I was rummaging through a seldom-opened drawer in a desk not used for writing when I came across the 8 x 10 black-and-white photograph. It’s a bit creased and rumpled, but oh what a pleasure it is for the eyes and the mind.
A moment of life captured for all time with the click of the camera. A happy time, 35 years ago. A time frozen in the eons.
On the left is son, Kelly, then 23, and on the right is son Kendall, then 22. They are holding opposite ends of a stringer laden down with heavy fish, each of which had provided much pleasure in the fight that subdued them.
Behind them, looking over their shoulders, beaming, is my father, Bruce, then 72 – nine years younger than his son, who manned the camera.
The churning waters of the Ohio River can be seen in the background. And further upstream, outside the range of the camera, lies the gates of the Greenup Dam.
I believe this pleasurable fishing event happened on or about my birthday, May 22. The year was 1979, my fourth year of a 25-year stint as a reporter with the Ashland Daily Independent.
Oblivious to us were other events and hardships happening around the world at that time:
California started rationing gasoline on an odd-even license-plate plan.
But President Jimmy Carter’s national gasoline rationing plan was rejected by the House of Representatives.
Across the ocean, Margaret Thatcher was sworn in as prime minister of Great Britain, the first woman to hold the post. The government had reached a wage settlement with unions representing about 600,000 civil service workers.
Italy mobilized its army to curb terrorism.
A DC-10 jet crashed in Chicago, killing all 272 persons aboard and two on the ground in America’s worst air disaster.
Yes, 1975 was a busy year; but for my two boys and Dad – all three gone now, leaving me to hold the fort – and I, the only thing happening that really mattered on that long-ago day in the Greenup Dam tailwaters was the battling of the fishes.
That is a wonderful attribution to fishing: It takes us away from our troubles and problems for a time. No doubt God never did make a more quiet, calm, innocent recreation than angling.
You’ve seen obituaries where the man or woman who has died was in their mid-80s, but the photo running with the obit is of a person in their early 20s, perhaps wearing the uniform of a soldier or sailor.
I’ve heard people ridicule such, saying the deceased was being a little vainglorious, to say the least.
But that person in the photo of the 21-year-old is the very same person as the one who just died at age 85.
And why not, in the one time that we have to get our name in the newspaper, put our best face forward, so to speak?
It was an occasion when we were happy and knew no sickness or disease or suffering, a sweet memory frozen in time by the click of the shutter.
Reach G. SAM PIATT at (606) 932-3619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.