Share The Heritage
By Tom Lester
As I prepare this article, I do so from my grandmother's room at the nursing home where she resides since the passing of my grandfather in April. She has suffered for the past 11 years from the dreadful condition known as, Alzheimer's Disease. Her health is fading and the end is near. In the many hours I have and will spend with her until her demise, my thoughts turn to reflections of my life with both of my grandparents and my parents. We have had many wonderful years together. Her passing will mark the end of an era in my life, and the beginning of another.
In looking back over the impact my grandparents and parents have had on me, I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for their helping me learn to love the outdoors. Although my grandmother was not the outdoors type, she encouraged my grandfather to take us fishing as often as possible. My earliest memories of fishing are with my grandfather and father.
Each summer my brothers and I came to Corsicana for a month long visit with my mother's parents. My grandfather, Avery Jackson, usually took a week of vacation so we could fish all day, everyday. After returning to work, he would come home each day and take us fishing until dark and all day on Saturday. On Sunday, they had us in church, so we didn't fish one day out of the week.
Each summer, we got new cane poles, our primary means of fishing. There is no telling how much money my grandfather spent on minnows for us to go fishing. Quite a bit, I am sure. We fished stock tanks and small lakes, mostly. We fished for anything that would bite. We always had a great time, as long as we were fishing. He always seemed to have time to take us.
My earliest recollection of fishing with my father is bass fishing. My dad was always fishing bass tournaments. At one time he was a member of three different bass clubs at the same time. He took us out as often as he could. This is where my brothers, Todd and Pat, and myself, learned to fish with rod and reels and artificial lures. Although totally different from our cane pole fishing around Corsicana, it was equally enjoyable and educational. I am thankful that both of these important men in my life took the time to share an American heritage with me, fishing.
Fishing is the number one leisure sport in America. More people are involved in and more money is spent each year on fishing than any other sport in our country. It is just good, clean, wholesome fun for the whole family.
As both my grandfather and I got older, it became my job to take him fishing instead of the other way around. He loved to go to Richland-Chambers (Texas) and catch sandbass when they were schooling. Just before his death, we had made plans to go give them a try in the upcoming days. Unfortunately, I will not have the chance to do so. I will always wish we had been able to go, one more time.
I am blessed with still having my father. He and I fish together several times a year. We fish a few bass tournaments together and we fish for bass and stripers when I visit him in Arkansas. Occasionally we will travel to Missouri to trout fish. Some of the best times we have ever had together have been on the water and on the shoreline, fishing together.
Both of my brothers and I love to fish and do so regularly. Had it not been for the love and dedication of my two greatest heroes, who taught us to love, appreciate and respect the outdoors, we might have missed out on the greatest pastime in America, fishing.
Take time to pass on an American tradition. Share the heritage of fishing. Take a youngster or an adult fishing. It might be the greatest thing you could ever do for them. If you were lucky enough to have, now gray or slick headed men, take you fishing when you were younger, find time to return the favor. You might be surprised how much fun you have and how much those old dogs can still teach us young pups.
Until next time, enjoy the outdoors.