Thursday, November 22, 2007

7 Things to be Thankful For Today

As many of you know, I have a great deal to be thankful for this year. It got me thinking that some of our blessings are shared things, even if we don't always recognize it. So in the spirit of the holiday season, here is a list of seven things we should all be thankful for, in no particular order.

1) The Woods and Waters. I don't think we acknowledge the work done by so many early conservation and environmental organizations--almost all of them founded by outdoorsmen and women--who worked tirelessly to educate Americans about the importance of preserving their natural heritage. That you even have fish and game today is a testament to their largely anonymous work.

2) Joe Yates. Let me issue a disclaimer: I have never met Joe Yates. I interviewed him once (briefly) for an article several years ago in The NFLCC Gazette, but other than an occasional friendly email (usually when I use a word that is on the official banned list) we have almost no contact. So I can say I write this with the balance and impartiality of an outside observer: Joe's web site is not just one of the most important things to happen in the history of collecting, it is an important cog in the history of fishing itself. So much information not just on collecting but on general fishing history passes through the message board every week that it is astounding. All of it starts and ends with the man whose name is emblazoned on the masthead.

3) Perspective. We've all done it--you lose an eBay auction at the last minute, someone nabs a bait off a chat board, or you just miss out in room trading or a show. Frustration, bitterness, and anger set in. That bait or reel should be yours and not someone else who won't appreciate it. At this point, you should be thankful that (eventually) you can put it all into perspective. It isn't the end of the world. The one piece of advice I can offer is that in my 20+ years of collecting, I can truly say another one will come down the pike, and if it doesn't, the sun will still come up tomorrow. Seriously. Other people are battling cancer or grieving over the loss of a loved one, and you want the world to believe you have the right to be upset because you didn't get a chance to buy ANOTHER fishing lure? Perspective, perspective, perpective.

4) The NFLCC. The National Fishing Lure Collector's Club is a flawed organization. Its attitude on certain issues is often difficult to fathom. The list of people with grievances--legitimate and otherwise--against the organization grows every year. But for all its flaws, we should all be grateful for the NFLCC and all of the work it has done to promote collecting and fishing history. It has the best fishing history publication in the world--The NFLCC Magazine. The largely volunteer efforts of hundreds of people are required to make the various shows, auctions, etc. work. Is the NFLCC flawed? Yes. Is it still the most important organization in the world for promoting collecting? Yes. And for that, and for all the work it does, we should be thankful.

5) eBay. Even more than the NFLCC, eBay is a lightning rod for controversy. Everyone has an opinion on eBay, and it seems most of them are negative. Are the fees too high? Yes. Are their too many fraudulent listings? Certainly. Is eBay Live basically a joke? Affirmative. Is it responsible for driving down prices on some tackle? Guilty. Yet, from the perspective of the average collector, eBay is a blessing. For many collectors who live too far from shows, or who can't make them for any number of reasons, their only chance to acquire various items for their collection comes via internet auction. It gives a general idea at any given time what fishing tackle is worth. In addition, we have the ability to watch and view items we would never have had the opportunity to see in our lives, which helps both educate and promote the hobby. For good and bad, without eBay there could be no long-term growth for the hobby.

6 ) Friends and Family. A no-brainer. When in doubt, remember what is truly important to you: loved ones. Reach out to them in this holiday season. Bury old grudges, strike up dying friendships, reach out to lost companions of yore. Be thankful for every minute you get to spend with the people most important to you.

7) Fishing. Behind every Leonard fly rod, Haskell Minnow, or Kentucky Reel there is a dream of fishing. All of the tackle we covet so greatly was purchased with the thought that it might bring a fish to the table. How often do we forget this? Why are we constantly lamenting the fact that our Pagen Scale Bass Oreno has a hook drag, or that the Vom Hofe we got in the mail shows brassing from wear? Fishing tackle was meant to be used. No one ever bought a Talbot reel with the thought that it might be worth more to some stranger 100 years in the future if he didn't take it bass fishing in the rain. Now, I'm not here to tell you that a mint lure or reel is not a beautiful thing--it is. But we can get so condition-crazy sometimes that we miss the point of the whole thing. Maybe if we all fished more often we might better appreciate what we have, and find a little beauty in blemishes.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

-- Dr. Todd

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Perspective. No one could have said it better. These little sticks of wood we all love are very very minor compared to family, good friends and good health. These are the true treasures in life.