I’ve never caught a six-pound largemouth bass. I know that with some certainty because six is a lot of pounds of bass, especially to make up a story about. If you were to catch, say, a pretty damn big bass but didn’t bother to weigh it, the most you might get away with telling your story at the bar that night would be five pounds of faith from your friends. If you’ve got good friends and have been more or less honest throughout your life, they might take you at your word if you said you caught a five-pound bass.
If you add that extra pound, though, while they might not call you an honest-to-God liar, you’ll get that look the state trooper gives you when you say your speedometer’s broken: “I’m not going to call you a liar to your face but I’m not going to sit here like an idiot an believe you either.”
So I don’t know what, to be truthful, catching a six-pound bass feels like. I do know, however, know what if felt like this morning when I walked out of Rivers Bait and Tackle here in on Lake Talquin after inquiring about possibly getting on the water with any guides that might have the time. The young woman behind the counter came running out after I’d explained my mission. She was scampering so quickly I thought for sure I’d forgotten my keys or dropped a credit card.
I walked back and she reached out her hand with six dollars, a few from each of the men in the shop who had heard my mission.
I don’t remember what the first dollar I earned felt like, it was probably for mowing the lawn or umpiring a minor league baseball game. I’m sure it was saved, maybe overnight, until it was spent on a pack of cards.
And I don’t know what catching a six-pound bass feels like. But I do know that this trip, until this morning, had seemed like a hill getting steeper in front of me with each passing minute.
Until that woman handed me that six dollars. I must have stammered something like “Thank You,” I hope. If I live to be 1,000 I hope I never get used to someone handing me money.
And that’s not to say some gap in the clouds opened up revealing a magical light. I still need to find a way to catch fish. But I’m not at $0 anymore.
You can go ahead and laugh at what to some people might seem like chump change and it’s certainly a pittance compared to the mountain in front of me. But it’s a step, it’s a start and for me it’s a six-pound bass.