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We Boomer-Tumors
The Checkered Demon on Growing Bold

We slid the pirogue down the bank, slick as wet mud, into the bayou. The boy was in the front wearing his life jacket, clutching his rod with the cheapest Zebco reel. I was in the back, me and the trolling motor, zeroing in on a boil of white perch. The boy had never fished and I didn't want him sitting, watching for a cork to bob. I wanted him running a lure through a swarm; feeling the hit and reeling it in.

I had taught him the cast: let the lure drop 3 inches below the tip of the rod, and using the wrist only, bring the rod back to the shoulder and flip it forward. Watch the lure, and when it is behind the fish push the button. It will fall into the water, and you begin to retrieve the lure, sorta fast. A fish will hit or it won't. Repeat, and the tip will dip and you'll feel life on the line as it cuts left and right, diving deep and then there on the surface. He was five years old, so I had him swing the fish back to me. I'd unhook it and drop it into the bucket if good, the bayou if not. He'd do it all again, and the tale would tell again.

We landed forty-odd white perch before we were done, and we trolled on back to our wee dock, me slapping him on the back and calling him killer. We cleaned the fish ( kids love gore ) and then ate them hot with cornbread straight from the skillet.

That was in the Eighties somewhere, and it was one of the few times my Son and I fished. The life unfurled and such things became harder, thus rarer. Still, my Son remembers that day when all was right. It was time well invested, back before I'd even grasped just how such value can Spring from just another day.

We mature slowly, and then quickly. My Son, the teacher, visits in the Summer. He avails himself of the wreck-weed we Boomer-Tumors have enabled here in the Fab West. We talk some, and he walks alone as I do: looking here and there for a clue. Watching for snakes as we scan for the beauty. Like a day in the City, without the City.

We are all recipients of moments that will never be seen again in our time. Moments we can fall back into when the insects are running needles into our veins. The times when we gave a child a look. The time that is lost to all but us, and the child that got that look.

Never turn a child away, nor treat it with a shallow glance. These are the ones who will decide if you live, or are shuttled away to the lower classes to be dismembered and spread upon the rocks, to be recycled through the Buzzards and Crows. Like it's done in Tibet. We'll get there.

Interesting times. All we were ever promised. Be watchful and you'll see something. There are things of great value just below the surface encrustations. Why would you miss them?


Masculine Axis: A Meditation on Manhood and Heroism

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