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Want Not Waste Not

Updated on October 4, 2011

I love my father. He is a unique man. It is rare to find others like him in this day and age. As a young boy I remember my father working all the time. We lived comfortably. I felt we were average. My father is well known for being a fisherman. Not by trade does he fish but more by necessity. What do I mean by that? Well, it is a huge part of who he is. It is a part of his identity. When people see me but know me because of him, they'll always ask how he is doing and if he is catching fish. There aren't many things that can keep from him fishing. His health may be up and down but he is always fishing.

My father has taught many people how to fish. And he can be a comedian while doing it. My favorite is when he takes someone fishing who's never been. He will usually hook a fish while this new person is unaware. Then, he will ask that person to hold his fishing line. What they don't know is that there is a big fish on the other end! The looks on the faces of these new ones when it happens is priceless. They don't know what to do with the fishing line. My father begins the coaching by telling them to reel it in. That first fish for some is as though they just won the lottery. Everyone gets a good laugh and the new person gets a big fish.

My father is also known for hunting. He taught me how to use guns safely at a young age. Safety was always priority. Inspecting and cleaning the gun is a part of his safety message. He taught me to always assume the gun is loaded! He also stressed never to kill anything I won't eat. I have tried to live by his message. But my favorite things to eat come from the water. He doesn't believe in wasting things, especially food. I am not sure where he got that philosophy. As a young kid I can remember always having to eat everything on my plate. I still have trouble discarding food.

My father doesn't drink regular water; at least not by choice. He prefers drinking rainwater that he collects himself. I have rarely seen him purchase a bag of ice. He freezes jugs of water to keep things like fish on ice. What kinds of fish does he catch? Just about any fish that can be found in the marshes of South Louisiana is what you can find in his ice chest. I am not really sure how he does it but he can identify the species of fish as soon as it is hooked.

I took many fishing trips with my father as a child. Sometimes our fishing trips were on the water by boat and other times we fished at the beach off of rock jetties. Fishing from the rocks is my favorite way to fish. Just walking on the rocks is a challenge in rough windy conditions with the waves smashing all over. But when a good spot is found it is not unusual to rig a line with several hooks because you can catch multiple fish at once. The fun is in just bringing them all in at the same time.

Sometimes the ride to the fishing spots was an adventure in itself. Although my father's driving style has changed drastically, back when I was a young boy, he drove to our fishing spots like it was an emergency! But while driving down the road it was very common for him to spot things like baseball caps to the side of the highway. And when he did, he used the brakes on the truck to stop everything in its tracks. He would pull over, walk back to the cap or item, dust it off while walking back and tell us it is a good cap and throw it in the truck.

Of course, he'd pull over for other things as well. And he wouldn't leave anyone stranded on the side of the road. He would pick up ice chests, gasoline cans, and other things no one else would dare to pull over to retrieve. He taught me the saying one's trash in another's treasure. It wasn't until much later in years that I realized that he collected so much junk. He and my mother always went rounds about all the things he brought home. I now watch American Pickers on the History Channel and understand there are so many just like him.

Many of the things he picks up are unique. He freely gives these items away and never tries to sell any to my knowledge. My father has become quite the picker of these discarded items. He loves to shop at flea markets, garage sales, and thrift stores also. He recently brought home a set of encyclopedia's that were discarded. You just never really know what he will bring home but if it is someone's trash he may just end of treasuring it.


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