Hopeless golf swing, fair shot with a over & under and a decent cast with a fly rod. l love pars, covey rises, tailing redfish and just being from the South.
I have to say my current job is any college guy in his twenties perfect fit, in a sense. All week I am surronded by southern sorority belles coming in dressed to the nine in their local botique outfits,high dollar Coach gym bags; then leaving after a 30 minute workout with their hair still perfect makeup not smudged or running so they can still look good posing for instagram with the infamous hashtagged #getfit #girlsthatlift #bikinibody , post later on picstitched with a calendar counting down until Panama City Spring Break. On occasion I have had the chance to meet some people that have… well lived life with some quite intresting stories.
Earlier this week a older gentleman entered and approached the counter. I greeted him and did my job. I tend to take notice of what people are wearing or there demeanor about things just as a way of how I should approach any conversation I may have with them. Throughout the paperwork of him signing up for a membership he happened to mention he had been sick for awhile and just needed to get back into the swing of things as far as exercise. After his paperwork was finished and processed I offered as I do with everyone of giving him a tour around our facility. So we began walking, he started sharing his story with me. Now take note I am one to talk to a wall if it will talk back to me. He told me of his father who worked for General Electric, until forced into retirement only to start another successful buisness living well into his 80’s; how he never quit living, staying active allowed him to live into later years in life and that was his goal as well.
The tour continued and he kept sharing, all the while asking me questions of myself. Told of his days in college being alumni of Ole Miss where he played football. Then how he lived in Australia and Singapore playing in various golf tournaments and tours while on his venture playing in the PGA. Procedding to ask if I had a girlfriend, I responded with theres a young lady I have my eye on. He told me “you’ve got you’re whole life to find the one, but when you do you’ll know it.” He told me of a ten year marriage to go sour all the while he raised two kids and stayed single for 26 years thinking he would never meet someone again, until he met the woman he has grown to love more than life itself. More in depth our conversation ravished, how he was diagnosed with prostate cancer battling it for three years and nearly to death it took him.
By this time our tour had come to a hault, as we stood and talked like two old friends that had not seen each other for a very long time just catching up. Then he began telling me of all the things he has done, places he has lived, what he really misses having his shallow water skiffs and being able to fish. I began to grin as he spoke my language. Saying “yea i tell yea there is nothing like having the sun at your back as a school of bonefish move across a flat right off the bow of your skiff as I glide my push pole through the water trying to get a good friend in position with a clouser fly I have tied and let me tell you I fooled many a grey ghost and silver kings with my flies but never a permit.” “Yes sir, the game of permit fishing is a tough one” I replied.
Our conversation flourshied from that point even more procedding into the talk of birddogs and covey rises in a crisp cool fall morning at a red hill plantation located somewhere in Southeast Georgia or North Florida. How we both enjoyed the beauty of seeing a pointer locked in on a covey of quail in the pines or the sight of a redfish tail in the tall grass trying to root up a crab. We discussed different types of skiffs from Hells Bays to the original Hewes Redfisher. Oh how i just sat back and listened to him briefly tell of the old days of skinny water fishing. He sighed chuckled and said ” Son I met you ten years to late it seems, if only I had the strength to still pole around or walk the hills looking for a covey, yourself and I would enjoy ourselves but if we had a nice bottle of bourbon I believe we could fill a night with conversation.”
He shook my hand thanked me for taking the time to show him around but more so listening to him talk. Told me God has a plan for us all and that of mine looked mighty bright. Before leaving he offered that once he gets some strength back he plans to start tying flies again and that he would show me some pointers on the vise as well as his double haul. I agreed with another firm hand shaked and said our goodbyes until next time. Later on in the day I began thinking about how we are all so quick to rush life without enjoing our story that is being written. Getting caught up in every newsfeed, timeline and post we have. When sometimes all we really need to do is sit back, listen and enjoy the story. Hell, before we know it we ourselves will be 74 wondering where time went.