More Jackson County Opinions...

NOVEMBER 17, 2004


Column

By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
November 17, 2004

Good fishing good for what ails you
Love those guys! Last Monday evening I e-mailed ten characters (I don’t know what else to call them) and attached my November 10th column, “Asking the Gang’s forgiveness.” (My sin was writing about politics instead of fishing.)
Within minutes here came their responses. “Love you, Virgil.” “No problem.” “All is forgiven.” “We aren’t about to kick you out.” “We need your leadership, Virgil.” “We want you.”
Look, I don’t know what ails you. It may be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or imaginary. I don’t care what it is; get with some of your buddies and go camping and fishing for a week. You will get better.
I confess: on the eve of the 36th annual fall outing of the Clark’s Hill Gang, I wasn’t sure about that. A week before we were to gather at Elijah Clark State Park, I went to the doctor. I asked Shirley to go into the examining room with me; I wanted her to hear the bad news straight from the horse’s mouth. Excuse me, Dr. Johnson’s mouth.
Before I could get settled on the table, even before he took my blood pressure, he said, “Go fishing!”
I went back to the doctor two days before I was to leave on this year’s trip. “Go fishing,” said Dr. Johnson as he walked through the examining room door.
I thought I was sick. Dr. Johnson thought I was a psychosomatic hypochondriac with a vivid imagination. It didn’t help any that Shirley agreed with him.
I won’t go into my symptoms here; you might be reading this at the dinner table.
Keep in mind that this was before I had my flu shot, and it looked like I wouldn’t be getting one this year. So maybe I had the flu. As some of you know, your imagination gets stronger and wilder as you get weaker and older.
I’ll say this for Dr. Johnson. He is a good M.D. and a good psychiatrist. He figured his “go fishing” prescription was better than anything I could pick up at the drug store. And anyway, he had Shirley’s best interests at heart. He didn’t want me lying around the house whining all week.
“Well, we got down there.” That’s how we always begin our story when somebody asks us how the last trip went. This year was different. We got down to Elijah Clark State Park instead of Hester’s Ferry campground 15 miles upstream at the confluence of the Savannah River and Fishing Creek, site of the Honey Hole, our long-time favorite fishing spot. Instead of sleeping in tents, on the ground, on picnic tables and in the cabs of pickup trucks, we slept in real beds.
And we became spoiled brats. But that’s another story.
I did not spend a lot of time in bed. Mostly I was in the bathroom, in the boat, and on the bank. That’s why I’m calling this year’s trip my “Three B Affair.”
We had not been long assembled before the Gang realized I was not my normal self. They could see, hear and smell the evidence. (I’m sorry. I hope you have finished your dinner.)
Do you think I got any sympathy from my ol’ fishing buddies? Noooo! Do you think I got a break on chores? Noooo! Do you think they let me sit out one of the 15-minute trips to the Honey Hole? Noooo! But thank goodness, they were kind enough to take me to the bank — often.
Like me good doctor and my good wife, my good friends knew that “go fishing” is good for what ails you. Good friends just know, somehow, that tough love is better than pampering. So they didn’t cut me any slack.
On this occasion, good friends and good fishing were my salvation. I tried to follow the advice my Daddy gave me a long time ago: “Keep your hook in the water, Virgil. Keep your hook in the water.” Every time I thought I was dying, and didn’t think I could make it to the bank, I’d feel that electrifying tap, tap, tap at the end of my line. I’d set the hook and the battle was joined. It’s hard to be sick in that situation.
My fellow Gang members may or may not consider this Part II of the 2004 fall outing story. It’s been all about me and very little about them. I apologize to them — and to you. I hope they — and you — will bear with me one more week.
Part III is on the way. It will be about two guys from St. Louis, one from St. Augustine, one from Santa Rosa Beach, one from Hilton Head, one from Snelleville, three from Athens, and one from Nicholson. It will tell of their fishing escapades out of the Sled Rocket, the Fireball Ranger, the Brown Bomber, the Eagle, the Fleet Key West, the Wings of Time, and one boat whose name escapes me. (What is it, Travis?)
They cast plastic worms, spinner baits, Rattle Traps, and top water and deep running lures in the Windless Cove, the Blue Hole, the Lincoln County Drop-off, T.K.’s Flats, Weed Bowl I, Weed Bowl II, Grassy Point, Hood Ornament Point, Wooded Cove, Scoresby Hollow, Dickel Slough, Beaver Pond, and Chuck’s Channel. Especially Chuck’s Channel. And they hit a few spots yet unnamed. And they navigated 15 miles of the Savannah River in the fog so thick you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.
And two Gang members stayed close to their upgraded quarters, close to Elijah Clark State Park. And they discovered there are fish in that part of the lake, too.
What’s in the Clark Hill Gang’s future?
“As for the spring trip, I vote cottages all the way. Life in the cottages is good.”
This from the long-time regular member who, on the eve of this year’s outing, came up with 10 reasons why any location other than Hester’s Ferry at the confluence of the Savannah River and Fishing Creek would not be satisfactory.
Change, change — the constancy of change. Even old fishermen can change. Stay tuned for Part III. Next week. I promise, the Good Lord willing and if Chuck’s Channel doesn’t rise.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.

