My view after seven decades

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Last week’s column was a pleasure to write. It provided me the chance to look back at my life to this point. However, after holding the paper and reading the column in print, well…it was OK and all, but, well…it sounded as if it was my obituary.

This is just fine, as everyone would be well served if they were to write their own obituary. The following appeared on a Vietnam Veteran Facebook page recently:

“Well I, Richard ‘Dick’ Terrell Fortenberry, finally died at age 79, but not before God gave me a wonderful and exciting life.”

I didn’t know Richard, but the way he began his own obituary is a winner. The rest of his story was interesting, fascinating and captivating. Yes, we all should consider writing our own obituary, which is, after all, our life story.

But last week’s column wasn’t enough. There are more thoughts rolling around in my head begging to be seen and heard. Allow me to muddle around with my thoughts for another column.

“You get a line, I’ll get a pole, honey,

“You get a line and I’ll get a pole, babe…”

A couple of weeks ago there was a rod on each side of my rented row boat with lines in the water at Conconully Reservoir. Fish and Wildlife says this practice is within the law, if the angler has a two-pole endorsement. And this is my rub.

A fishing pole is a long piece of cane or bamboo with fishing line tied at the tip. These tools are long, perhaps 9- to 12-foot long. There is no real casting with a pole. Just lifting the pole tip up causes the line, with the hook and bait attached, to travel away from the angler and, therefore, out into the water.

A fishing rod has a set of eyes and a place to attach a reel. Fishing line is wrapped around the reel. There may be 200 to 300 yards of line on the reel.

This allows the angler to cast or throw a lure, or other bait, many yards into the lake or stream. There is a great difference between a pole and a rod, so it grates me greatly to have two-pole endorsement on my license instead of a two-rod endorsement.


My heart still beats fast when spotting a deer or elk. The excitement is immense and it shouldn’t be any other way.

The same is true when in a blind and the sound of wind over goose wings whoosh overhead.

Fishing: Back to Conconully

Look for a humor story about this trip in the near future, but here’s a hint of what happened. Fished for five days, four hours a day and limited on two days. Caught fish on the other days, but not as many. Had a ball, feeling the tug of the rainbow and kokanee.

Cooking and special techniques

Learning new ways to cook the wild game, birds and fish has been a fun adventure. Passing along the lessons learned is also rewarding.

An example is the time at Conconully. Several anglers stopped by to see the fish and watch as they were deboned, while taking care of them at the cleaning station.

All of the trout caught were deboned, as described in last year’s Summer Hook & Bullet. Passing along this technique was satisfying. Some anglers were actually going back to their campsites and bringing their friends to watch.

Words: The word “that”

The word “that” is not needed in my stories. After reading an educational piece about trying to eliminate the word, the author struck home. Stories and columns are improved when the word “that” is not used.

Example: The test that Sam took was so difficult that he began to sweat. Much better: The test Sam took was so difficult he began to sweat.

The word will stay out of my writings as much as possible. You can count on that…yes, this was on purpose.

The word gambol or gamboling

This is one of my favorite words. It means to run or jump about playfully. When lambs run around the corral and jump on hay bales they are gamboling.

Years passed before seeing the word in print and meaning humans were gamboling. Yet, there it was, in the middle of a well-known book, where the author wrote, “The boys were gamboling in the front yard.”

This may appear as a small point, but it is important to me.

Makes me proud

A young woman approached me during an event on Tuesday evening with 220 people attending.

“You talked to my class when I was in the Third Grade,” she said. “Your message was to follow your dreams, so I did.”

Arissa Paul has finished her bachelor’s degree and is pursuing her master’s in the social services field.

A 70-year-old would hope to have provided a positive influence on at least one person during their lifetime. Well Arissa, you have provided a bright spot in my life. You would make a person of any age proud and I’m thrilled to have been a small part of yours.

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