Saturday, March 27, 2010

Murphy was right

It's been a long seven months since my surgery.

Last Monday was the day of release without any restrictions. Back to full duty at work and play.

Dr. Shoulder Fixer Upper did a fantastic job doing what it is that he does so easily and using those big words while describing the procedure makes it even more profound. Especially since it was MY shoulder and MY bicep tendon that was being re-attached.

Then somewhere along the line, I met up with Murphy.

Everyone has met Murphy at least once or twice in their lives. Some possibly more than others. For me, it's been a lifelong relationship. We are old friends.

Changing gears. Aluminum. The lightweight alloy that touches every one's life in some form. Be it aluminum foil, aluminum cans with adult beverages, aircraft aluminum for the planes we fly in, or even aluminum conduit from the electrical industry from which I consider myself to be reasonably knowledgeable of.

The biggest and simplest trick with working with aluminum products that make contact with other aluminum pieces is simply... lubrication.

You learn this real quick when you run aluminum conduit in the electrical trade.

The ten foot lengths of conduit screw together to make a raceway for wiring which runs from the power source to the field device (night light) so you can turn it on when you're scared at night because your spousal unit is at the lake fishing for the weekend.

Are you following me here? Even the smallest devices made from aluminum need to be kept oiled up while in storage to eliminate end of service of such devices from the galling effect.

Case in point: spare boat plug

Greatest invention known to mankind: WD-40 spray lubricant.

And from what I have learned about WD-40...there were 39 attempts at the right combination and the 40th one worked best....thus the name. Cannot tell you what he WD stands for though.

Now mind you after a long lay off from any fishing, all your gear needs some type of attention. Re-spool your reels with fresh line, charge the boat batteries, run the big outboard with water hose attached in the drive-way (so you don't over heat the big motor) to see if it will even crank, gather all the new lures you got for Christmas, buy your license, check the weather a week ahead of desired day of choice, take vacation if necessary to coincide with the son's spring break, and promise the wife you want let the boy fall out of the boat while running at break neck speeds across the lake to your favorite spot while the sun is just beginning to make a crack at becoming a picture perfect day of a fishing sunrise of a dawn.

We saw the beginning of the sunrise from the parking lot of the boat launch.

The morning couldn't have started any better. Left on time, traffic was minimal, and unknowingly, we picked up an extra passenger when we stopped to get ice.

Say hello to Murphy. He rode along real quiet like with us to Caney Creek Park last Wednesday morning. Never knew he was there until the pre-launch check list was pressed into service.

Case in point: boat plug was found to be 'faulty'...leave it at that. Go to little storage box where the 'spare' is kept. Attempt to install in boat. Note to reader and refer to word.....attempt.

Spare boat plug is/was a model that is manufactured from aluminum. No lubrication and just sitting it the storage box allowed the surfaces to become 'one' with each other.

I am now holding 2 boat plugs that are worthless. Not 30 yards from the water. Almost two hours of driving, after 7 months of anticipation, and no boat plug.

Head to nearest town....

Thinking to myself on the much are you willing to pay for another boat plug. The amount of $20 came and went without a lot of discussion. Amazingly enough, the first store we came to in little Zavalla, Texas had two or three plugs on the shelf...and for less than $4 bucks, we were headed back to Caney Creek Park on Sam Rayburn.


Picture this, boat on trailer, trailer on boat ramp, surrounded by water, and I do not hear any sound of the big outboard running. Get out and ask my son what the heck is going on?

In his attempt to start the outboard, the 'kill' switch had been activated and the motor will not run under any circumstances with this switch in the OFF position. What it will allow you to do is run the battery down and flood the motor with fuel...creating a lot of smoke upon final internal combustion.

Had to jump start the outboard motor battery from the trolling motor battery to get the outboard cranked to get the boat off of the trailer.

Did I mention that I ripped my jeans while stepping from the truck tailgate to the boat...? Murphy!

Remember the sunrise on a picture perfect morning reference earlier...? Not sure what the sunrise actually looked like, since it came up while we were driving to town for a new boat plug.

Instead of the break neck speeds across the lake, we idled to allow the big motor battery to charge a bit, which incidentally didn't give us an ounce of trouble the rest of the day.

Hey Murphy, where's your life jacket?

Somewhere around noon thirty, the trolling motor battery gave it up. High speed on the trolling motor was like low speed. The two real life occupants of the boat made a corporate decision to leave and head back home. Murphy didn't get a vote.

No fish in the boat. Not one stinking battle. No lost lures, only Russ got a couple of 'swirls' at his top water offering.

