While returning home from our Christmas/New Year’s trip to Alabama with my family, my mind drifted off into a pleasant dream land. Here it was, New Year’s Day and it was foggy & raining as we made our way back to our Louisiana home. My wife had slipped off into a light sleep while I was keeping time with the wiper blades and dreaming of yesteryears gone by.
It seems funny that just a few years ago fishing & life was so simple compared to our high tech modern world of bass fishing today. It’s also funny that just a few years ago a man’s simple handshake was his bond and that could buy him anything he needed. Try that today and see what happens, bet you will get 25 pages of junk paperwork to fill out just to start the loan process. While I was driving, a new song by Brooks & Dunn came over the radio waves named “I Believe” and boy did this song give me some chill bumps. This song was about an older fellow who lived the simplest life during the hardest times of our country’s history. He was a family man who’s “faith” was very strong and who also believed and trusted in God. Even through all the hard & tough times in his life, he still “believed” & trusted his Bible & God. As the song was playing, my mind rushed back to my younger years to a fellow just like this, my grandfather.
My grandfather was also a very simple man who was very strong in his faith with God. He was a hard working American Farmer who made his living from his land & farm. I can always remember grandpa & grandma never having anything fancy, but they sure had enough of what they needed. Grandpa would work from sun up to dark, 6 days a week, but on Sunday morning you would find my grandparents in church thanking the good Lord for all their blessings received during the week. One of the best parts was every summer while school was out, my dad & mom would let me stay the summer months with my grandparents. Even up to my college years, I would spend the summer on the farm helping out & spending time with my grandparents. Now being grown and looking back some 35-40 years, maybe there was more play than work going on, but neither grandpa nor grandma ever said any different. I have so many great memories of these times when life was so grand and simple.
Now my grandfather was a short stocky man who was hard core down to his last breath. But he also had a soft side that many didn’t get to see or know. We would work all week long in the fields and then come Saturday night grandma would scrub behind our ears and clean us up for Sunday morning Church. One of the best soft sides of grandpa was when it would rain and we couldn’t get into the fields to work. He would always ask me if I wanted to go fishing. I would always answer him with a “yes sir” and off we would go to the creek down on the back side of his timber line that flowed through the hard wood bottoms. You must understand that our fishing tackle & gear was very simple back then. It consisted of 2 cane poles, 2 snuff cans, and 2 one gallon buckets, oh, and 1 brown bag filled with goodies from grandma’s kitchen. After all the chores were done for the morning we would stop by the cow pen and dig a few worms for our trip. Once both of our little snuff cans were running over with worms we would pick up our cane poles and gallon buckets and head off to the creek. Grandpa didn’t like using a stringer to hold our fish because there were always snakes and turtles who wanted our fish too. We always used a gallon bucket for our bream and maybe if we were lucky, a bass would fill up the extra empty space in one of the buckets. You have to remember that we were bream fishing in a creek that you could step across most of the time, but then it had big deep holes in it too!
There was nothing sweeter than watching that little cork go underwater and setting the hook on an Alabama monster bream from grandpa’s creek. Most times we would visit with each other, trade stories (which his were always better than mine) and laugh a lot. I learned a lot from my grandpa during these fun fishing trips. When the fishing was done we would head home where my grandma would be waiting with her arms spread wide open for me to tell her about my fishing trip. I never knew what the limit was back then but most of the time I would have 25-30 bream in my one gallon syrup bucket with water and room to spare! It really didn’t matter about the size of the fish back then, it was all about being with family and love ones and enjoying the simple things of growing up. I learned a lot from my grandparents and I hope they were proud of me. I sure do miss them and the simple things of life that they taught me. There are so many kids today who never get a chance to see this part of our world and who may never get this type of family love at home. I hope that each and every one of us can someday show a kid a little touch of the simple life and share with them our love for the sport of fishing.
Like the song says, “I Believe” that when I bow my head & raise my arms toward the sky that my grandparents can see just how much they did for me! I just hope that I have made them proud!
There’s one thing for sure even though our lives may not be as simple as yesteryears, I still love to fish for those Alabama bream. I still don’t mind using that snuff can and gallon syrup bucket for a live-well. So next time you see me set the hook and reel in a little bream and then look toward the heavens, it’s just my way of saying, “Thanks grandpa & grandma for giving me the best simple times of my life and for helping me keep God in our busy lives!
May God Bless You in this coming year! Please remember to take a child fishing when you can, it just might make you a star in their little eyes and give them a “simple time” to look back upon when they get older. Also please remember to pray for our Troops; if not for them we wouldn’t have this great “Freedom” of ours!