The end of the fishing pier, one quarter mile in length, is my choice. That is if another fisherman hasn’t beaten me to it; such is not the case this Tuesday evening.
Parking the cart I prepare a rig, bait and throw. A warm breeze accompanies a stargazing night. Soon a copper moon will rise out of the East like a large penny creating a silent symphonic panorama. The taunt line, passing through the top eye, is a poetic sight enchanting me since seven years of age. If I catch nothing the tranquility is enough.
Several bluefish later a young man parks a few yards to my left and begins fishing. I nod to his presence and he nods back. Twenty odd minutes pass and he catches a flounder. “Nice fish” I tell him. “Thank you sir” he replies. This is the South where kids are raised to address another man as sir. Being called “sir” took some getting used too. “Can I borrow your tape”? “Absolutely” I answered, and tossed him the tape measure.
This is the year that the keeper length for flounder changed several times and settled at fifteen inches. “How long is it, “I inquired? His reply stunned me. “It’s fourteen inches, three lines and a little bit”. “I don’t mean to embarrass you but you can not read a tape measure”? “No, never learned” he answered. “Are you a high school grad” I asked. “Yes I am”. How is it possible that a high school graduate does not grasp fractions and decimals, I ask myself. Being a retired teacher causes me to wonder what on Earth is going on in our classrooms. “If your willing I can teach you now; won’t take long”. “Yes, I would” he responded.
So with a small notebook and pencil, a dried bait pier railing as a desk, class is in session. Beginning with converting fractions to decimals the young man learns quickly, putting to rest the idea that he is not capable. “Wait a minute, I think I understand, .0625 is one thirty-second, .125 is an eight of an inch and .250 a quarter inch…Hey I can read a tape”! I can’t thank you enough and I better put that fish back”.
“Where did you get your love of fishing“, I inquired. The lad replied, “From my Grandfather”. “Where is your Grandfather from”? “He’s from Manitoba”.
“Oh he’s Canadian”? He furrowed his brows and asked, “Isn’t that in North Dakota”? I thought to myself, “My job here is not complete”.
“Next time, if there is one, the subject will be geography because Manitoba is a Province in Canada”. Tossing me my tape measure he smiled and said, “I hope there will be one”.
One must remain open to learn but more importantly to teach. Rather than ridicule the ignorant, impart your knowledge to those willing to learn.