2010 Status: Fish - 1 / Team Chambers - 0

Murphy was sitting back there on the motor cowling just a laughing away at us. You remember Murphy now right? He's the one most noted as the law of the least in my world.

I now have a new compliment of boat batteries. Sorry Russ, looks like your college fund will take the hit for these and the next time we are at Academy, we will most likely pick up a couple more boat plugs and some WD-40 in the small handy dandy storage box size.

Murphy's Law. If it can go wrong, it probably will.

Murphy was right.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Because I Said So

NO! Not today.

Remember hearing that answer from your mom or dad when you were a kid?

The answer could have resulted from a quickly mounted onslaught of reasons as to why you couldn't live without the new yo-yo, the latest style of sneakers, the new release of your favorite song on 45 rpm record single, or that fixed blade hunting knife on display at the hardware store. But no matter the excuse you presented as to the need for the item which was just a waste of hard earned money in your parents eyes, the answer remained a resounding no.

NO. Not today. Well, when then?

These moments in our upbringing could be considered as character building blocks. Couldn't tell me then, that I would learn from the situation and grow to a better understanding of not getting something on a whim.

This is the general idea and feeling I get when I hear about the special interest groups wanting to ban my recreational fishing.

No. Not today.

Who are you to take away a freedom that every American can enjoy today, simply because you and a few friends think it is hurting the fish when you hook one. There are lots of causes in the world other than the one you choose to attack, assaulting me and millions of other American citizens, who love the fact that we can go fishing whenever we want to.

So you ask...just how bad can it be? You're not a weekend angler you say. Let's look at it this way. Someone out of nowhere decides to try and ban your interest for no better reason other than it just doesn't make sense to them.

Favorite hobbies will now demand purchasing a state license. Sports will require monthly dues being paid to a national organization linked to the environment.

Making quilts, collecting salt & pepper shakers, stamps, rare coins, glass insulators from electrical power lines, or sewing thimbles to name a few will be outlawed.

Reasons...quilts require goose down. Geese are protected now. The other items could be suspect for containing lead.

Do you watch NASCAR racing, baseball, soccer, golf, football. In order to watch these on the weekends or Monday nights, you must go to the local outlet and purchase a one time use special chip to allow the signal to pass thru to your television or satellite.

We have freedoms people. Our veterans have fought for the very freedom of speech I enjoy while you read this. Freedoms many citizens of this world do not even get to experience. To walk across their cities and towns without the fear of car bombs. To cross state lines without check points and to return to our homes at night.

The special interest groups are out there, walking to and fro among us, looking for the next objective, and their next choice just might affect you and your interests. You will have to make a stand for yourself and your friends and tell them...

No. Not today.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stop the Nonsense

It has come to my attention that some basic freedoms that not only I, but many of you also have...are under attack.

Your God given rights are being threatened.

God given that is, providing that you believe as I do, that the Holy Bible is the sacred Word of God and is to be used as our instruction book for life. And most of my family and friends are members of that congregation...Bible believers.

There is a movement taking place in this great nation that just absolutely astounds me and the fact that people will use their position to further the beliefs of a few, no matter how slanted it may seem or how many it will effect.

I know, you're thinking what is this old country boy rambling on about now. Let's cut to the chase okay?

Animal rights activists.

Not you few tree huggers out there, just the animal rights activists.

Let me clarify that I do not condone animal cruelty. No way, no how, that is just wrong. As a matter of fact, one of our dogs came from the local Humane Society Shelter and I appreciate what job those folks do to in assisting in the care and protection for dogs, cats, horses, and any other domesticated animal we humans decide to try and care for.

However, when it gets to the point that a group of celebrities, tells me that my recreational angling is causing pain and suffering to the fish I manage to catch, is wrong and should be banned; I have to draw the line.

Stop the nonsense. Your ideas give me a head ache...not to mention a few other aches in some well defined areas.

Are you listening to what you are saying? Do you fully understand the effect a 'ban' like this would have on our economy, not to mention the number of jobs alone that are supported by the fishing industry?

Believe it or not, our right to fish was granted to mankind way back. Way, way back. Well before either one of us had the opportunity to participate...and it's documented as well.

As a matter of fact, He had it recorded by Moses in the first chapter of His've heard of His book haven't you...the Holy Bible..and just in case you don't have one handy, here are a couple of the verses I refer to:

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Now these verses are from the New American Standard version. My research shows a different wording He used in the original King James Version...and it is as follows:

Genesis 1:26 And God said , Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful , and multiply , and replenish the earth, and subdue it : and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Isn't it obvious that our Creator has it all under control? Who are we to question His authority and His decision to allow ourselves the right to provide for our family with the food He has provided for us from day 'SIX' of His creation.

