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August 15, 2001
What I did on my summer break
By Tim Thomas
The Jackson Herald
August 15, 2001
A deep, cleansing breath
It's almost that time. The fall sports season is about to get cranked up, and when it does, the sports desk will be in an uproar until at least mid-May.
As I pondered the upcoming frenzy last week, I realized that a long, deep cleansing breath was in order just before the storm hits.
A quick scan of the horizon revealed that Jackson County would be playing football in Cleveland Friday evening. Cleveland. Not far from some pretty good trout waters. The plan began to take shape.
You know that saying about the best-laid plans? Well, this one fell through, too. But as is usually the case, things were not all that bad.
A Thursday evening phone call from a great friend set things in motion. Trout fishing? Saturday? Why, most assuredly I'd be interested. But, of course, it couldn't work out. It couldn't be that easy.
And it wasn't, but it worked out anyway.
Friday's trip to White County already held promise; it would be the first chance to see some competitive (though only partially, since no score would be kept), hard-hitting football action. That in itself was something to look forward to.
The scrimmage lived up to expectations; it was great to finally see some up-close football again.
Then, as I moved around the field and admired the somewhat new White County facility, a break in the tree line allowed big, bald Yonah Mountain to shine through. Football in the shadow of the mountain. What a sight.
Yeah, it's hokey, but it was a big moment to me, and very relaxing.
And then Saturday came. A quick pre-dawn scramble in the dark trying to find this or that, a quick stop for a biscuit, another quick stop at Wal-Mart for line and a few other things. With all the quick stops, the sun was beginning to rise, and we were still only a few feet out of Jackson County. All this running around wasn't very relaxing.
After finally reaching Rabun County and traveling through most of it, we took to the water. The phrase "we won't need any bug repellent" I'd uttered a few hours earlier came back to haunt me when we stepped in the middle of a mosquito hatch and were immediately covered. Again, not very relaxing.
We fished our way out of the mosquitos, and before long had our first trout on. It was a beautiful wild rainbow, about 14 inches. As we worked our way up my favorite stream, I could almost feel my pulse slowing, my shoulders loosening and my brow unwrinkling.
By the time we reached my favorite hole, the one where a small, shimmering waterfall gently drifts its way down a hundred-foot rock face, I was so relaxed I could melt. Seven more rainbows about the size of the first followed, along with a nice 15-inch brown with huge orange and blue spots on its sides and black spots scattered over its back.
The trip home was just as enjoyable, as we discussed deep theological issues (that sounds sarcastic, but it's actually the truth) and learned how to be friends again. Funny how quickly even the best friendships can grow stale, and how just as quickly they can be revived.
As we arrived home and I expected the breath of fresh air to slowly dissipate as we settled back into everyday life, there was my 8-year-old holding up a monster catfish and flashing a big, snaggle-toothed grin. The kid I'd left at home had one-upped his old man again. And it was quite a treat for both of us.
Bring on the fall sports; I'm ready now.
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald. He may be reached at (706) 367-2348, or via email at SpeckCh@aol.com.
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