When I was a kid fishing was one of my favorite things to do. Mostly I fished by myself or my Grandfather when I was younger. My Father worked long hours and we rarely had time to go out and spend time casting from the shore.
One Saturday afternoon, he asked me if I wanted to head out to the pond near our house. I can still feel that ten year old boy excitement when I think about it now. I went out and dug up some worms and we headed out.
We didn’t keep any of the fish, just catch and release, and they were biting like crazy. We quickly ran out of worms and I was devastated because I didn’t want this day to end. This was when I realized my dad was one of those people who knew how to improvise, adapt, and overcome. He could get an old engine running, fix a broken vacuum, and repair a destroyed pair of eyeglasses in the blink of an eye.
He could fix just about anything, but he couldn’t just conjure up more bait for our shortened fishing trip. We looked under rocks and leaves, tried digging some mall holes, but could only come up with a few centipedes and an assorted variety of creepy, crawly bugs. That got us through another twenty minutes or so. That’s when he took the filter from one of the Viceroy cigarettes he constantly smoked and attached it to the hook. We spent the next few hours catching fish after fish all from cigarette filters. One filter would last a few fish because it really stayed on the hook. It was an amazing day.
I learned from my dad that there is always a way. Anything can be fixed or solved with the right mindset, tools, and time. He used to tell me anything man made can be fixed, no matter how damaged it was. Health was the only thing that we only had certain control over. The fact we were using cigarettes as fishing bait was not lost on my ten year old mind when he talked about health.
Over the years he taught me the power of persistence, adaptability, and being grateful for what I had. Each of those lessons was delivered with that Viceroy cigarette dangling out of his mouth, under his Magnum PI mustache. When those need to adapt moments enter my life, I only have to remember a sunny, summer day of fishing.