Sunday, March 30, 2008

My first fishing pole - a sad story

Growing up in Utah, fishing season was a big deal (although not as big a deal as hunting seasons). We always went somewhere big for the opening day, if Dad could get ahead far enough in his business to take a couple of days off. We usually went to Fish Lake, or Beaver Lake, or someplace like that where you had to have a boat to play. BUT we always used Dad's fishing gear. If I wanted to go up Chalk Creek on my bicycle, I had to ask Dad to take one of his (not easy to do), or settle for a pole with fishing line tied on the end. Actually, I caught a lot of fish like that, and I lost a lot of them, too. I got to the point where I wanted my own, real fishing tackle. I was about 10 or 12 then. I decided that I wanted a Garcia, open-face reel - I think I even had a brand and model of pole I wanted. But that outfit was expensive - about $20.00, and I didn't know how I was ever going to amass that much cash. My Grandpa Stevens then made a marvelous suggestion: he suggested that I should go to Stevens Dept. store and have them put my selection under the counter, and I could make payments whenever I had a little money until I had it paid for. I was amazed that they would do that. Perhaps he greased the skids on that one. It didn't occur to me then, but it is no coincidence that Grandpa Stevens suggested Stevens Store. It was owned by his uncle.

Anyway, I went down to the store, selected what I wanted and took it to the checkout counter. Sure enough, they set it under the counter, found a shoe box and put a piece of paper in it with the cash register slip amount and the couple of dollars I had at that time. I did notice that it was the only merchandise under the counter and I wondered why more people didn't use this marvelous way to buy stuff.

So I worked at little jobs that summer, making payments whenever I could. I got a chunk of money when Grandpa told me they were harvesting onions out near the North end of town. I got there when they were almost done, but they let me do one row. They had already run a plow down the rows, which brought the onions to the surface, so we picked the onions up, sometimes we had to pull or break off a clod of dirt, and put them into burlap bags. I got paid and took the money to the store on the way home. I think it was $1.25. It went that way all summer. Then Grandpa asked me how much I still needed and I told him it was whatever it was - 3 or 4 dollars. Then he told me how one of the kids in his ward played the organ in Testimony meeting. He'd stand up, give a brief testimony, then say he'd like to play the organ, and go over and play a piece. Grandpa said he'd like me to do that in my ward, and he'd give me $5.00 if I would. So, OK! I did it during the next meeting and got my fishing pole and reel and even some hooks and other gear.

I'd been very focused on it, so everyone was very aware and my Dad took me fishing up Corn Creek (near Kanosh) to break in my new pole. I thought that was way cool. So we went up there and parked at a camping area. Dad got me started and it was going to be great. Except that several men that Dad knew arrived about then. Dad got to talking to them, and drinking with them. I felt like they stole my Dad from me, so I was kind of long-faced. Dad noticed that after a while and told me to fish on down the creek into Kanosh and he'd pick me up along the road. So I did that. I knew that it's much better to fish upstream, but I did what he said. I fished all the way down the canyon and waited for a while, then started walking back. When I got there it was nearly sundown, but when Dad noticed me, he said exactly the same thing, again. It was like he hadn't even noticed that I was gone. So I did it again. I fished all the way down and walked back up. By this time it was fully dark and Dad was really drunk, which I had never seen before. He was doing things and saying things that were unlike he ever did when he was sober. This time when he saw me, he left off drinking. I helped him over to the car and in the process, I left my new pole leaning against a tree. I was kind of scared by the whole thing, especially when Dad asked me if I could drive. Of course I couldn't! He kind of drew himself up straight and I could see that he was trying to focus and do the best he could. It was 14 miles back to our house and we got there safely, somehow. It wasn't until the next day that I missed my fishing pole, and it was too late by then. This was a hard experience for both Dad and I. Dad was ashamed and I have to say that I never saw him drunk again, although he still drinks some. Beyond the selfish concern about my pole, I was upset to see my Dad without full control of himself. I was embarrassed for him. The result was that I determined that I would never, ever drink alcohol. And I never have. The next year I started milking the cow and I made enough money to easily buy new gear. In the end, I think it was a positive thing for me to get a view of what licquor does to a man.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wow, what a lot of water!

First, Ruth asked me to make so she can comment on my Blog.  OK, thats done.

We had unbelievable rain yesterday, as Ive only ever seen in Texas.  It rained HARD, and all day long.  Keith called me and asked him to meet me near downtown Plano and I was lucky to even get there.  Spring Creek was over its banks and almost over the road.  It was the kind of rainstorm where the residential streets are full of water trying to get down into the storm drains, which the city has installed at about every 50 feet.  I dont just mean they are wet, I mean the surface of the water extends from the lawns above the curb on one side of the street all the way to the lawns above the curb on the other side.  The kind of storm where people get killed by it.  This one had a mild toll one  vehicle swept away with 2 rescued, the 1 kid playing in the water, swept away and not found yet.  Its often much worse than that with less water.