Along The Trail 6-12-14

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Editor’s Note: This is a column written by Switzerland County’s David Hewitt. The articles center on all things ‘outdoors’, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship.

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Time gets away from us.

There is always something more important to do, something more pressing. A meeting, a return phone call, errand to run. Work around the house, yard to mow, garden to plant. Anything and everything eats away at our time,

Time we can never get back.

I had things to do, chores to catch up on, things around home that have gotten away from me.

Saturday is sunny and warm, no chance of a rain shower. A perfect day for catching up on the “to do” list. A day to lose more time doing tasks that need to be done.

But as I look at the back deck, paint fading and boards bleaching, in dire need of some repair, my mind turns to fishing and I think about “time” and my son. Sure, he’ll help me with the projects around the house and in a sense, we will be spending time together. He’s a hard worker and not afraid to get his hands dirty, but on a day like today, the time should be quality time. Besides, my “time” with him is rapidly slipping away, the older he gets and the freedom his driver’s license will bring to him.

I know that “dad” time is fleeting.

I set my paint scraper aside and tell the kid to grab the fishing poles and tackle boxes. We throw them into the back of his truck and he turns the key over with a grin. He eases out the clutch and we’re on our way to a good friend’s pond for an afternoon of wetting lines and hopefully catching a few fish.

We make our way around the pond, working the edges under the moss with a soft, plastic worm and a curly tailed jig. A splash gets my attention and I look over my shoulder towards the kid’s direction. He slips a fat, “bull” bluegill into the fish basket and nods his head my direction.

I cast for bass and horse a few good ones out of the water with my baitcaster, while my boy coaxes a some more bluegills out of the shadows and into the basket.

We chat back and forth across the pond, acknowledging each other’s catch with a thumbs up or a shout of “good one” as the day passes under the June sun and the bluebird sky. We circle the pond, tossing our lures into likely looking haunts, hoping for a tug at the end of our line.

We spend the rest of the day yanking a few more fish out of the water, slipping the bass back in to fight another day and putting a few more ‘gils into the basket for fillets and a future fish fry.

But, it’s time to put an end to our little fishing excursion and get back to responsibility, back to the things that need to be done, back to losing time. We climb into the cab of the truck, smelling like fish and as the kid wheels us down the road, mud tires humming against the pavement, him shifting through the gears, I think about the hundreds of times my dad took me fishing and I was once a 16 year old learning to drive a stick shift truck on the back roads.

I remember how at 16, those times didn’t seem so important to me then – but now they mean everything.

A grinding of gears on a down shift snaps me back as the kid looks over and gives me a sheepish grin and I shake my head with a smile,

Grateful for our “time”.

– David Hewitt