22. Poetry

We were on vacation in the mountains years ago when my father took me and his friend, Guy, fishing on a small pond. Guy had earlier reported that this particular pond was full of trout. Well, I was ready to catch something.


My father and I had all the right equipment, though we never seemed to have much success fishing. I was beginning to think that maybe we just weren’t very good fishermen. I was hoping this would be the day that proved me wrong.  


We packed our rods and reels. We filled the tackle box with lures, spinners, and hooks, and we headed out to pick up Guy. Pulling in his driveway, Guy emerged from the house carrying just two things: a single cane fishing pole with a line tied to its end and what looked like a can of vegetables. I didn’t understand. Could he simply not afford nicer equipment? Or was he a beginner fisherman who didn’t know much about the sport?


Guy opened the car door, greeted us, and handed me his cane pole to store in the back of the station wagon.


“Good morning, boys,” Guy said. “Great day for fishing, ain’t it?”

          “Yes sir,” I replied. “What have you got in the can?”

          “Oh, I brought some niblet corn,” said Guy with no further elaboration.


“Corn?” I thought. “Why would he bring corn?”


Well, after we arrived at the pond, it didn’t take long to figure out that Guy would be the best fisherman that day. He knew exactly what he was doing. The corn was the perfect bait for mountain trout, and his old cane pole served him well all day. Just about every time old Guy dropped his line in the water, he pulled out a nice trout.


My father and I were busy casting our lines and changing lures trying to improve our chances of catching something. Guy, on the other hand, sat quietly beside us loading his hook with single niblets of corn and dropping his line in the water just a short distance from the dock.


I learned a valuable lesson that day — that although it might be nice to have all the fancy equipment, the fish don’t care. They’re looking for one thing: the most appealing bait.


I still think about old Guy. I think about that day in the mountains. And I think of how the simplest things are often times the most attractive. Sometimes I have to stop and question myself: What is my mission? What am I trying to accomplish? Am I losing sight of the most important things? 


Days 22-26 Guide


Have a Merry Christmas, my friend. Be sure that you’ve got your sights on the most important things.


© 2005, Levi Hill

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