Saturday, November 7, 2009


This is a picture of me with a bass that I caught on my trip south to Ohio. My friend, Bill Snyder, insists that the fish weighed in at an impressive four pounds, where as I was thinking it was hard pressed to make a pound, but what do I know? I don't want to sound vain, but I'm not used to catching such small fish. Don't get me wrong, it was a blast to be fishing in a still body of water and not have to look over your shoulder for
Brown bears. We were guests at his sister and brother-in-law's farm pond and aside from the frigid wind and unseasonably cold temps, I was delighted to be there. Bill and I started the day at the Whetstone River near Mt. Gilead at a pool that I had some fond memories of. It had been over thirty years since I'd wet a line there and over the course of time the pool had shrunk and the gravel bank had grown up with brush and trees. Of course all that brush and overhang wasn't conducive to
fly fishing, and Bill promptly got his fly caught in a tree. While it was humorous, I had bought a three day license and kind of wanted to catch a fish or two. When Bill suggested that we try a different place, I thought he may have had the Scioto River in mind. It's a dirty, muddy slow moving river that passes close to his home in Green Camp. We sometimes joke about him netting carp, which he lovingly calls "sewer bass" there in the Scioto. However, his sister's place was about forty minutes away so we went there and had a great time.
Bill's brother, Don, was my best friend when I was a teen and we spent countless hours trying to catch fish- any kind of fish. We once rode our bikes for miles to get to a farm pond near his grandmothers house only to find the thing clogged with weeds so thick we couldn't cast far enough to reach the water. It wasn't a complete loss though. We discovered that the bull frogs would chase the lures we had so we caught a potato chip can full of them. I didn't eat any of the legs, but Don said they were good- tastes like chicken. How often have you heard that? Another time we couldn't get a ride to our favorite fishing haunt so we took the lid off his cistern in the back yard and chummed a couple of gold fish we had dropped in there some weeks before. One November day, right after Thanksgiving, we got all excited about fishing after watching an episode of Gaddabout Gaddis, The Flying Fisherman. The fact that it was snowing outside and colder than hell didn't deter us. We walked several miles towards the creek we were going to fish. Our path took us right through the rough side of town and while we stood waiting for a train to pass, a couple of hillbillies took the opportunity to hop out of their broken down car and punch each of us in the ear. I can't really blame them- we looked like we needed to be punched- a couple of fools standing at a rail crossing in a snow storm holding fishing rods and tackle boxes.
Don used to go home and tell his mom, "You wouldn't believe what happened to us today." She'd just shake her head and say, "Oh yes I would." She knew anything could happen when we got together.
I'd been in Alaska a few years when my mom called with the news that Don had been killed in a motorcycle accident. It was a shock and I still miss him to this day.
If there is anything good that can come from such a tragic event, it's that Bill and I have developed a close friendship and I cherish it. I've come to realize that if a person has a close friend, regardless of their financial status, they are very rich indeed.

1 comment:

  1. You and Don could always me me laugh so hard when you'd start doing your impressions! You two would just egg each other on, both laughing so hard the tears would come. Bill Cosby had nothing on you two!! I'm sure Don felt the same way about having you as his best friend, Tom. JillE.