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  • On a fishing day, away from work, (we played hookey from work as often as we could get away with for this) we shared the fishing dock with an old gent of about mid eighties. By we, I mean, myself, my son Jesse, and my grandson Nicolas. The lake was Clear Lake, Just off I90, at Salnave road, west of Spokane, Washington, and only a ten minute drive on the freeway from where we lived.

    We didn’t catch many fish, and the ones we did, were just barely legal keepers. The day was worth the loss of income though, and the respect of co-workers, seeing as we frittered away work for the pleasure of those hours of stories, and sage (mostly tongue-in-cheek) wit and wisdom that the old man shared with Jesse and I. I refer to him as just 'the old man', as I never caught his name. I'm as good with names as I am at fishing, I suppose.

    The stories were so many, and interspersed with jibes about his life, wife, sons and daughters, friends and relations, etc., that I wouldn’t even try to relate them to you here. Suffice it to say, there was no getting bored of his company. The entire day through, he drank Columbia beers from green bottles, and with every beer, the stories became more fun and more interesting.

    Although Jesse, Nicolas, and I were having little luck at fishing, this old guy was doing great. He seemed to catch at least one fish for every beer he consumed, and they were not small in any respect.
    He would take them off the hook, and put them on his stringer that was tied to the dock, crack open another beer, and return his rig to the water. After downing a considerable number of beers (all that he had with him), and sharing several more tales, he told us that he was calling it a day.

    When he went to untie his stringer, he dropped the last few swallows of beer, and his last green bottle right into the lake. He then he discovered that he had neglected to properly tie his stringer to the dock, and all the fish he had caught that day, were gone as well.

    He calmly stood up, gathered his gear, and left us with one last bit of wisdom. He said to us, “Don’t ever get old. It’s just a pain in the ass. People call these the ‘golden years’. The only thing I find golden about them, is my piss.” Then he staggered off to his mobile home and his wife.

    I am now 60 years old, and find myself feeling some of the effects of growing older like him, but I don’t quite agree with his overall assessment of aging. About the only thing that doesn’t cause me pain, is my ass. Every thing else is dropping into the drink, like his fish and his beer. Also, if I drink beer, there’s much less color to my piss as a result. He was a lot of fun to have known though.

    I’ve often wondered if age was actually his only nemesis, or if the beers played a part in his woes.

    This was about five years ago, I can’t remember an exact date, sometime in the summer, but I’m fairly sure he is no longer with us. He didn’t appear to be in the best of health. He will always remain in my memory though.

    It’s a good life, all things considered, if only even one person remembers you for the pleasant soul that you were.
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