More Jackson County Opinions...

MAY 5, 2004


By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
May 5, 2004

This time, Tom will show me
You just thought I was through with the Adams boys.
I’ve done George Thomas Sr. (George), George Thomas Jr. (G.T.) and George Thomas III (Tommy). And Tommy did me.
Now it’s George Thomas IV’s time. He’s the one we call Tom.
Tom will be it — for a while. There’s George Thomas V (Thomas), but he’s only two years old and doesn’t have enough fishing expeditions under his belt to warrant a full-blown column. I hope I live long enough to write it when his time comes.
He is practicing — getting ready already. His granddaddy told me the other day that the little fellow picked up his plastic toy pole and hook, walked over to the aquarium, removed the top, and dropped the hook in. That sounds like a fish story to me. The Adams boys have been known to tell a few. But Tommy swears that one is the truth.
But this is about Tom, Tommy’s son, Thomas’ daddy, and my great nephew.
When I started this series on January 28, I asked, “Does this remind you of the time you visited relatives or friends and they pulled out umpteen slides, a zillion photographs and an hour-long video and bored you to tears with every minute detail about last summer’s vacation to Daytona?”
I added that readers, as opposed to polite visitors, have the last word. They can always get up and leave. You can, but I hope you won’t.
Anyway, Tom is a chip off the old block, and he just may be a better chip than the block from which he sprang. (No offense, Tommy.)
That’s especially true when it comes to fishing. In exactly ten days (the Good Lord willing) he will join me and other members of the Clark’s Hill Gang at the confluence of Fishing Creek and the Savannah River. This will be our 36th annual spring outing. (Tom wasn’t even born when we first met). If last year was any indication, he’ll put us old timers to shame again. He won just about every most and biggest contest in 2003.
I admit, he’s a better fisherman than I ever was, and in a little while I am going to take some of the credit for that.
But I am not the only reason he is better. He has a better boat: a 20-foot long Ranger powered by a 200 horsepower engine that tops 70 miles per hour. I won’t get in the thing unless he promises to slow it down to 65.
That ship (OK, it’s a boat) is equipped with a fish detection device that does everything but call ‘em up. It shows the fish’s image on a TV-like screen while at the same time telling you the depth and temperature of the water.
There’s a GPS (I think that stands for Global Positioning System) that keeps Tom from getting lost on the huge reservoir and enables him to maneuver in the fog and the dark of night.
And he has better fishing gear. His high tech reels virtually eliminate backlashes (a.k.a. bird’s nests and professional overruns). His lines are smaller, stronger and almost invisible. He uses irresistible lures with hooks so sharp that if a fish even sniffs at ‘em, it’s caught. His rods are so sensitive that if a fish even burps on the bait, Tom’s tingling fingers tell him to set the hook.
Then there is this matter of intelligence. I depended on what my daddy taught me and what I picked up from my brother. Tom reads slick how-to magazines, and he can get on the Internet and find out water levels, clarity, weather conditions, what fish are biting and what they are hitting on any creek, puddle, pond, lake, reservoir or ocean anywhere in the world.
Change, change — the constancy of change.
Lest you think my great nephew is some rich guy with nothing to do but fish, let me set the record straight. He works harder than he fishes. He grabs breakfast at a fast food restaurant, eats on the run, and begins his daily rounds of five Colormaster, Inc. automotive paint stores in the St. Louis, Mo., area and one in Illinois.
Twelve to 14 hours later he arrives back at home, and if he isn’t too tired, he and Lynn will grill or fix something for dinner. Otherwise, they, Jordan, age three, and Thomas, two, will go out or have something delivered. Then it’s early to bed. (That Ranger boat doesn’t get used nearly as much as it ought to.)
I asked Tom how he got into the car paint business, and he said he didn’t. “It got into me.”
While attending a community college in St. Louis, he was a part-time delivery driver for Colormaster, making the minimum wage.
College, like high school, middle school, elementary school and kindergarten, interfered with Tom’s plans for the future. “I didn’t want to be there (in school); did just enough to get by.”
So he started to work for Colormaster full time in 1992. The company consisted of one store and four employees. Now there are five stores and 27 employees, and Tom is general manager of the company. Apparently he got a pretty good education in spite of himself.
I’m glad he can take off in ten days, get some well-deserved rest, and do a little fishing. And I’m glad he will slow that sled rocket down and let me go with him.
I’m sure we’ll talk about the times he, Heath Byrd (my grandson), and I used to camp and fish at the Hill. The first time was in 1983. Tom was 11. Heath was 7.
Looking back, I can’t believe their mamas and daddies trusted me with their kids for a whole week. I mean, we were roughing it, surviving violent thunderstorms, trying to sleep in a leaky tent, and doing battle with bugs, mosquitoes, snakes and 100-degree temperatures. One year it got up to 103. But for four years in a row, these escapades were an important part of our summer vacations.
I wish Heath could be with us this year, but he is busy trying to save the world. He is 28 now, and is an environmental economist with ENTRIX, Inc. in New Castle, Delaware.
Those boys and I didn’t just camp. We did a lot of fishing. I don’t think they caught their first fish on one of those trips, but the four-pound bass Tom hooked in 1985 was the biggest largemouth he ever landed. I’m betting he’ll top that this year.
Back in those early days I was the man. There were the boys. I was their guide and mentor. I showed ‘em where and how to fish.
This time ‘round, Tom will show me. He’s the man now, and this old timer is in his second childhood.
Change, change — the constancy of change.

