Posted 01-02-2005 at 13:15:30
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i'll note the passing of our old neighbor jerry graba - like his dad & uncle, he was a state legislator for years, always a farmer and never posted his fences. jerry flat did some good, was always cheerful and had a memorable story, i'll pass on the last one he told me. he claimed sometimes the most important part of fishing is to figure out who's fishing.
wellsir, (i'll change the tense here - too dam cold for tents anyway) it had been i don't know how long since i'd been fishing. the hay was down and drying, chores were done and i still had time i figured. the nice velvet spring grass along the creekbank reminded me i used to catch northerns down a ways. i knew where the poles were hanging, and i remembered seeing my tacklebox on the garage that morning, and far as authorities, out here in the country ya know ..... so it wasn't too long i was hiking along the creek, trying to spot that old hole where i'd passed so many teenaged days. it had to be right in here somewhere, that looked like the kink in the creek alright but it was all growed in, hard to tell for sure anymore. well i'll try it.
so i rigged a bug and bobber and slung it into a clear spot. i still wasn't sure this was he hole but the damp grass on the creekbank fit my backside and felt familiar. after stretching out & dozing off in the afternoon sun, i awoke to find my bait was still wiggling but nothing had bit yet, maybe there aren't any fish here anymore. well there were scattered trees here and there, fallen into ths creek, and about then a chipmunk skittered along one, and i saw he was after a lone acorn that was somehow wedged in a notch way out over the water.
i just kept still and watched him run a ways then survey everything, then run a few more steps. just as he'd got to the acorn, safely packed it in his cheek and turned to go, the water's mirror exploded and with a huge sweep of his body, an enormous fish swung his jaw sideways over the branch and the unlucky chipmunk had disappeared. i was sitting up by then, trying to shake the cobwebs from my brain and absorb what i'd just seen. what would make a fish act like that? i'd been shaken and it was getting late so maybe time to reel in & pack up. just as i was about to lift my rod, there was another tiny ripple on the pond, out by the branch, and as if in slow motion, a giant fish head rose from the water, swung slowly sideways, and with amazing dexterity, the mouth opened and he delicately laid another acorn, right where the last one had been.
that, as near as i can recall, is jerry's last story. rest his soul. :)