There's a 1,000-pound gorilla in the house.
No one looking anyone in the eye.
Heads down, shoulders down, country down.
Been months since I didn't have a conversation without the word, "tough," stuck in it.
Back then is back here, those tough times of the past, now present once again.
"Can't happen," happened.
I went to bed one night happy, I woke up the next morning sad. Sometime around midnight, the nightmare came.
I don't need to be watching TV about the R-word, I see all I need to see on the faces and in the eyes of my friends.
And in the mirror.
Things that used to be aren't so anymore. Shops gone, their keeper's dreams now lie in the counter dust. The once bright future, now entombed in plywood and paint brush shouting, For Lease.
The wheels have come off for those who used to put them on.
And while all this is happening, we fish.
How can we take to the water when so many around us are sinking.
Are we Nero in Bass Boats.
The Line In The Sand Is Drawn Between River and Soul.
The R-word takes.
It takes what you do, it wants to take you.
Between the river banks flows pride.
Now more than ever we need to reclaim the river.
And the pride that flows within.
To win, to be a champion, you have to go all out, and then some.
It isn't coming to you, you have to go get it.
The R-word wins when the boats stay on the banks. The R-word wins when the boat trailers stay in the driveway.
There IS NO OTHER CHOICE but to take to the water.
Anything short of that, and the R-word wins.
Don Barone is a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association. Other stories of his can be found on Amazon.com. For comments or story ideas, you can reach db at www.donbaroneoutdoors.com