|The Back Forty
By Roger Pond
I first noticed it in a South Dakota newspaper. It was a photo of a man holding a big fish.
“That’s a pretty good pike,” I thought to myself. “That fellow must be real happy with that one.”
Then I realized this wasn’t just a fish picture. This was an obituary. Probably the most recent and the best photo available for this person.
Now I see them all the time. Guys around my age or older, holding a big ol’ fish - right in the middle of the obituary page.
It’s a trend, I think, and I kind of like it. Why not remember a person doing one of the things they enjoyed the most?
That’s what I tell my wife when she asks, “Why do we have all of these fish pictures? One or two should be enough. You don’t have to take the whole roll!”
“Someday you’ll be glad to have all of those photos,” I tell her. “They’ll come in real handy at the funeral.
“Besides, you’ll notice these pictures are not all the same. Here’s one where I have a funny look on my face, and the fish has his eyes closed in this one.
“And look here. I’m holding the fish out further so it looks twice as big.”
All of those photos bring back memories, too. Here’s a batch from the day I caught a salmon on every cast.
My son, Russ, and I had hiked down into the gorge in the dark one morning and headed for our favorite hole. It turns out someone was already there, so we headed for our second favorite hole.
Another father and his son were sitting on the bank, but they said, “There’s plenty of room for all of us as long as we watch our casting.”
So we sat there and chatted until it got daylight. Then Russ started to cast. He made about six casts and hooked a salmon.
I was still fumbling around trying to tie on a leader, so the other guy’s son netted the fish for Russ. Then, this fellow climbed up on the same rock, made a few casts, and he hooked a salmon.
The limit was one fish per day at the time, so Russ and the second fisherman were done.
I was still fumbling with my leader knot when the other father said, “I may be kind of dumb, but I’m not stupid.” And he scurried over to the same rock.
Before you could say Jack Sprat, this man had a salmon, too! By this time I said, “Russ, tie this &$#@ knot for me before somebody else gets on that rock.”
He had it tied in no time, and I ran for the spot. I made one cast, hooked a nice salmon, and landed it. One cast, one salmon, one fish daily limit. That’s a salmon on every cast.
And I don’t care what anybody says. Eighteen photos is none too many for an occasion like that.
This farm news was published in the March 1, 2006 issue of Farm World.