Tough Task To Tackle

Daryl Gay | March 2, 2022

Compadre called the other day. On his flip phone. Needed help, as in manual labor. Go figure.

“Lookahyeah, I need you to ease over and help me clean something out. It’s backed up so bad it’s filled three stories at the house.”

“You live in a trailer…”

“I know where I live! But I can’t see it for the jumble. You got to help!

Sighhhh. “I’m on the way.”

So here’s a heads-up for those of you who haven’t realized yet that it’s the even-numbered year of 2022: tackle box tidy-up time!

Those even numbers are the only way I can keep up with it. Other than, come to think of it, snagging a treble hook ankle-high in the midst of a two a.m. tinkle trek.

The last even-numbered year that I dumped out and started the stacking process all over again was 1922. Hundred years is a nice even number.

Amazing, upon opening the old box back up, some of the memories that slip their way back through the mists. No matter how hard you tried to forget them… Also, the stench. Uh, aroma. But please, let us provide a positive educational process here!

Here’s something you might want to consider: read small print on cans containing any allegedly edible commodities. For instance, if’n them Viennas say, “Best If Used By October 1937” it just may be time for them to go.

I know, parting is such sweet sorrow…

On the other hand, say there’s a vintage (1954) deviled ham delicacy super-glued to the tackle box bottom. Do NOT, under any circumstances, part with it! ‘Cause when you hit that next rock in the river, smearing that glob into the cracked aluminum just may get you back to the ramp.

And how about that 2-lb. plastic worm? Er, THOSE worms. Amalgamated, fused, incorporated.

I remember finding out that the manufacturer of a certain all-time favorite plastic worm of mine was going out of business. So I called the factory. On a Monday. Man answered.

“I want to buy some worms.”

“Are you a retailer?”


“Then I can’t sell them to you.”

“So you’re going out of business, shutting the doors, and you can’t sell your product to me? What kind of a salesman are you?”


Tuesday. Man answered…

“Are you a retailer?”

“Never mind.”

Wednesday. Lady answers.

“I want to buy some worms.”

“How many do you want?”

Moment of silence.

“Uh, how many you got in black with red tail and blue with red tail?”

She gave me a fairly astronomical number with ridiculously matching price. But I ain’t haggling.

“I’ll take all of them. By the way, please don’t mention this to any of your co-workers until post-shipment. Here’s my address.”

Moment of silence…

Decades later, I still have stacks of 20-packs. They’re the only plastic worms I use. And my bank still holds the mortgage.

But let us hie back to getting the original box systematized.

“Hmmm,” I say, holding up a carved wooden masterpiece. “This topwater must be a hundred years old.”

“Yeah; was my grandpap’s. Just toss it.”

Which I promptly did. Then repeated the process a couple dozen times. Maybe he just didn’t appreciate grandpap, but there was a particular top-plug pile that somehow managed to keep growing…

Two weeks later, all done. Even discovered that his trailer had a back door. And now he wants to go fishing.

“Yeah, well, let me get back to you. I ran across 30 or 40 plugs recently on the way to the dumpster. Gotta go home and start sprucing up my tackle box…

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