“These are the days of the endless summer…”
Dateline: Montgomery Alabama
that somewhere out there,
there is a planet,
that doesn’t keep time.
A planet, without, clocks.
A planet, without, calendars.
that all those,
who live on that planet,
a million sunrises,
a million sunsets.
that I live on that planet,
where there are no todays,
that those I love,
are on that planet,
“…these are the days by the sparkling river…”
My face, surprises me. I hope it is the mirror, and not me, that is getting old. I’m surprised, because my face, is not ME.
Me, just graduated from high school, just danced at the prom.
Me, just looked into my wife’s eyes, for the first time.
Me, just held my daughter, my son, in my hands.
Me, just could call home, and my parents would answer.
Me, knows, though, the mirror never ages, and that what has aged,
“…these are the days now that we must savor…”
Some of you reading this know exactly what it is I’m talking about, some of you, have no clue.
Some of you are young, some of you are like me, old.
How is it that in my mind, I’m still a kid, when in fact, my body is not. I have more life experience now, but I still, when no one is looking, grab the whipped cream can, and shoot the stuff into my mouth, I still wet my finger and stick it in that little jar in the kitchen cabinet filled with brown sprinkles.
I was an infant, until I blinked, and became an old man.
The other day, my roommates, Shaw Grigsby and Paul Elias, and I had just finished a sushi dinner, they did…I don’t eat bait…and we were just sitting at the restaurant table and we just started talking about all the aches and pains associated with surviving yourself, this long.
Paul is 62.
Shaw, TODAY, turned 57.
None of us three has lived a life in a bubble. We have been very active participants in this bumps, cuts, bruises world.
...grateful that even when this sport takes so much out of you...
We are four-day old bananas lying on the counter. Still bananas, still work as bananas, but the dark spots are starting to show,
and we don’t live on the planet that doesn’t keep time.
“…and we must enjoy as we can…”
But as we sat at the table, and Shaw picked at any of the food we had left on our plates, each one of us, over and over, said one word…GRATEFUL.
We said, how lucky we, to be here, now.
How lucky we, to be able to do what we still love, now.
How grateful we are, that at the age we have become, we still can compete, we still can, thrive. It may be painful at times, this thriving, but thrive we can.
If you are reading this, and you know how we feel, what we mean, know this, we all, the three of us, wish you…thrive.
Since the three of us hit the big 5-0, fifty, this is what we have been able to do.
Since turning 50…Paul has won four tournaments including setting the all-time weight record in 2008 of 130 pounds, 8 ounces at the age of 57.
Shaw, BTW Happy Birthday roomie, at the age of 55 won the Sunshine Showdown on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Florida.
At 51, I was handed my second Emmy, the following year, at 52 came another statue, but my wins were team efforts…my roomies, they, they did it themselves.
“…these are the days…”
...you can still compete with the young-uns...
Add now, opportunity.
A couple years ago, I wrote four stories that won outdoor writing awards, those I did all by myself.
Those plaques would not be up on the wall today had I not been given the OPPORTUNITY, that I have been given here now, to write the way I want to write, and to have been given the opportunity to write about the anglers, not their catch.
Shaw: “db just tell me what…
Paul: “…other sport can a 62 year old compete in.”
Yeah, we are like a longtime married couple we can, and do finish each others sentences.
Not only compete…but win.
I have covered sports for two decades now and this next fact about this sport, and my roommates, blew my mind.
I took some time late last night and went through all the birthdates of the Elite competitors looking for one number…1977.
Paul fished his first B.A.S.S tournament in 1976.
...grateful, that given opportunity...
So I took 1977 and looked for any birth dates past that year…I found 26.
And this is what blew my mind…Paul and Shaw compete against a field of competitors of which, fully a QUARTER of whom WEREN’T BORN when Paul and Shaw first started competing in B.A.S.S. tournaments.
Yet, today, Saturday, May 11th...Paul Elias is in fourth place….Shaw Grigsby is in 16th.
I don’t know how it will shake out at the end, but I have learned this from my roommates that, given the opportunity, at even our age it is possible to be grateful, and to thrive.
“… that will last forever…”
Don’t believe me, listen to my two roommates:
Paul Elias, who in 1982 won the Bassmaster Classic on the very water he is fishing today. “db, I’m blessed, sure it takes longer to heal, and some mornings I’m like a little kid not wanting to go to school, I don’t want to get out of bed, but then, but then (he is looking down at his tanned, gnarled, hands cut up by the fish, especially his thumb where he has Superglued a cut closed) thenwhen I get out on the water and compete against the young guns, both the rookies and those who have been here awhile (again a pause) then, I can’t really explain it, other than to say, I become young, it makes me young out there.”
Shaw Grigsby: “Every year there comes after us, comes to beat us better and better anglers, not to mention the KVD’s and Skeets we have to go against out here. Every day we have to compete against the best, and other than Rick Clunn and Dave Smith, everyone we compete against is younger than we are.”
Paul: “You can’t take a day off out here, golly you can’t take a minute off, a cast off out here but…”
...you can thrive, no matter what age.
Shaw: “…you know, that’s good, we are challenged every day, every minute, and I think it is exactly that challenge that keeps us young…it keeps us mentally alert, it keeps us in good physical shape…”
Paul: “…but, you know what is incredible is one big thing…”
Shaw: “…the bass, those fish, they don’t know how old you are, and they don’t care.”
“…you've got to hold them…”
those that come after us,
need not bring with them, clocks.
that the planet,
that doesn’t keep time,
will have found the fountain of youth,
a fountain where flows,
When those three flow together,
you don’t need any clocks,
will only be kept…
“…in your heart.”
These Are The Days