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A little bridge on the side of the road

  • Thursday, May 15, 2014

Yesterday evening I was coming home from a meeting, I noticed something. It wasnít earth shattering or anything, in fact it was kinda peaceful.

Just as you are leaving out of Andrews headed towards Hemingway there is a small bridge at a spot known as Horsepen Creek. I donít know why itís called that, but thatís the name Iíve heard all my life.

Just as you are traveling down the far side there is a dirt road on the left that leads back towards the bottom of the bridge. Half way down the road is another bridge that crosses the creek in the opposite direction.

Itís just a wooden bridge, made out of railroad cross ties, and there must have been ten or fifteen people standing on it. And every one of them had a cane pole in there hand.

In this day of high tech fishing, thatís about as low tech as you can get. But you know what, I bet there are a lot of folks out there who have never sat on a river bank with a cane pole in there hands.

Much less even know how to tie one off so that the line wonít slip off when a big ole bream decides to make a run for it if you were to hook one.

I guess if I were to think about it, the closest thing to it would be fly fishing. Which is something Iíve never done, except seeing it on TV. Itís all in the wrist. You can either just hoop it out there or you can swish it around like a whip.

My Granddaddy was a master with one. Fishing these days has become a sport; to him it was like going to the grocery store to get something to eat. Most folks today like to see who can get the biggest motor on the biggest boat.

Him, he had a 14-foot wooden boat with a 6.5 put-putter on the back. Folks today use electric foot controlled motors, he used one of Godís greatest gifts, the tides.

Just as he backed his boat in the water he would watch which way the waters flowing. Then he would ride the river against the tide till he got to his spot, then turn in and ride the tide. With a paddle in his left hand and a cane pole in his right he would just glide along, using the paddle just enough to keep the boat straight.

Up under limbs and around roots, whipping his line with a style that would make Zorro blush.

Then before long you could feel a sense of change happening. The tide was changing. And that would be the time we would tie off somewhere and eat us a bite.

After a while the troubled spirit of the river would right it self and start flowing the other way, we were off again. Letting it take us back the other way, down the opposite bank.

Itís taken me a lot of years to appreciate what he was teaching me, or even to understand it. Life is a lot like the tides in a river, sooner or later it will change too. You can fight it or you can fish.

Even though I fished with Granddaddy a lot, it was my Dad who taught me about a cane pole. How to tie one, how to throw one, how to hold your mouth just right to catch a fish.

We would load up in his VW bug on Thursday evening when he knocked off, with the cane poles stuck out the window and head over to Uncle Heywardís pond. He would always pick himself a spot up under a tree and he would stay there.

The rest of us would be constantly moving, but when we came back with ours, guess what, he had just as many as we had.

Iím not sure which of them I was thinking about when I saw those folks standing there with those cane poles. To be honest, probably neither, because I was in a hurray to get home. Just like the rest of us,, we live in a hurray our whole lives.

Maybe I ought to buy me a cane pole.

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