Rust never sleeps …

Learning is akin to the old adage about rust. It never sleeps.

The knowledge acquisition process sees no rest, either: it never stops, never stalls, never slows. We are perpetually in learning mode. The switch is never flipped to the ‘off’ position. Sure, you can’t ever be quite sure where all this classroom (and school of hard knocks) work will take you – but usually it’s somewhere good.

March 21, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Reid, wow, it sounds like your grad school experience is winding up in a really good way. I think both your mom and I, or at least me, wouldn’t mind attending the graduation so let us know when DePaul schedules the ceremony. Walking onstage to collect your diploma would be a fitting way to wrap up your school work. We need to be there to recognize your success – plus, we can head to one of those nice Chicago steakhouses and maybe catch the Cubs or the White Sox. All this, Ellen, just when you’re cranking up the post-graduate work in St. Paul.

My own students have kind of stepped onto a good thing. A good friend of mine in my golf group, Jack Blackham (she’s a Brit and is the one who got me following the Liverpool Reds), somehow put me in touch with a small suburban newspaper, the Mint Hill Times, that is sorely in need of writers. When I talked to the publisher, I asked if my students would be candidates for writing positions – and she was just thrilled at the prospect of hiring them as freelancers. So my guys are gearing up to submit story ideas and buff up their writing skills. It’s kind of exciting for them to have some solid prospects to earn a few bucks and get some bylines. It should, in theory, all come together sometime in the next 10 days to two weeks.

Went to an incredible series of short outdoors films last night with Kitty and Tom Bohr. The films were winners from the Banff Mountain Film Festival. There must’ve been 8 – 9 films shown, including one about four Texas A&M students who rode wild mustangs from Mexico to the Canadian border as a way to show the plight of these wild horses, some 50,000 of which are being held in government pens pending final disposition for them. It was such a good film. Heartwarming and touching. You can look it up: The full length feature can be found on Netflix, too. There appeared to be a lot of GoPro cameras used in the filming. All the films were just so good. Reid, it makes me want to take the GoPro to Wyoming this summer to produce a short film. Maybe we could collaborate on the production. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Really felt good to haul in the big reds this past week in Charleston. What they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality. Big fish. Reid, they bit on cut mullet at – where else – the barge. But first I put in at 8 a.m. sharp and, in a bit of exploration, took a right turn out of the ramp and tried to paddle up some creeks where the Charleston Outdoor Adventures staff said folks had been catching fish. But it was low tide and there didn’t appear to be any tailing fish. But I found out later – after I’d left the area, of course – that what the angler should do is anchor at the juncture where small creeks empty into the larger waters.


Where a scene like this was once just a befuddling sea of tidal water and grass, I now see opportunity. The fish are there. It becomes a matter of figuring out how to catch them. It’s more of that learning thing.

This forces or funnels the fish, which swam up into the creeks and grass to gorge themselves on small crabs and bait fish, to come back straight to the angler. So the next time (April 6 – 7) I’ll set up the ambush at those mouths with two rods with cut bait sitting on the bottom. Never really tried it that way but it makes sense. I’ve still never seen feeding fish in the grassy areas. The bonus came when, on an impulse, I took a flier to try for trout at the little side creek not 75 yards from the ramp. I impaled a mud minnow under a popping cork and let it fly. Bam-bam-bam-bam: four trout in a hurry. I kept a couple of slot fish and let the rest go. It was good to bring fish home. The downer was being eaten alive by some sort of small black insect. My uncovered wrists and forehead were just chewed to pieces. It was pure agony to clean the fish while getting gnawed on by voracious insects, hundreds of which covered patches of exposed skin.

The lettuce is up, the sun is out, and my workout this morning is done. I’ll be on the horn to both of you yet this week. And Reid, make sure to send us those graduation dates. We’re proud of you.

Love, Dad


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Filed under Writing to adult children

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