the time to rise from its resting place to greet you is absolutely no way to begin a perfectly good Saturday morning. Maybe that’s why I never cared for fishing that much …I equate it with alarm clocks, being jarred awake in the middle of a perfectly good sleep and then crawling out of a warm bed totally against my will. Kinda like boot camp or maybe like a terrorist kidnapping right out of one of those Liam Neeson movies. I guess when I look at it closer, maybe I’m an avid sleeper …therein my friends lies the great conflict. With all of that in mind, why do I suddenly have the urge to go fishing? Is it my age? Has the back side of my mid-fifties ignited a grandfatherly approach to life for me? Was an epiphany thrust upon me from the heavens? Sure, I know the basics of fishing and I have fished several times through the years. I’ve trout fished the White River at a camp up in Arkansas, I’ve deep-sea fished a few times, I’ve fished for trout in streams, pond fished, I once hooked an alligator, I’ve fished late into the night from a pontoon boat and fished from a bass boat once in monsoon conditions within almost direct view of a tornado …I was told on that occasion that we couldn’t stop ‘cause we had found ourselves on a mess of crappie. So you see, I am not foreign to fishing, but I just realized that each and every time I have gone fishing over the years it was never my idea. Now, it’s my idea and I simply do not understand. I have buddies who fish and I could call one of them up, but I know what they’ll ask …what do you want to fish for? Truthfully I don’t know what kind of fish, I just need to fish. I’m not looking to catch something, clean it and take it back home for the grill …that’s why God gave us Costco. I simply want to fish. I’ll call Chris. Chris is a buddy of mine, a very good buddy of mine …a buddy that first crossed my path back in our junior high days. Chris is a fisherman, but a fisherman more along my style …simple, slow and appreciative of the moment and all that it entails. Fishing is not work, fishing is well, fishing. If you catch something fine if not, that’s fine too. Wasn’t the sunrise pretty this morning? How about another cup of coffee? We laugh at the same things, we both love Garrison Keillor, standard poodles, John Prine, Umco tackle boxes and hot coffee from a thermos. I’m telling you if I had gone to FishingMatch.com, I just know the computer algorithm thingie would have matched us up. I nervously placed the call and after our usual casual banter, I asked him out. He said yes. We’re going fishing in the morning.