Bobby Peoples

I wrote an article a few years ago about a small fishing cork that, for several years, has adorned my computer desk. When I wrote that article, I realized I had misplaced that little cork during a move to our new home. I finally found that little cork and those memories from the past once again flooded my thoughts.  

Over the last couple of years, I have had the opportunity to fish with some of my 15 grandchildren and finding that little cork could not have come at a better time. You see that little cork came into my life by way of my grandfather many years ago.

That little faded green and yellow wooden fishing cork once belonged to my grandfather, and after finding that cork it now adorns my computer desk again. You may want to ask, why was I be so concerned about a little cork that cost less than a nickel? It is because of all the wonderful memories that little cork brings back to me.

I hope that someday when I have departed this life that my grandchildren will have fond memories of me, especially those involving fishing with me. That little green and yellow cork that belonged to my grandfather is one of only a few physical reminders that I have of him other than photos in a picture album. 

When he died, that little cork was one of his two earthly possessions that I wanted. The other was an old corn sheller that had been in his barn for many years. As a young boy, I used that sheller to shell corn to either feed the chickens or ride with him to take the corn to the local mill in a mule-drawn wagon. 

I feel certain that if I had not been at his home shortly after he died, that the little cork and the corn sheller would likely have ended up in the trash pile with so many other memories. Things like his records from his days of running a cotton farm had already been taken to the local trash dump before I arrived.  

I spent many days picking cotton on his farm and I bet there were cotton weigh records that showed my name and the meager amounts of cotton that I had picked as a 5-year-old boy. I wish I had been able to recover those records. I guess no one saw the memory value of stuff like that at the time.  

I have one specific memory of my grandfather that relates to the outdoors and it is not a story about some great outdoors adventure like the harvesting of a big deer or the catching of a big fish. It was just a small story about my involvement with him and the things he did that I remember. The main thing, I was there to share them with him.

That memory of my grandfather involved that little cork. My grandfather owned one of the first man-made fish ponds in that part of south Alabama where I grew up and he wasn’t even a dedicated angler. I never remember him fishing for the big bass that inhabited his pond. However, I did catch a bass in his pond one day that began my pursuit of largemouth bass over the years. 

His idea of fishing was sitting out in his small homemade boat with a cane pole and a Prince Albert tobacco can full of red worms trying to catch bream. His angling for bream was made complete by that little green and yellow cork dangling from his line. That was the only type of cork he would use.

I can remember a couple of occasions when he took me along to fish for bream. We would walk from his house about a half-mile across the field in front of his house to the pond and he only carried two fishing poles, the can of red wigglers and a lard can into which he put the fish we caught. My grandfather was a man of few words and what I remember about those fishing trips with him was not about what he said. 

He thought you needed to be completely silent when bream fishing or you would spook the fish. There was no small talk in his boat while fishing. He sat there quietly with his eyes completely fixed on that little green and yellow cork. The only interruption occurred when he stopped to roll himself another cigarette from another Prince Albert tobacco can that he brought alone or to remove a bream he or I caught and put the bream in that lard can filled with water.

Just being out on the pond fishing with my grandfather was all I needed and those silent and rather uneventful fishing trips will provide memories that will last me my lifetime. I hope I can provide some good memories like that for my grandchildren.

You just cannot believe how elated I am to once again have that little green and yellow cork laying on my computer desk. As I write my articles, I can once again just glance at that little cork and be filled with memories and emotions. I hope you have some similar memories. 

Good fishing and see you next week. 

Outdoors columnist Bobby Peoples can be reached at brpeoples995@gmail.com.

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