“In the fury of the moment…”
Dateline: On A Country Road
I had a friend, and he was blind, and he built kites.
And the kites,
My friend told me, he could feel,
Blue, he said, felt better than, Red. And in his hands as he spoke, was a kite of blue.
My friend, who built kites, and was blind, believed in miracles.
Not in the miracle of new found sight but in the miracle,
Of blues, of reds, of greens and yellows.
“We would be fine living in a black and white world,” he would tell me, “but instead it is a world of color; take time to see the color, take time to feel the color, color is a miracle, color is the message to us that… Special is possible, that Special is real, that Special…happens.”
I had a friend, who was blind, and who built colorful kites,
and he passed away peacefully in his sleep,
and later came a box from my friend, and the box said simply, “For Bones,” my nickname as a teenager, and in the box, no note, only a kite,
and the kite was white,
and there was a ball of string,
and underneath the ball of string,
a box of crayons.
Special happens, my friends.
“…I can see…”
There are moments in life so extraordinary…that they become special forever. Moments never to be forgotten. Never to be repeated.
One of my roommates while I’m on the road covering the Elites, Shaw Grigsby, had just finished Day 1 of the Bainbridge, Ga., tournament on Lake Seminole in 1st place.
We went out to dinner to celebrate, and on the 20-minute drive back to our rental house, alone in the Tundra, we had time to talk: “db, how special is it that you write a story about never letting your best days be behind you, and on the day that runs, I come in first place.”
The story: “Rabbits & Bulldogs” talked about how getting older shouldn’t define you.
Me: “You know, dude, I think it’s a message from the universe; I think we get messages like that all the time, but the speed of life is so fast we don’t take the time to step back and see it. Special happens, I think, because the hand that guides us wants us to know…”
“…that he’s still there. db, what happened today was a blessing…”
“…I know what you mean…it’s like those special moments when it seems the whole universe just lines up, and everything is going perfect, you can almost see ahead into the immediate future you are so dialed in, it’s like you are one with the universe.”
“It was special, so special, what a way to begin the season…”
“…it’s a text message from the universe dude, a text that Special…Happens.”
“… the master's hand…”
And special happened for four other Elite anglers last week…five of the Top 12 to fish on Sunday…almost HALF are 50 years of age…or OLDER.
The last time Charlie Hartley made a regular season Top 12 was in 2007…seven years ago, “db, this was SUPER special…all three days, I did not start well, and then suddenly, everything changed. It was magical, boy was it magical, got to thank the man above, just wow, just wow.”
Byron Velvick last made a Top 12 in 2010; injuries have played a big role in that so: “This week was special. The last couple of years I haven’t turned my phone on before weigh-in; this tournament I called my father, called everyone to be sure to watch the weigh-in. It was really emotional for me.”
It was only one year ago that Bernie Schultz was one of the last 12 Elite anglers standing: “It’s been profound for me…when I first started fishing, Shaw Grigsby was like a mentor to me. I learned an awful lot from him and then I found myself standing on the stage with him; that, to me, made it even more special.”
“…in every leaf that trembles…”
And then there was Kevin Short, K-Pink is what I called him after we first met some 7 years ago on Lake Champlain. Kevin was the first Elite angler I ever met back when I had no idea what an Elite angler was or what Bassmaster was for that matter.
Kevin is my best friend on the tour, and his wife, Kerry (K-2), has become my older-younger sister.
I normally don’t stay around on Sunday. I usually hit the road for the next event but because my roommate Shaw was fishing on the last day, and especially because Kevin was fishing the next day, I stayed.
The last time Kevin took the Elite stage as one of the last standing was 2010: “The last three years have been hell.”
I know, because I was there.
I know, because I never knew what to say to a great friend who just finished in 68th place or 80th or worse – 52nd – two below the cut, two places out of $10,000.
I know, because I had no words for a great angler caught up in a bad streak. People ask me all the time who do I want to win, and I always say, I don’t care. But I do, I care for my friend and I always hope he wins.
“db, this is a great start to the season, a double positive, and I know he is coming into it with a whole new attitude.
“I’ve heard him say that he can’t change yesterday or tomorrow but he can change today, and it has been working great,” according to K-2.
Kevin, my friend, the reason I only asked you one question during our interview is simply because I ride the waves with you out there on the many lakes. I know how you feel on the bad days, been there, know how you feel when you win one of these things, been there, too.
Good friends win together.
Good friends lose together.
Special Happens, with friendship.
I miss my blind friend who made colorful kites.
We were visiting from California, staying at my parents’ house in Kenmore, N.Y., when my mother, Helen, brought down an old box she was going to throw away.
She told me it was mine and asked if I wanted it; if not, it was going to be tossed. When I opened it, it was the white kite.
In the corner of an old cemetery in Tonawanda, N.Y., may still lay a white kite colored in with crayons,
by my then one-year-old daughter.
I miss my blind friend who made colorful kites,
and who left a box of crayons,
and a blank white kite,
for a child not born yet,
to one day,
“…grain of sand.”
“Every Grain of Sand”