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Natural Escape: A Friend for an hour

By HUNTER REDFIELD – Student contributor

He walked with a sort of spunk that could only be obtained by wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day and a bound determination to have a good time. I believe his first words were the same of any fellow angler, and they were soon answered with a few suckers and a chub.

He clearly sensed disappointment in my voice and decided to give me a little advice. So, I moved where he told me to and began seeing fish. A little bit of time with no return told him there was something there and again he joined my side. I lost a few and he was running dry on luck. Finally, after what seemed like forever, I caught a fish and was really hoping that the kind gentleman that gave me his secret would too get a chance at a fish.

We both found our eyes fixated on the beautiful fog pulling off the creek and the shadows it cast on a young couple working a run below us. During this short period of time, his line swung across the current and went tight. I was so happy he finally hooked into a fish that I dropped my rod and ran over to net the fish. It couldn’t have been more than 8 inches long and was a beautiful wild brown. At this fraction of a second, he was the happiest man on earth.

His cigarette smoke daintily drifted in the little swirls of wind as he reached for my hand and said, “I’m Tom.” I responded but, don’t be fooled it, was a quick hand shake that sent his hands patting every pocket looking for his phone. He had finally found it and pictures were taken before the trout was released. Thank you’s were said, and we fished for a bit longer then departed as darkness fell on us.

It has been over a year since the day I met and fished with Tom and for some reason this short fishing trip has grasped onto my brain with no intention of leaving. I will probably never see Tom again, but it was the short amount of time I got to fish with him that helped me realize it’s not always about the fish but rather the good times that we seem to overlook. I hope that Tom has impacted others like he has me and, who knows, maybe one day I will see him again.

Columnist Hunter Redfield is a student at Cranberry High School and a member of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications group.

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