Darkness brings out the bad people

By Sam Piatt

I’m not making up the following story. It happened to some acquaintances of mine quite a few years ago on a lake in the region.

They had pitched camp at the top of a slope overlooking the lake. There were four of them in two boats. It was to be a four-day fishing vacation.

They weren’t young men anymore, but the fisherman in them was still young.

One of them had undergone a knee replacement a few weeks earlier and had not fully recovered. Using a cane made it easier to navigate the slope and climb into the boat.

They overdid it that first day. They started early, ate lunch in the boats, and the sun was nearing the tops of the hills when they called it quits.

The fish hadn’t cooperated the way they’d hoped for. It didn’t dampen their enthusiasm. The next day would be better.

They pulled into a small cove at the foot of the slope. They dropped an anchor off the rear of the boats, snugged the bows off against the shoreline, and secured the boats to a tree, using a small cable attached to an eye on the front. They snapped a padlock in the loop at the ends of the cables.

Now came the matter of all that gear in the boats. Each man had at least three favorite rods and reels, heavy tackle boxes, and assorted other gear that makes its way into a boat when you’re planning to fish all day.

They debated whether to carry all that gear up into camp, then pack it back down the next day. Their weary bodies led to the decision to leave it all in the boats. They could almost see them from the camp site.

And besides, all their experience with trips like this over the years taught them that campers and fishermen look out for each other. They don’t bother things that don’t belong to them.

No one felt like cooking, so they settled for chicken noddle soup and wieners roasted over the campfire. They spent a short time discussing the strategy for the next day, extinguished the fire, and turned in. Just a sliver of a new moon showed through the spring treetops.


They were up early, had a breakfast of bacon and eggs and toast, then filled the thermoses with steaming black coffee, and headed down the slope.

You’ve guessed what comes next. This world has some bad people in it. These bad people usually work under cover of darkness, while the good people are sleeping.

The only thing left in the boats was the outboard motors and the trolling motors affixed to the bows.

They probably could have borrowed rods and reels and lures from total strangers in the camp. But, disgusted, they trailered their boats out and headed home, stopping at the sheriff’s office in Morehead to report the theft.

But they have never seen any of their gear again.


Thankfully, the good people outnumber the bad people.

My wife, Bonnie, and I fall into the age category of people more susceptible to the coronavirus.

Our daughter, Cindy, drove me to a doctor’s appointment at Cabell-Huntington Hospital on Thursday. We wore face masks and rubber gloves.

More than one neighbor has stopped to see if there’s anything we need in the line of food.

“We have to go out to work anyway, so we’re stopping at the grocery,” one said.

We hadn’t needed anything at the time.

A couple of days later our neighbor next door, spotting me on the front porch. carried over a sack with a loaf of bread in it. They both work at the hospital in Portsmouth and were going to Kroger.

“What else do you need?” He asked.

“We need a gallon of milk, 2 percent,” I said.

In a short while they were back with the milk. I handed him enough money, hopefully, to pay for a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk.

I knew I’d be wasting my breath to try to get him to let me pay him for the shopping and delivery.

Would you believe he tried not to take the money I handed him?

Yes, thankfully, there are many more good people than bad people in the good ol’ United States of America.

And together we’re going to whip this pandemic.

In time for the Myrtle Beach vacation.


By Sam Piatt

Reach G. Sam Piatt at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.

Reach G. Sam Piatt at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.