Hanging on the wall is something that drives my wife crazy. When I got it, the first words out of her mouth, “You’re not hanging that up on the wall.” I could not see what the problem was, it was not something tacky, it was more along the lines of an achievement of mine, something that I had done all by my self. “It’s still not going to be hanging in our living room.” Finally I just put my foot down, “Where is it going to bother you less when I hang it?” Finally, my prize seven pound Bass was hung there for all to see, and she has never let me forget it.
Now don’t get me wrong, the whole time we were arguing about it, she was laughing. Hanging that fish was just the country boy in me coming out, but the story behind it is kind of funny. I was fishing in a pond, just after a operation on one of my knees, and for a minute there, I wasn’t sure if I was going to pull him out the pond or he was going to pull me in. Then I had to tote him and the rod in one hand, and a cane in the other. But I would have crawled before I threw him back in. Fishermen are like that you know.
I guess what got me to thinking about that fish was a guy I saw on TV the other Sunday morning. I didn’t make it to church, and as I was watching one of those Sunday morning talk shows, some guy was on there saying how that while he was Southern, he didn’t like the way people from the South are being depicted nowadays. People making duck calls, sticking their hands in holes and catching cat fish, or gator hunting. Mud rallies, and deer hunting, and just about every other thing we find fun. Seems like he’s been gone too long and forgot his upbringings.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s no way I’m sticking my hand in a hole to grab a cat fish … now. But in my teenage years … I don’t know, I might have give it a shot, I did plenty of other dumb things when I was younger, like jumping off the railroad trestle into Black River. Back then who ever heard of floating logs under the water, we just jumped. I once saw fifteen head in a Terry Bass Boat, they weren’t going too fast, in fact they were barely moving, but they were having fun. Come to think of it, I’m still wondering how they didn’t sink.
Then he mentioned Duck Dynasty, which is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long time. “Oh they show Southern people in a bad light.” No it doesn’t, it’s a comedy. It’s not a documentary! It’s a show we all can identify with, if we were to admit it. Brothers are arguing about something, the crazy uncle, and families gathering around the table for supper, but not before giving thanks to the Lord. Hey, I’ve even ate possum before, but only one time. Hog head cheese, I know people that still cook it, I don’t eat it, but I know people that still do. Same with chitlin’s, folks, we weren’t raised on T-bone steaks. Give me a piece of fried butts meat any day of the week over a steak.
And I guess that’s my point. I look out my back door, I see woods, I look out my front door, and I can see the same thing. Oh there are a couple houses here and there, but mostly it’s trees. It takes me ten minutes to get to town, fifteen to the outskirts of Georgetown. I don’t live in L.A. or New York City, and no offense, I wouldn’t want to. But for some reason if I don’t have the burning desire to see the bright lights of Broadway something must be wrong with me. And I think that was what that guy was saying.
But I’ve sat on my porch and watched deer run through the woods. I’ve seen my kids run and play in the grass and the pine straw. I sat on my front porch and watched the lightning bugs dance, and the stars and the moon light up the night to where you could walk without a flashlight. I’ve swam the rivers and the ponds as a teenager … where once you swam Black River it was a badge of honor. I’ve heard people talk of being one with nature. Sit and watch a cork bob with a bream nibbling on the bait, then talk to me of being one with nature.
I guess that’s what got to me about that guy on TV the other day, it was kind of like he was ashamed of who he was. I’m not.
I got a Bass hanging on my wall.
You can reach Robbin Bruce by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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