All the kids sat in a row near the Christmas tree. Their faces glowed softly and innocently, almost cherub-like in the warm, brightly colored light. (Yeah, RIGHT!)
I guess 21, 16, and 13 are hardly kids anymore. When you're rounding the bend toward 60 they sure seem young. Actually, anyone under 40 seems young anymore.
Oh, no, I'm quickly and surly becoming my old man.
Capt. George Tunison
The girls were there with us, partially, sharing Christmas, but a big part of them was locked in some computerized cyber world as they pecked furiously and incessantly at their miniature processor/cell phone/texting machines. They were texting who knows what, apparently to hundreds and hundreds of people judging by the amount of time spent mindlessly pecking.
I find it terribly disturbing for some reason. This is almost a full-time job for them. Soon companies world wide will cut office costs tremendously as office desks are filled with a new breed of tiny typewriters to accommodate these young adults already trained since birth in the use of the miniaturized machines.
I waited anxiously as the young man opened present after present, hoping he soon would find the box that contained his brand new spinning reel. He did and seemed happy with the gift.
He had done some basic fishing and had caught redfish and was interested in learning and doing a lot more of it. Time always was short with college, tennis, and getting a pilot's license at 17, to mention just a few projects.
As we talked about his new reel, the use, the care, and then on to what type of rod should belong to that new reel, I could see him thinking about when he might fish again and his plans for a new rod. I never mentioned the beautiful new Crowder custom fishing rod, engraved with his name, sitting in the other room.
Finally, after a bit I walked out to get some tea. Upon my return, I handed him a long rod tube. He inspected the gleaming new rod while mounting it to the new reel and at that point we where both ready to fish. I could tell he had the fishing bug, the one I caught at 8, almost 50 years ago.
I fish in snow, wind, extreme temperatures, covered in bugs, sweat and layers of clothes, but mostly in sunscreen. I am a full-time guide and my real office is in my boat.
Many, many times in the north I have had to break ice to get to my particular spot. I love every minute of it - the preparation, the trip, the actual fishing, and even the trip home after washing down the boat. I've got it bad, and I'm just fine with that. The whole experience, it's a way of life and it is all about the journey, not just landing a fish.
Fishing has taught me humility, manners and sportsmanship, self reliance, patience, envy, independence, and helped me grow as a person. It has given me a deep love and respect for nature that continues to grow.
When I was young I wanted to catch great numbers of fish, and I did. Now I'm happy just to catch a couple of "good ones."
I once saw a poster that read: "Fishing is not an escape from reality, but a deeper immersion into it."
As our politicians continue to fail us. Those who would take away our traditions of fishing, shooting, and private gun ownership, and even boating rights, grow stronger by the day. It's an ongoing struggle. Get involved. Stand up for your sporting rights, and PLEASE take a kid fishing today.
I hope this young man has been badly bitten by that old fishing bug, and I hope he is infected for life. That is my real gift to him.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.