Jackson County Opinion Index

Column

By: Susan Harper
The Commerce News
November 17, 2004

Up Off The Couch, Potato!
When I was 19, I just HAD to go to Scotland to study. I arrived there with no place to live – no place to spend the first night, even. Some adventurous gal, eh? But before the sun had gone down, that first day, I was ensconced in a boarding house where I proceeded to get every bit as settled as I ever had at home. As the saying goes, I don’t just get stuck in a rut – I move in and furnish it!
So I spent the better part of a year in that glorious country without seeing some of its chief glories. I never journeyed to the Hebrides Islands, or John O’ Groats (the northernmost tip of Scotland), or Holyrood Castle. I never even went to Glascow. I did go mountain climbing in the Highlands and walked the Scottish moors. I mean, I got out and about now and then – just not enough to suit me now. I couldn’t seem to grasp that I might never pass that way again.
In California, where I lived for a quarter of a century, and where I still visit my sons at least once a year, I have yet to see the famous Getty Museum (although I’ve had several close calls). I’ve only been to Yosemite once, and that was in the dead of winter, so I haven’t see El Capitan or Half Dome or the famous Stellar jays – sights for which people make pilgrimages from all over the world — though I have gone sledding in Badger Pass, and it’s hard to find people who can say that. (I wouldn’t be able to say it either, I fear, if it hadn’t been for my mother, that intrepid traveler, who came for a visit and said she wanted to see Yosemite.)
Now I find that I’ve lived in Georgia for going on 10 years without having been to Plains, or Andersonville, or Callaway Gardens, to name just a few of the attractions I’ve missed. I passed up the Olympics, for crying out loud. (Too crowded, I thought.)
And once again I’m being rescued, this time by my friend Deanna, a history buff who visits me from San Francisco from time to time. No couch potato, she. Up off your duff, girlfriend, she seems to say, striding briskly into my furnished rut. In her company I have explored Savannah and its environs, seen the Little White House, and now – holy cow! – she’s back.
Who knows what we’ll see this time? She has Plan A and Plan B and I’m sure there’s a C somewhere. The Carter Center, the King Center, the Puppetry Arts Center; the High Museum, the Atlanta History Center – those are all on a one-day plan. (Kind of a get-up-early plan, don’t you suppose?) Plus there’s the Top of the Something-or-Other: one of those slowly spinning restaurants.
First, though, I have to go put gas in the car and get my lipstick on straight and dig out a map. Don’t look for me any time soon, okay? Now where did I put my sensible shoes?
Susan Harper is director of the Commerce Public Library.


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