Drew’s not really a kid these days but 20 years ago he was, and so was I. We met at a small Christian school where Drew, as I remember, was mostly into computers – the high speed Commodores of the day and their incomparable role-playing and first-person shooter type games like Wolfenstein and the timeless Oregon Trail. Drew was responsible for the deaths of quite a few Nazis as well as that of little Sally who fell victim to the Rubella, more than once.
I’m not going to make the claim that I reformed Drew’s whole existence (he was a pretty good kid to begin with) but I did invite him out fishing with me and Nathan. We rode bikes to places with water, splashed in bobbers, and laughed out loud at each other’s little quirks, the way teenagers do. Drew endured my lectures on irrelevant bits of fish science as we lowered worms to tempt the stoutest of creek chubs. I was pretty hot stuff, as I remember it, because my after school job was at a fish lab with real fish scientists.
But whatever I may have done with my dictatorial way of fish instruction, something in the sport, and the whole outdoors caught fire in young Andrew and he was hooked for life. He owned shotguns by the time I left Cortland, a tackle box about as well stocked as mine, and at least a few rods. And, as I understand it, he didn’t give it all up and go back to indoorsmanship after my departure. He continued to learn and explore, almost as though once he’d had a taste, there was no forgetting the outdoors and wild things.
We’ve all heard the adage, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” Drew’s eating well these days, as a landowner of a wooded plot in New York State, owner of much outdoor gadgetry and possessor of an enviable outdoors knowledge. He claims too that life has been enriched just by contact with less civilized places, wilder creatures and aquatic denizens.
After 20 years or so apart, Drew and I just spent a long weekend together at Presque Isle Bay on Lake Erie with our significant others. And I thought I saw that same creek-chub- greed glint in his eye once again the first time the rod bent.
Thanks for looking me up Drew and not letting a very old friendship lapse!