very superstitious, ladders bout' to fall ... "
Dateline: Greyhawkin' T-Bend, Louisiana I have a lucky Cross pen that is so lucky I don't use it anymore. My father gave it to me, he bought it at Sears, had one of his buds there sort of scratch db all squiggly like into it. Gave it to me the weekend before my first day of college. Said, "Here." What dad meant to say was, "Here take this magical mystical writing instrument and everything you write with it will be magic." But sometimes dad just cut to the chase. "Here." I got the rest. So I go up to the hill in Buffalo that UB (SUNY/Buffalo or The University at Buffalo depending on whether you want to be fancy or plain but they both have the same address) sits on and sign up for higher learning. Somehow, they gave it to me. One class at a time. So a couple weeks later an envelop from higher learning comes in the mail, and when I open it a punch card falls out on the floor (sort of the original email but a card with a whole bunch of holes only a new thing called computers could read, but if you, say, stuck a pin in it and stuck it up on your kitchen bulletin board, when you sent it back all the computers in the world would crash because of the hole you made) so I pick it up, head back up the hill, feed it into this machine and out spits the courses I'm likely to be mostly late to. And the first course, the first course in my entire need for higher learning is this: ENGLISH 101. Not good since the three years I had to take English 10 (a full 91 Englishes down from this) in high school before high school would release me didn't work out to well 10th grade: F 11th grade: F- 12th Grade: D- ... see ya. So I jump in my Ford Pinto Hatchback and race home in the three out of four gears that worked and grab the magical mystical writing stick "Here" pen and carry it out of the extra bedroom/study area/ironing room in both hands and put it down on the dining room table on the good placemat. Then I sit there and look at it. Didn't look too magical, but it came in a black box laying in black felt, so I'm thinking, none of those 19-cent Bics did that and look what they did to my high school writing career. Door opens, Barb walks in for work, sees me sitting at the table all hunched over looking at the good placemat and says, "You sick?" "Not yet." "What are you doing?" "Studying," "Studying what?" "Magic." "Great, glad we took out a student loan for that." I look up, don't know what she means, thought we took out the student loan for the stereo and TV . "Gotta Go." Ten minutes, and three out of four gears later I'm in class, and the student assistant I paid Professor money for is standing up front telling us to take out some paper and "In Class" write "a short story." Pop, don't fail me now. So I take out the magical, mystical writing stick, twist the top open, and jump ahead 91 Englishes and starting writing and hoping. Two days later, this comes back from the unseen but paid for Professor. A+ And a note "Dude, didn't you ever have grammar and spelling in high school? But, man, I dig your style." The first "A" I ever got in my life. Went home, found the black box with the black felt holding area, put the pen back in it ... AND NEVER USED IT AGAIN. Saving the magic ... saving the good JuJu of the "Here," pen. Which is why, 30 years later, when I got the 2011 equivalent to the punch cards, a text message, from LeAnn Swindle ... I was concerned ... here's the exact text: So if the guys don't do good today its because u didn't eat wit us and u messed up the juju. Lol You see, on tournament days, me and the wives go out to breakfast in a local diner after we wave bye to the boys of B.A.S.S. Welcome to The Breakfast Club
" ... 13-month old baby, broke the looking glass
even years of bad luck, the good things in your past ... " Every Thursday, Day One of competition, we all sit around eating breakfast fixin's, anglers wives, their kids, relatives, me. With every meal comes a side order of JuJu ... Good JuJu. The anglers may be flipping and pitching out there but we are JuJu'ing at those tables. At Thursday's weigh-in if things go well for their husbands, fathers, kin, we do it all over again the next morning, Friday. I mean ALL OVER: "Last week Mike (Iaconelli) did good on Thursday so I told him, 'Mike I went to the breakfast club and then I went out shopping and spent a bunch of money ... should I do that again so you do well on Friday,' and he said YES." For the record, that didn't work on Barb when I tried it. Last week the breakfast club consisted of Julia Kennedy and her two children, Julie Roumbanis and her son, K2 (Kerry Short), Norma McCaghren, Beck-onelli and Vegas (their newborn) and the lady who txt'd me ... LeAnn Swindle. You see, I went to the Thursday Breakfast Club, but broke protocol and didn't show up on Friday, which is when I got LeAnn's text. "db, you bailed on us, I told Gerald and he said, 'Well, that explains it all.'" So if you are flipping out about your fantasy team picks, dudes, you are not as dumb as you are thinking ... the key to the B.A.S.S Fantasy league is pretty simple ... know where I am on Friday morning ... if I'm not at the breakfast club ... start thinking about next week's team. Back to LeAnn, a very pretty lady with a wide smile, but trust me she has the same strong-arm look to her this morning that my Uncle Vinnie has. "You better be here tomorrow, db, last week I made the mistake of on the first day ordering that filling big mamma French Toast plate ... and I had to eat it all week long, even shared my bacon every day with Jason (Fred and Julie's young son) just like I did on Thursday, did it on Friday as well, you know the day you BAILED ON US." "I even went to Petco the next day just like I did the day before, didn't need to be doing that but saving the good JuJu." I, of course just sort of, you know, hum, er ... slept on Friday. Which, of course, is why, except for Ike, NONE of the husbands of the Friday Breakfast Club wives made it to the top 12 last week. My bad. Sorry. But one other thing. Quick-like. One other time I did use the magical mystical writing stick. Took out the black felt lined box. Wiped the dust off the top, opened it, gently lifted the pen out, twisted it so the business end showed. Laid it on my desk for several minutes, looking at it. Hoping once again for the Good JuJu, hoping that now even while the man who gave it to me is gone, the magic he knew it contained would still be there. Picked it up. Wrote with it once again. Just used it to sign my name. On the BASS contract. Thanks, Dad ... it still seems to work. And then I put it back. Me ... superstitious ...
"When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer, superstition ain't the way."
Stevie Wonder -- db
Don Barone is an award-winning outdoors writer and a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association and the Outdoor Writers Guild of the U.K. You can reach db at www.donbaroneoutdoors.com.