Fishing around separates our wants from our needs

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 3/13/20

A number of years ago, in another life, I was in love with a 15-foot bass boat.

It wasn’t something I owned. Instead, it was something I wanted...really wanted.

And I’m not sure why since …

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Fishing around separates our wants from our needs

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A number of years ago, in another life, I was in love with a 15-foot bass boat.

It wasn’t something I owned. Instead, it was something I wanted...really wanted.

And I’m not sure why since I’d not grown up as much of a fisherman.

Most of my equipment for that hobby through my formative years had centered around a cane pole or two, some floats and some red wigglers, if I could dig them up in the back yard or garden.

And most of the locations were pretty local — either Wallace Farrell’s pond behind my house, Johnnie and Elsie Burke’s pond down the Hanks Chapel Road, or the big pond at my Uncle Charlie and Aunt Sis’s farm north of Pittsboro.

The rate of success for said adventures was pretty low. I don’t remember the guys from Field and Stream magazine ever interviewing me about my secrets. More than likely the total haul for whatever number of years I wet a hook might have filled up two 5-gallon buckets and the reality was I didn’t really like the taste of the bream I caught — too many bones, not enough meat and a really strong smell. When we had neighborhood fish fries, I majored on the cornbread and French fries that accompanied the fish and in time learned to eat onions, as well.

But for some reason, during those days of living in Apex and working in Raleigh in the 1970s I was convinced I needed a bass boat — that 15-footer with a trolling motor and live well and the fancy seats that sit up really high. Maybe it was the proximity of Jordan Lake. Maybe I was looking for a new hobby. I don’t know. I just know I wanted — even needed — one. So, I’d go to boat shows, big ol’ events at the N.C. fairgrounds, even slip away from work early or take longer lunch hours than an hour. Talk to the salesmen. Read the literature. Ask questions. I was pun intended.

Now, from the vantage point of today, I can say with gratitude I never got one. Several things happened. We moved. I resigned my job and entered seminary. Children were born and they needed shoes more than I needed a boat. And it’s a good thing things turned out that way. I probably would have fallen overboard anyway.

The point I want to make is not that a boat is a bad thing or fishing should be avoided. Lots of great folks have boats and go fishing and all that. It’s just that for me it wasn’t the right thing. And I wonder how many times and how many places we want something that isn’t the right thing for us. Probably many times in many places but we don’t — or can’t or won’t — see it at the time.

Sometimes our wants and our needs get mixed up. Sometimes the distinction is pretty clear but we still go on our way. Reminds me of a story my father-in-law used to tell about a senior adult farmer who, along with his two adult sons, came into his tractor and farm equipment dealership one day.

As was my father-in-law’s custom, he struck up a conversation with the older gentleman and before they parted ways, the salesman had done his job and the customer was the proud owner of a new and not cheap tractor. As the deal was being concluded, one son looked at his father and said, “Daddy, what do you need with that tractor?” And the older gentleman said, “Son, I don’t need it; I just want it.”

Then there are those times our wants and desires don’t come about because of the cost, both in time and money. I guess the key is to know the differences and act accordingly.

As for me, I just know that I still don’t have that boat — but no longer do I want it. Instead I’ll settle for a good cup of stout coffee, today’s newspaper, some friends and a seat on the porch, if the weather will cooperate. Those things never go out of style or prove to be too costly and I’m pretty sure they don’t hurt us or are bad for us.


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