One day while visiting Georgia football great Terry Hoage at his winery in Paso Robles, California, he stood by a small lake he had built. He recalled catching a nice fish from the lake early one balmy morning.
As I recall, it was a three-pound bass that allowed me to enjoy his experience vicariously. In my mind’s eye, I could see the pull of the fish on the line—its determined fight to shake loose—and the expression of exhilaration on Terry’s face that came with the experience.
This is a man who has a Super Bowl ring, one who knows the joy of taking a studied look at a play developing and then watching the movement of 22 men; he figures out where the ball is going—ending up with a canny interception that thrills a stadium packed with more than 75,000 fans.
However, with Hoage, there was a compelling lift to his emotions that he, though not a dedicated outdoorsman enjoyed an enriching high which came from catching a fish in a body of water he had created and stocked with a few fish. He was effusive in recalling that day.
Having caught fish gave me the memorable experience of taking up the slack, keeping the line taut, reeling fast and furiously when the fish relaxed, and the ordeal of taking 15 minutes or longer to bring the fish to the net is unforgettable. You never tire of those opportunities.
With a golfer, there can never be enough birdies. The more you make, the more you want to make. You knock down a pair of Bob White quail on a covey rise, and you become eager and anxious for a repeat opportunity. I’m sure an artist can’t wait to take on that next journey on the canvas.
I know that is the way it is with a good book. You read a best seller, put it down, and move on to the next one. The good things in life are renewable.
Man caves show off a variety of artifacts from such experiences. Bird mounts, deer racks, photos of signature moments in sports as a player and/or coach.
If you are accomplished at most anything, chances are you like to browse around and bask in the moment again. I wonder, however, what Mozart might have displayed in his life. Chopin. Michelangelo. Da Vinci. The really famous, of course, have enough “stuff” to start a museum. At least create a nook in some building.
Back to Terry Hoage and his fish. When he finished his story, I asked, “With a trophy like that, why didn’t you find a way to mount it?” He paused for a few seconds and then said: “Well, I never really thought about it. I have the memory of catching it. That is all that I need.”
Hoage never kept scrapbooks. A man of great pride, he would never wear his Super Bowl ring. That begs this question. “Is it showing off or bragging when you display artifacts of your career successes?” You win the Heisman Trophy, isn’t it okay to let it rest in a place of prominence?
What do you do with the Nobel Prize if you should be fortunate to win such? Think about the doctor who saves someone’s life. There is no plaque placed on a wall to remind everybody of the greatest prize there could be. Saving a life! How wonderful! Those in that arena take it in stride and move on to the next patient. In so many cases, nobody knows but the hospital and the fortunate patient and his or her family.
The doctor, perhaps, goes home and cuts the grass, maybe even cooks out for the family and reads a few pages in a book. There were no high fives, no headlines (in most cases) and no ribbon cutting. Those are the heroes in our society for who we reserve the greatest appreciation and honor, but it seldom happens that way.
Having enjoyed many travel experiences and taking in countless celebrated sporting events, I do have a few things that garnish my memories over the years. My normal day begins by repairing to my basement office and beginning my day with an Osceola turkey looking over my shoulder as I engage my computer.
There are a few other artifacts and photos to take me down memory lane, which prompts me to pause in reverence and offer a thumbs up to those precious memories. I am not bragging, but it will always be fun to reminisce and enjoy great memories.