The roots for this story actually began a year ago when six men who had been fishing together for a period of time reserved a cabin in the Missouri Ozarks for this past week.
In the past few weeks one of the group, who is a cotton farmer and gin operator, indicated we should not count on him for the weekend. It seems several days of rain threw him behind the harvest schedule on his farm and at the gin.
Another intrepid trout fisherman, a physician who contracts to staff hospital emergency rooms, ran into a scheduling conflict and sent his regrets.
The remaining four cancelled the reservation in Missouri, but rented a cabin on the Little Red River near Heber Springs. Two arrived from White Hall and Pine Bluff at the cabin about 4 p.m., while the two driving from Jonesboro arrived hours later because of demands at work.
Worse than a gaggle of teenage girls, they stayed up late Friday swapping stories and a few lies. Since they were fishermen, you knew the lies would begin surfacing sooner or later.
I took my laptop computer to the cabin with hopes of finding time to complete a free-lance writing assignment. It is not the best way to spend a weekend fishing trip, but the assignment puts beans and taters on the table, as one of my companions noted.
Saturday evening I hunted and pecked away at the keyboard, while the other three occupied their time watching television and their iPhones. All three carry the communication devices and one even flaunts two – one for work and one for personal use. As I looked up from my keyboard, they seemed engrossed in the hand-held devices. One was reading a novel, another was tracking football scores and sneaking looks at a movie, while the third member of the iPhone trio was getting text updates on his grandson’s game in Memphis.
At that point I decided the three – two over 60 and one in his mid-70s – were more like teenagers than teenagers. I probably need to buy an iPhone just for appearance sake or I may not be invited on the next fishing trip.
Upon arriving home Sunday afternoon my mellow mood quickly disappeared. The left front turn indicator on my parked pickup truck was on the pavement, shattered in a dozen pieces.
Probably some kid with a ball bat took a whack at the light, I muttered, thinking I should call the principals at the middle and high school and ask them to round up the usual suspects.
I was wrong. It seems the 16-year-old who hit the truck with his motorcycle stopped, admitted he was responsible and left an insurance card.
When I went to the youth’s home later Sunday to make some basic inquiries, I was impressed to find a teen that accepted responsibility.
Our world may be in much better shape than I thought.
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Larry Fugate is a veteran journalist and former editor of The Pine Bluff Commercial. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or at (870) 329-7010.