Sunday, September 7, 2008

The child

Continuing themes I touched on in Opportunities misused and Legacies, I witnessed something yesterday that nags me.

I was at a friends apartment to listen to his new tube amplifier and do a little fishing. It was the last time before the big steelhead trip. He has a series of weedy ponds on the grounds of the apartment complex which are stocked with panfish and largemouth bass. They are really selective and spooky, and therefore challenging. It is easy fishing; casting from shore and trying to avoid weeds and brush on the backcast. His neighbors were having a cookout, and as we walked to our usual pond, we noticed they were the usual suspects. Harly guys and gals dressed in black 'Slayer' T-shirts. After awhile one of the children came over to investigate what my friend was doing. He was a little boy of perhaps eight or nine, with blonde hair. He was right off a cover of Field and Stream. Big eyes and curiosity. All that was missing was the father and the fishing rod. For an hour he ran back and forth with the endless energy of youth, watching my friend cast and asking questions. His parents sat at the cookout and drank beer. He was a persistent kid, coming back again and again to watch. My friend has more patience than me, and he explained what he was doing, and where the fish were. He showed him flies and explained casting. When he caught a fish, he showed it to the kid. The parents kept calling him, but watching fishing and exploring the pond was obviously more fun than watching adults drink beer. At one point he told my friend that "His daddy had taken him fishing once." One hopes, perhaps in futility, that his dad might have noticed something here. An opportunity to bond with his child and encourage his interest in fishing. I wonder if the kid went to bed that night dreaming of the pond.

The fishing was sub-par, but each of us landed a bluegill of around a pound, and I got a small largemouth. Fun day though, especially watching the inherent curiosity and interest a young boy has for all things fishing. So to the father. Take a hint and take your son fishing.

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