See, I told you this went way, way back. Day 'SIX' mind you. So stop the nonsense and let's just get along okay? Besides, when was the last time you visited one of your anti-fishing web pages? Did you realize the google ads on there were all slanted towards fishing?

Yes, you read correctly. Go ahead and go to Peta or google up anti fishing, click on their websites and have a laugh. Those little google ads that pop up along the site content or along the borders, will take you to fishing charter businesses, lake fishing lodges, or something along the line that SUPPORTS the fishing industry

As for me, I will support the likes of recreational angling by going to the lake and spending my money on gas, lures, licenses, food, fish cleaning supplies, sun screen, freezer bags, and ice. Oh and I plan on teaching all of this to my son and each and every grand kid too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Met my Dad through a friend...

While sitting and reading my backlog of emails, I experienced a sort of epiphany. No, it wasn't of the spiritual type, more like something that makes you say, "ah-ha".

Can't really explain why the subject entered into my mind and thought process, but it did and I figured I would capture it on paper before I got busy and lost it among the sloughed off brain cells lying scattered all around the floor of my cranium.

Just one of those times when you remember something without trying or being prompted to fire up a search engine to search the stored memory sticks of your past.

Strange to say the least.

But there I was and suddenly I realized that there was a person, a co-worker actually from in my immediate circle of friends that reminded me of my dad. This particular friend I can claim as a GFFN...(good friend for now) until he probably sees this and realizes that he reminds me of my dad...but he honestly has a lot of the personality traits that parallel my father's.

Having not 'known' my dad as a friend, simply because I was always busy doing kid's stuff and staying out of sight, out of mind, and he was doing what dads do. Providing clothing, shelter, food, guidance, and a pretty fair meat cutter when it came time to cut up what ever it was that was on my plate that needed to be a smaller bite size for me.

My father was a kind and generous man almost to a fault. One of the strongest Christian men I was blessed to have watching over me. He taught the knuckle headed teenagers at our little Baptist church in the south end of Beaumont for years. Emmanuel Baptist Church on Terrell Street, just off of South 6Th Street, if memory serves me correct.

It was here at EBC that I made my decision when I was about 8 years old, to accept Christ as my Savior and began the journey as a child of God and the ever watchful eye of my dad.

Dad worked several different jobs to keep all the things a family needed coming in. A few of the jobs I remember him working as were a butcher, cookie route salesman, gas station owner, newspaper delivery (entire area in and around Woodville, Texas), not to mention with him being the oldest of his siblings, he began driving a truck for his dad, the Old Man Himself at Roy's Trucking Company in Alvin, Texas.

One of my older brothers went as far as to define Dad as meek. Not timid, just a non-confrontational individual that took care of his business the best way he knew how. With the skills that God had given him to handle the challenges of life that he faced, day in and day out.

Dad was loyal, compassionate, and a friend to all. Unless you messed up and crossed him at some time or another, then he would maneuver around you, avoiding having to deal with you and your spiteful ways.

These are some of the same traits that my friend at work has as well. He is loyal, one of the most compassionate men I have ever met, and a good friend to all. He often ends up being the butt of a joke, only to have a good laugh at himself, along with all the others that may have been in on it from the beginning. He has had his share of knocks and punches that life throws at us, with more landing solidly, like on an opponent of the great Sugar Ray Leonard, the boxer. Any yet, he maintains an even keel so to speak and his ship is usually upright.

Reckon it's true about nice guys finishing last, but isn't 'finishing', a big part of the race of life as we know it? Having to make decisions with nothing but the current information in front of you and with your personal gut feelings you have grown to trust.

Isn't remembering the fact that an individual was in the race at all, something to revel in and celebrate when you recall the adventure? Now don't go thinking the race is over. It is far from being over. This leg of the relay race is currently rounding turn number 3 and heading towards the finish line. There are lots more races to be run, and my GFFN will be in the race of his choice, shoulder to shoulder with his buddies, awaiting the sound of the starter's pistol.

I suppose what I am trying to get across here is this.

I just realized that this good friend of mine portrays the same traits and personality of my dad. A side of my dad that I never got to know while growing up or at least took time to notice and recognized as a friend.

Dad's can be friends too, right?

In fact, if my dad was anything like my friend is, and you have opted not to claim him as a friend, you're totally missing out. And to think that God allowed me to have a chance at recognizing both of their friendly characters.

Personally, I thank God for friends like him every day and the blessings they bring into my stumbles on and along life's speed bumps and S-turns.