Hunting And Fishing Remembrances
There are still some childhood memories so vivid, so clear, that even the tastes and smells come back. That’s rather amazing—given that I’m closer to 60 than 30 and I’m still having these childhood memories. That I can remember where I left the truck keys, much less childhood memories, is a small victory most days.
One memory in particular continues to come back, thankfully, even though nothing extraordinary occurred. I was in 4th grade, and we lived in Memphis. It was late spring, a Friday I think, and dad kept my brother and I out of school. I’m not sure what the note to my teacher said the following Monday, but I’m certain it wasn’t the truth— that the bream were hard on the bed at Tunica Cutoff and that was more important to the Kirbys than a random Friday of school at Farmington Elementary.
This was back when about the only thing along the two-lane Delta highway heading to Tunica other than cotton fields was a restaurant and a bait store. Casinos in Tunica? Back then that was about as far-fetched as the thought that one day folks wearing fish costumes and PETA stickers would be campaigning to ban fishing.
I don’t remember exactly how many bream we caught that day, but it was a cooler full, and they were big. Right now, thinking back on that day, I can almost taste the ham sandwich my mom made me for lunch—it had that moist, been-in-the-cooler for hours feel, and it was so cold from sitting on ice. And right this second, as I sit in recliner in front of a fire on a late November night in my Morgan County den, I swear I can smell those Mississippi bream beds.
Most of the childhood memories still vivid to me involve hunting or fishing, and like that bream fishing trip to Tunica, they weren’t particularly outstanding outings in terms of what was caught or shot. Of course I remember my first deer and my first duck, but many of the memories that remain are of bits and pieces of unremarkable trips to the woods and lakes. Maybe I’m different in how much I loved hunting and fishing when I was growing up, but I like to think that most youngsters, given the chance to experience the outdoors, most get that same giddiness the night before opening day.
So, how is it that something that stirs the soul the way hunting and fishing does could possibly be declining? I can only guess that fewer kids are being held out of school these days for a fishing or hunting trip that they’ll never forget. I think all we have to do is take them. I think it’s that simple.
There’s nothing like hunting and fishing. Take a kid, and they’ll feel it. Maybe it will stay with them forever.
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