by Mark Daul
Outdoors in Niagara
Bob Reese is a comical guy who I have known from back in the '80s. He always has something funny to say, such as the day he saw me in shorts and said, "Hmm, chicken legs, I think I'll have chicken tonight, you just reminded me of them."
Which reminds me of another guy that picks on my legs - Porter Councilman Jeff Baker. I laugh because I know they are both jealous. Ha!
This week I received a neat email from Bob Reese, a friend from Youngstown asking for help. He said he had a pair of 14-year-old nephews that live in Lockport and they "have found the joy in fishing." He added, "Hey, you see one, you see both!"
Reese wanted help from me on any advice in getting the boys equipped with upgraded equipment to keep their interest going. He thought I could help.
I replied, "Bob, those boys have already got it in their heads what they want and what they need, and I couldn't help in that category. They already know!"
In explaining his email, Reese said, "We are thinking of possibly new rods, reels, tackle boxes and tackle for them." He then added, "My fishing background was Hansen's in Lewiston and Mrs. Paul's frozen fish sticks." He said his wife, "Carol, was thinking along the lines of Dicks Sporting Goods or Gander Mountain on Saturday. Which means I'll have to feed her at the Texas Roadhouse or Olive Garden. Fishing's expensive!"
As for my advice to Reese it was, "I would suggest gift certificates if anything, and let them learn to manage their money and buy their necessities. And better yet, why don't you let those boys take their uncle Bob fishing? That would be a much better treat for them and I'll bet you $10 they would be elated. You can use their old equipment." (And the exercise is needed.)
I added, "My advice to you is get up off your heinie and go with them!"
A few days later he replied, "Mark thanks for the advice, but as for me going fishing with them, they'd probably gang up on me and see if I live up to the name 'Bob.' Last night (after a Texas Roadhouse dinner) Carol and I went to Gander Mountain. They are each getting a new Shakespeare rod, reel, and a small plastic tackle box with assorted 'fishing stuff.' An all-inclusive package deal. We thought the included tackle box looked kind of wimpy, so they each also will have a bigger, stronger tackle box. In the tackle box will be a gift certificate for either Gander Mountain or Dicks Sporting Goods. That should pretty well cover it, huh?
"Oh, and their favorite fishing partner, fishing competitor, and mother is getting the same."
Way to go mom!
Reese told me, "That picture was taken on the Wilson fishing dock on a Sunday this past summer. Then after pictures, the fish was returned to the water but the worm wasn't as lucky. That fishing trip was the follow-up to an hour's worth of flipping rocks and such for hapless worms. They had already collected a can of bait at home (Lockport), but forgot it in the fridge. Their mother had gone to a friend's wedding the night before, so they had spent the night with their uncle.
And "being the nice uncle that I am I called her and told her not to eat the leftover sketty in the fridge. What are uncles for?"
Hey readers, how about that Reese? What a great gesture to keep those boys busy, and Reese knows if they are occupied fishing in the outdoors, there is a slim chance of him or anyone else having to bail the boys out of jail or for some other stupid thing. (A lot cheaper too.)
If you are thinking about gifting this far ahead do what Reese did, or give gift certificates to a sporting goods store or better yet, to a local tackle dealer's store where they can only buy fishing or outdoors stuff. Not to a "mart" where they can buy "foolish" things with that gift card.
Getting things straight, we shouldn't forget Thanksgiving comes first, then comes Christmas. But some people are already talking about Christmas. In my opinion it is too early for Christmas music, Christmas shopping and advertising. That doesn't get me in the Christmas mood whatsoever. We need to recognize Thanksgiving first, and remember what that is all about.
Commercialism of Christmas has gone too far as far as I'm concerned. Of course there are some that really like the idea, to shop early and be done with it, I suppose, but after your Thanksgiving celebration there is still plenty of time for all that.
The first Thanksgiving feast was celebrated in the United States back in 1621 in Plymouth Rock, Mass., for giving thanks for having a good harvest season. President George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving celebration in America marking Nov. 28, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts of many, and signal favours of Almighty God."
It wasn't until the 1660s that the idea of holding yearly harvest festival had become an annual affair in New England.
The first feast in 1621 is subject of debate in some circles. Some argue the earliest Thanksgiving service in the U.S. was celebrated on Sept. 8, 1565 by the Spanish in what is now St. Augustine, Fla. Then in 1598 Spanish explorers claimed it when they landed in Texas, and celebrated safe landing. Like everything else these debates can go on and on, but as far as what George Washington declared, we'll stick with that.
Canada celebrated their Thanksgiving this year on Oct. 14, always the second Monday in October. The first Canadian Thanksgiving is traced back to 1578 when an English explorer gave thanks for a long and treacherous journey from England to Canada. In 1879 it was declared a national holiday. The reason for Canada's earlier celebration is the harvest season ends earlier in the north than here.
For whatever dates or reasons believed, put Christmas on the back burner for just a few more days, and be thankful for all we have on Thursday, the 28th day of November.
Before I close, here is a follow-up email pertaining to the eel story that appeared last week from Deborah Lehman: "Well, what an article. As you probably know, eel is a delicacy in the UK. Londoners love their jellied eels and you will often find them on market day walking around eating jellied eels (that they bought off the fish stall) with a wooden 'fork' out of a small cardboard container.
"Although I am not overly fond of them, they are most definitely part of my childhood memories; nan and granddad taking my cousin and I to the seaside and they, sitting their on the beach chairs enjoying their eels, winkles and cockles ...
"Thought that I'd share this with you, you bring out all the good old memories."
"So Smart" says: "You won't catch every fish you try for, but don't let that discourage you, because the best fishermen that ever lived can't do it either."
Editor's note: In the Nov. 16 Sentinel, Mark Daul's column read, "when a fisherman speared an eel that was about 6 inches long." Six inches? That eel reference should have been "6 feet long," of which the Sentinel editor was advised of numerous times by friendly locals during a visit this week to Bandanas. Sorry about that, Mark!