Everyone Has a Fish Story…

I have a phobia about fishing. Maybe phobia isn’t the right word, but I find fishing boring and a waste of time. Growing up, I was surrounded by fishermen and women. It was a way of life and, obviously, a sport my folks loved. It wasn’t that I didn’t try my hand at fishing; I actually baited hooks, reeled in a few keepers, cleaned, cooked, and ate them.  Problem was, I never had the patience to cast my line and wait for a fish to bite. As a youngster I would often lay my rod down and walk off, much to the consternation of my Mom and Aunt, who incidentally both loved to fish.

I blame fishing for causing me to become easily bored. It actually ruined me for a lot of things like playing cards, watching baseball – well that’s another story – or watching golf on TV (sort of like watching grass grow). My wife says it wasn’t fishing that caused this but a slight case of ADD that has never officially been diagnosed. She says I can’t stay focused and am often like a train veering off the track. Funny, I never noticed. But if it’s true, it’s because of fishing.

I’m now retired, but unlike a lot of fellows my age, I do not fish and probably won’t. It isn’t that I didn’t try. I went to fly fishing school with a couple of buddies and almost bought the expensive rod and reel, the boots, and that neat vest. At the last minute I became lucid and backed out, blaming boredom. My buddies had a different take on our fishing adventure. They said it was from getting hung up in trees and bushes. Actually, any plant life could snag my cast. I told them it wasn’t my casting but the fish gods casting on me a spell of impatience. It’s as good a way as any to explain a mild case of ADD.



It’s Not Important…

On a visit to her son’s home in France many years ago, my wife was startled when her four-year-old granddaughter was jumping around the living room and broke a lamp. When grandma asked what happened, her granddaughter shrugged her shoulders in typical French fashion and explained, closing with the statement, “Mais ce n’est pas important.” But it’s not important. Needless to say, grandma was taken aback by that last remark and, I’m sure, had an adequate response.  Over the years I have heard that story many times, so obviously it made a big impression. Today, if you ask my wife or daughter-in-law about the lamp incident, the type of lamp is forgotten but what remains is the expression that has become part of the family lore.

While we assign degrees of importance to things, a child’s simple explanation puts into perspective the reality of what counts: people, family, friends, co-workers, and everyday contacts. They are more important than any object ever will be. As a society, we have a tendency to believe that the more we own, the better we feel about ourselves. You know, “the one who dies with the most toys wins.” We seem to put things on a higher pedestal than human relationships, which is sad because as you grow older, you forget about the things. Relationships live with you forever.

My hope is that as our granddaughter progresses into adulthood, she never forgets the valuable lesson she taught us…the possessions in life are not that important. It’s the people in our lives that count the most.