Virgil Adams is former editor and owner of The Jackson Herald.

Jackson County Opinion Index


By: Oscar Weinmeister
The Commerce News
May 5, 2004

The Master Of All He Possesses
Our for-all-practical-purposes-3-year-old Jack caught his first fish this weekend. In fact, if I heard correctly, he caught two, which puts him one ahead of me for the season, so far. I can handle that, though I’m sorry I missed the event. He had gone to Gran’s for the night so that we could entertain guests at our house with minimal toddler-oriented interference.
Jack caught those fish with some help, I understand, but the feat did apparently make quite an impression on him. When I spoke with him on the phone the morning after, he said, “Daddy, I caught two fish! Bye,” and he promptly gave the phone back to his grandmother. You might think that this brief rendition of his afternoon’s activity doesn’t signify much, but he usually says, “Hi Daddy. You want to talk to my mom?”
Besides ensuring that Jack was able to experience angling first hand, Gran performed her Grandmotherly duties according to the job description, buying him several toys. He now has a butterfly net, a Scooby Doo magnifying glass that for some reason also has wheels, and a miniature version of a PT Cruiser, which he refers to simply as “my car.” Safely ensconced in his own bed last night, he slept with all of these newly-bestowed items.
In fact, at any given time in the last month or so, Jack is likely to be seen carrying no fewer than three items. In the morning hours, his payload will typically include his plastic T-rex, his teddy bear Tellie, and his increasingly tattered blankie.
After breakfast and as the day warms up, he moves on to less comfortable, more outdoorsy items, like a sword-worthy stick, his bubble-making sword, or his plastic golf clubs that he has torn apart and uses as swords.
In the afternoons before naptime, he is a little more domesticated, toting pillows and blankets around to make forts or caves, but in the evenings, he reverts to weapons-mode, pow-powing invisible monsters in the bushes outside with something like his new butterfly net-slash-semi-automatic rifle. We have very clear rules about pow-powing in and around our house, but as 3 year olds will do, he is constantly exploring the boundaries of those rules.
There is something going on here that is indicative of more than the emergence of tool utilization. As his younger brother Turner, on the verge of crawling, starts playing with Jack’s old toys and reaching out to grab his newer ones, we’ve seen an almost desperate grab to maintain possession of what he’s got. Jack even imagines that our dog, Tsali, wants to play with his toys or eat them.
I don’t think we’ll see Jack overstuffing his backpack with toys for too long, because eventually, when Turner gets around to crawling, walking, and then running, Jack will realize that he stands to gain more from Turner’s interest in toys than he’ll ever lose.

Oscar Weinmeister is the assistant administrator of BJC Medical Center. He lives in Commerce.
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