View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fish Story

I have to start this off with a disclaimer:  I am not a fisherman.  My folks were avid fishing people and my sister and brother-in-law loved fishing.  In fact, my brother-in-law, Dick, owned a tackle shop and built beautiful fishing rods.  I, on the other hand, enjoyed catching and eating fish, just did not like cleaning them and did not have the patience to dangle a piece of bait over the side of a boat in the hot sun waiting for some dumb fish to bite.  So I took up golf where I could take a club and hit the dickens out of a ball and release a lot of pent up frustration.

Last month my friend Dennis, who use to live here in Hawaii, e-mailed me that he and his wife were coming back for a visit and he was setting up a fishing trip and wanted to know if I was interested.  Now you have to realize that I have almost terminal motion sickness, had car sickness when I was a kid, was air sick a lot of the time when I was in the Air Force, have been deep sea fishing less than a handful of times and until two years ago, had been sea sick every stinking time.  For me, going out on the ocean in a boat was not a fun time.
Churning water across the deep blue pacific.

Two years ago Dennis talked me into going on a Marlin fishing trip.  The Kona Coast is prime marlin fishing grounds where people pay big bucks to catch trophy size fish, like a 1,000 lbs and better.  It is truly an exciting thing to see a marlin of any size tail dancing across the water after being hooked.  I decided that it was worth a ralphing session to experience something that I had never done before.  Turns out that I was fortunate to catch and release a 175 lb. marlin on my first time out.  A combination of calm seas and lots of Dramamine took care of any sea sickness.

Now Dennis was asking me to risk a second trip to maybe, or not, catch a fish and I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I committed to the trip.  Two days before the trip, Dennis calls me and says we will be meeting at the harbor at 5:45 a.m.   Say What!!!  Really???  Fish don't bite at 10 or 11?  Seriously something is not right there!  Anyway, on the appointed night before, I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m. and asking myself what was I thinking. 

I arrive the next morning at 5:45 and Dennis shows up somewhere around 6:10 or 6:15.  The boat and Captain  was already there and he and his grandson where futzing with something in the engine compartment.  They finally got the boat in the water and we were out of the harbor a little after 7.  The sun finally got up over Mauna Kea, 13,796 ft, sometime after 8.  This was a treat because we rarely see a sunrise on our side of the mountain.

Official weight 178.2 lbs. 
After three hours of churning up the water, we finally get an Ahi (Yellow fin tuna) to take the lure.  It proceeds to strip off line at an alarming rate and by the time they get me into the chair with the rod, somewhere around 1600 feet of line is gone and less than 200 ft. is left, less than 100 ft. by the time we got it slowed down.  Then began the arduous  task of reeling him/her in, a foot or two at a time.  It took 35 minutes to get it up and along side of the
boat where they could gaff it.  It took another 20 or so minutes to get it up over the side and into the boat.  Late in the battle Kenny asked me several times how I was doing because he was aware of my medical history and age.  I kept saying I was fine and he finally said "if you need help, say so, I don't want to have to  
resuscitate you."  I replied that cancer couldn't kill me, neither was this dude.  I will tell you that it was a battle of wills and I just barely won.  I could hardly walk when it was over.

About an hour later we had a nice marlin strike but lost him after 10 or 12 seconds when he threw the hook.  Still it was exciting to see him tail dance across the water.  Quite a show.  We then proceeded to churn the water another three hours with only a couple of strikes to show for it, no hook-ups.

I took two Dramamine that morning and did not eat a thing all day and never got sea sick.  There was a fair amount of pitching and rolling that 30 years ago would have sent me leaning over the side of the boat chumming fish.  That was truly an answer to prayer.

The purpose of this story is not to brag about a big fish catch, others have caught bigger fish than this.  For me this was a gift from God, something I hadn't even asked him for, something I didn't ever expect.  Yet it has made me a celebrity in church and even got my name published in the newspaper for the second time under "Notable Catches".   It was an exciting hour out of a eight hour boat ride that I will remember always.  As always, God gets the glory because  as God knows, I know nothing about deep sea fishing.

This is how God operates, giving us gifts that we don't expect.  Our job is to acknowledge where they came from and share with others so they might be encouraged and to be on the lookout for those gifts.  To many times we fail to see the gift that has been given in love by our heavenly Father.     



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Free at last!


(I originally wrote this back in April of 2001 for the Church Newsletter)

In our travels the last two winters, we have had the enjoyment(?) of a 3rd companion, our four year old Doberman, Quincy.  He is a great traveler and doesn’t seem to mind being cooped up in our pick-up or travel trailer all day and night.  We try and find places to stay that have some wide open spaces where he can run. 

When Mr. Doberman developed this breed, among other things, he crossed in some Whippet and Greyhound, which goes a long way in explaining why you never want to try and outrun a Doberman.  It also forces Jeri and I to take a mile or two walk every day so he can get in his 4 or 5 mile run.  Otherwise he drives us crazy in the evenings with all this energy that has to be expended one way or another.  The choices are 1) a four or five mile run in the mornings, or 2) one or two hours of bouncing off the walls in the trailer.  So we walk, evvvvery morning, rain or shine. 

One particular rainy morning at Pismo Beach, Jeri suddenly felt the need to take a shower, and opted out of our morning walk.  So the dog and I headed for the beach.

Pismo Beach is a great place to walk.  It is wide, flat and has very fine sand.  They even allow you to drive on it.  We were out early enough(only one dumb enough to be out in the rain) that I could turn Quincy loose and let him run free. 

As I made him sit to unleash him, his whole body quivered with excitement in anticipation of being freed to run with the surf and wind.  As soon as he felt and heard the snap release on his collar, he was off like a bullet!  He ran back and forth, up and down the surf, chasing sea gulls, exploring sand dunes, always moving, always coming back and checking on me, then off he would go again, full tilt, never tiring.  It is an amazing sight that I never tire of.

The thought occurred to me as Quincy was being unleashed from my physical control, that this must be what people experience in death.  One minute we are shackled to this earth by a body suffering aches and pains and no longer wants to move or operate the way we want, and the next instant we are unleashed, free to move about like never before; free of pain, free of time restrictions, free of stress, free of sin, free to worship in the presence of God and Jesus-- free at last, free at last!  Finally I understood visually why Jesus said death could not claim victory.                                                                                                     
Are you living a life that fears the inevitable, or are you living with excited anticipation for that event that is as natural a part of life as birth.   There is nothing to fear if you know Jesus. 

But when the perishable will have put on the imperishable, and the mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying “Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  -- But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.   1st Cor. 15:54-57

On the other hand, if you don’t know Jesus--------------