Turning The Pages

By: Paige Cline

After such a cold and dreary winter, I don’t know a better time to think about springtime and what it brings. 

When we were kids we seemed to always “rush the season”as our mother would say. At the first sign of warm weather, most kids would shed their shoes and socks to run and play unfettered by the winter shoes that we had to wear. As for me, I was not that eager to take on the cold ground and the sharp rocks. But, if I got a new pair of brown tennis shoes, I would lace them up and run just to be running. The traction and light weight allowed me to run as fast as any Olympic racer. And I did. 

There were many sure signs of spring. None was more accurate than the sight of Princess Jackson carrying her favorite fishing pole through town on her way to her favorite fishing spot on the river. Prince fished most of he holes on the Guyandotte. I think her favorite would be the old Sawmill Hole a little ways down the railroad tracks below the Kentucky Side. 

You were seldom alone fishing the Sawmill Hole, so even if the fish weren’t biting, the company was still good

Bobby Dalton was another outstanding fishermen of the day. To be sure, bobby caught fish, but that was secondary to the enjoyment he got just being on the river. 

Claude Smith, owner of the Pine Ridge Service Station, was another good fisherman. Because he could afford it, he was a little more hi-tech than the rest of us. He had store-bought rods and reels and we used to marvel as he would cast from the bridge into the swift water below. We never had any use for artificial “plugs” since the only way we got our bait into the water was to twirl it around our heads and try to place it where we knew old mister redeye was hiding. 

Most people remember the first fish they ever caught. I think I remember Randy’s first better than my own. He latched on to a “hogsucker” in the creek behind Castle Rock. It was not a game fish by any means, but you needn’t try to tell him that. When he landed that fish (maybe six inches long), his fishing day was done. He grabbed it up and ran for home which, at that time, was on Main Street about where Pat’s Fashions is now situated. 

When he got home, Mom and Dad made a big deal of it and even managed to find enough to fry. As a 

fisherman, he was hooked for life. 

Even now, as I cross the new bridge, I cant help but but remember the anticipation of boys who couldn’t wait until the spring nights go mild enough for us to camp out on the banks of the river. We brought eggs, potatoes and maybe a little bacon to go with the five-cent pop and Nabs, and the dependable favorite, vyeenie weenies (Vienna sausage to the uneducated). It was ten cents a can and a loaf of bread cost a dime. 

When you get older, remembering the past seems to occupy more and more of your time. Such was the case for me and Randy when I would accompany him to seemingly endless hours of hospital stays and rehab. We passed the time while riding back and forth doing just that–remembering. 

I have known many philosophers in my time–most of the down-home variety, but very wise. Randy had to rank right up there with the best of them. He had a way of putting into words what many of us were thinking. 

On the subject of springtime and fishing, it was his firm belief that God had put chubs and hogsuckers and redeyes on this earth for the enjoyment of children. He put apple trees and warm swimming holes in that 

same category. 

How right he was. 

Life would not have been the same without those things. There certainly would have been voids. As we shivered in the cold of winter, we were warmed by the knowledge that spring always comes and everything that comes with it. Kids will now enjoy their own kind of springtime adventures and make their own memories, but I doubt that they can surpass the events of our childhood when we were watching the calendar and the thermometer and just growin’ up. 

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