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Milestones

Laugh Tracks in the Dust
Milo Yield
Damphewmore Acres, Kan.

Before I get into some more of the things I did for “play” as a kid from the sticks, I passed a couple of significant milestones in life since last week’s column.

The first and most significant milestone that I passed was “Milestone #3” — as in great-grandchild number three. Yup, my third great-grandkid is another grandson. That makes one great-granddaughter and two great-grandsons.

Baby Noah — who weighed an ounce less then 6 pounds and stretched to 19 1/2 inches — and his mom are doing great.

As an aside, it’s a good thing our grand-daughter has a last name other than “Yield,” or “Count” or “Score.”

That blessed birth proves that some of the best things in life happen late in life.

•••

The second milestone I passed this week weighed more than twice what little Noah weighs. It happened yesterday when I wuz fishing with my New Mexico life-long buddy, ol’ Albie Kirky, and his son, Perky Kirky, in the watershed lake of a local buddy, ol’ Fursan Finns.

The milestone is that I caught the biggest fish of my life on rod and reel. However, as with every fisherman’s big fish story, there’s a story behind my catch.

It wuz so windy out of the northwest that we didn’t go out in my boat, but fished from the west bank so we could cast with the wind. We were using artificial lures, crawdads, minnows, and worms for bait.

The fishin’ wuz slow, but we would catch a fillet-sized crappie or bass on occasion.

When we first got to the lake, I put a tiny crawdad on for bait with a new reel and new line that I’d just bought a couple of days before. The little crawdad just swam there on the end of the line for more than three hours with nary a bite. I even joked that I should give that crawdad a pet name since it had been with me so long.

Finally, when we were about ready to give up the ship and go home to get out of the wind, I shifted my “pet” crawdad to a new spot on the bank and put the rod in the rod holder on my handy adjustable-legs fishing chair. As soon as I left the seat to go get a drink out of the pickup, the wind upturned the chair into the weeds on the bank.

So, I put the chair upright and farther from the water’s edge and went for my drink. I hadn’t had time to drink when Perky yelled, “there goes your chair again.” Sure enuf, the chair wuz upturned clear into the water’s edge and the rod wuz out of its holder and I could see it laying in about 6-inches of water a few feet from shore.

So, cussing the wind, I got another rod and used the hook on the line to retrieve my new rod from the water.

But, things got interesting. When I took up the slack in the line, the drag started purring, then screeching, and I could tell I had a nice fish or a not-so-nice big snapping turtle on the line.

It wuz way out in the water when I finally got the critter turned towards the bank, and I could tell by the way it twisted and turned in the water that most likely it wuz a big catfish.

Slowly, I maneuvered the fish towards me, but every time it would get close, it would tear line off the reel and head back to deep water.

About 15 minutes later, the fish wore out — and I wuz worn out, too — and I got it close enuf to the bank that Perky got a net under it — and that’s exactly when the line broke.

When we hoisted the catfish onto my little hand-held spring scale, the needle plunked to the bottom and the number wuz 13 pounds even.

So, don’t let anyone tell you that the number 13 is unlucky becuz it wuz pure luck that I landed that catfish. I give credit to the Fishing Gods for looking down and saying “Let’s treat that 77-year-old geezer to a lucky break. He’s worked hard enuf for success.”

•••

My ol’ cattleman buddy, Lon G. Horner, called me one recent morning with a political report that has serious agricultural implications.

He said that the U.S. House of Representatives, on a straight-line party vote, passed new “dietary” legislation banning the use of big round bales for feeding roughage to livestock.

The reps voted the way they did becuz “livestock just couldn’t get a square meal out of big round bales.”

•••

One item about my childhood “play time.” When I was a kid, the farm we were renting had a new pole barn for hay and machinery storage. Well, predictably, the sparrows, starlings and pigeons immediately started nesting in the rafters of the pole barn and crapping all over the hay and machinery.

So, dad — ol’ Czar E. Yield — gave me an incentive. He put a bounty on the little pests — a penny per sparrow, a nickel per starling, and a dime per pigeon.

I earned enuf in the summer climbing in the rafters and raiding nests to keep myself supplied with penny candy.

•••

Final personal words of wisdom on the big presidential debate. There were no winners, only losers — both candidates, both political parties, the mass media, and we the people. The nation deserves better civil debates on the issues.

Have a good ‘un. ❖


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