Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Product Of My Environment

I have heard a lot of people say how much they dislike the town I live in.  Most of these people are ones who have briefly lived somewhere else and feel that the grass is a lot greener everywhere but here.  I hear people make comments putting down the "hicks", "red-necks", and "uneducated hillbillies".  I am quite protective of my small town and kindly listen to these people tell me about how they know sooooo much and how they are sooooo much better than everyone else in this small town and how they cannot wait to get out of here.  I try to fight back my emotions and talk to them about how they may be right and that they may like it a lot more if they lived somewhere else than here.  Then I make sure to tell them why I love it here and why I choose to live in such a great place.  The following is just one of the small reasons I choose to live where I live with my family.

When I was growing up, my family and I were active members in our church and quite social in our neighborhood.  There was a man who lived about 4 blocks away from my family who had quite a bit of free time which he filled up by fishing around in the near by lakes and reservoirs.  He knew my family quite well and knew that my dad took my brothers and I fishing as often as he could.  At this time I was around 13  or 14 and to young to get a job so he asked my mom and dad if I could be his fishing partner every Thursday during the summer while I was out of school.  When my dad asked me if I wanted to go fishing with Fred (our neighbor) every Thursday I was a bit confused about why this guy wanted to take some young kid fishing, but because I loved to fish I told him I would do it.

Over the course of that summer, I spent quite a bit of time with my friends playing around being a kid but what I remember most was that every Thursday, bright and early in the morning, Fred would be pulling up in front of my parents house with his boat expecting me to go fishing.  Fred took me from Henry's Lake to Ririe Reservoir and every where in-between, fishing for anything we could catch.  To be honest, I can't remember much about what we talked about or how great the fishing was but I can remember how important I felt every Thursday when Fred pulled up with his boat.

Fred was not taking me fishing because I didn't have a dad to get me outdoors.  Fred was taking me fishing because he wanted to, not to treat me as a project, not to get me away some bad influences, not to try and talk to me about planning my future, but he took me fishing just to have a friend to fish with.  To this day I still haven't thanked Fred for taking me fishing, and I doubt he even knows how much it meant to me to feel wanted/appreciated by some random guy down the street.

I'm not saying that if I hadn't had a good neighbor who took me fishing as a kid I may have turned out to be some thug criminal but I am saying that the influences I had as a young kid have impacted me and helped make me the guy I am today.  I hope that I can be some kid's "Fred" to help them feel important and wanted in a world which makes them feel insignificant and overlooked.  I hope that I can share the outdoors with a kid, who like me, has a great father but could benefit by a few fishing trips with their neighbor.  I think it is important to live in a community and neighborhood where you can trust your neighbors and to be involved in their lives for the good.  My town has some great people in it and no matter who has something negative to say about it I will be one of the first ones to stand up and let them know that they are welcome to put up a for sale sign and walk away.

I know my home town isn't the only place where good neighbors exist or where wonderful people live.  Share a brief comment about why you love your small town, or about your favorite fishing partner to express gratitude for how it has affected you.