My grandfather was one of my best friends. Over the years he taught me a lot about a lot. Our favorite thing to do together was to fish. We would venture out on our expeditions several times during my two week stay with him during summer vacation from school. These fishing ventures required careful planning in my grandfather’s eyes. We would listen to the weather several times the day before departure. We would test, run and clean the boat, check all of our rigging, purchase bait, and pack our breakfast and lunch to mention some of this ritual. Early the next morning, around 5 AM, we were on the road pulling the boat. Thirty minutes later we were putting the boat into the waters of Lake Erie. Off we went to the hotspot of the season. These spots are only known by a true fisherman who has spent days in the tackle store listening to conversations among others that were returning from their trips. Once we arrived we would begin by dropping our lines into the water and waiting for the first bite. Sometimes we would do all of this and not get a bite for hours. However, we would return knowing that we had a great time fishing.
At the same time my grandfather had a friend that would join us on his own boat. His friend never spent much time preparing for the fishing trips. He would arrive a few minutes late. Next, he would struggle to get his boat in the water only to discover there was a dead battery on board and so on. Once he got going he would catch up with us. My grandfather would tell him where the hotspot was this time and he would begin dropping in his lines. He would last two hours. He spent most of his time repairing his lines and fighting with mechanical problems. We would hear him on the radio saying, “I’m going in... we're not catching anything over here.”
This is when I learned the difference between fishing and catching. Today I spend my time preparing jobsites for the next phase of construction. I start with checking the batter boards for square...later I am checking window and door openings to insure proper fit before they arrive for installation...lastly, I am turning every doorknob before the homeowner walks into their new home.
I think back and never realized that those lazy summer days spent on a boat doing much of nothing would have taught me so much.