Fishing Holes of Today

You get a line and I’ll get a pole honey.
You get a line and I’ll get a pole Babe.
You get a line and I’ll get a pole and we’ll go fishin’ in the crawdad hole honey babe of mine.

As a child in school, we used to sing this little song all the time. There were plenty of little water ponds where we could go to catch a polliwog or try and get a crawdad! Back then, they were just living things we could catch, keep for a while and then release if they didn’t die first. Little did we know back then that in today’s society frog legs and crawdads would be a huge business for the food industry. I might have paid more attention to them had we known.

I had the opportunity as a man of going back to one of those little water holes. My desire was to wax nostalgic and possibly see if there were still some crawdads or fresh polliwogs to be had. Unfortunately, progress had occurred and the water hole was now a housing development and a playground stood where my youthful exuberance was once spent. The opportunity to relive a childhood memory is now forever lost to me. I could probably find another area which had a water hole and the probability of it containing polliwogs and crawdads ‘might’ be a possibility, but the memory of my fishing hole will never be the same.

Life has a way of being like that. Things change right in front of our eyes that we are unable to stop. Parents with children will attest to this. One moment they are holding a baby in their arms, and the next moment they are buying a cap and gown and attending graduation for a young man or a young woman. Change is inevitable and it is not a respecter of persons. Change does not care if we agree with it, and it does not ask our permission to carry out its purpose. Change is going to occur, whether for good or for bad.

Consider this: Twenty years ago, a smart phone belonged to Agent Maxwell Smart from the Get Smart television series. A tablet was a pill or writing paper. There was one television in the living room, and you watched television as a family. Neighborhoods were the place where children spent most of their time playing outside with each other and not glued to video games inside. Personal computers were just beginning to grow in popularity, and a laptop was where grandchildren enjoyed the love of their grandparents. Cameras still used film and a well-placed finger on the lens ruined many a family photo.

Mr. Coffee ruled the coffee market, and satellite television required a massive satellite dish in the back yard to get a signal. Fast food was a weekend treat and not a daily staple. Television and music could be watched and listened to without a ratings system, and cartoons were cartoons and not animation series.

The water hole represents a way of life that the majority of us grew up in feeling safe. We cherish the memories of those times because they remind us of a time when things were safe and life was not so complicated. But of this you can be certain: Time stands still for no one. And like it or not, change also accompanies time. Values which were once cherished alter with the passage of time, and new generations cannot understand the importance of them. Dreams which once impassioned our hearts begin to fade with the realization of their manifestation passing. The fishing holes of our youth are being supplanted with the onus of progress: our pasts are but a treasured memory, never to be duplicated or appreciated by the current generation.

But there are new fishing holes which can be found. And we who understand their value must pass along to those who do not, the enthusiasm of discovery and the joys of achievement. The fishing holes of today may not be in the same locations as those we grew up with, but they still represent opportunities for creating relationships with others and knitting together the relevance of the past and the future. Crawdads and polliwogs will always be around; they are just in different places now. We who hold the knowledge of how they unite a community must seize the openings as they present themselves to instill in the current generation the power of culture and the promise of the future through solidarity and unity. If we allow the crawdads and polliwogs to move on to other communities, our community will have no frog legs or crawdads to establish businesses and relationships. We will forever be reliant upon the business owners of other communities to share with us a portion of their own bounty found in a plain old fishing hole.

by Rev. Bruce Norris