Thursday, November 27, 2008

7 Things to be Thankful For Today (Again)

7 Things to be Thankful For Today (Again)

Last year I wrote a little piece called "7 Things to be Thankful For Today" and was gratified by the response. Today, I list the 7 things I am thankful for this year (I didn't include Steve Vernon's Turkey Fishing Reel but I certainly could have).

1) Fishing With Family. How often do we take fishing for granted? After all, if you're here reading this blog you either collect fishing tackle or are interested in the history of the sport. But I am sometimes surprised at how few people take the time to put down the trials and tribulations of life and just pick up a fishing rod. This year, I am thankful for the opportunities I had to fish with family and friends.

2) The Internet. When I first ran across the internet back in the late 1980s at the University of Minnesota (remember Gopher?) I could never have envisioned that it would change the world. But a veritable information revolution has occurred, and it has altered the very way we live. It made Angler's On-Line, Clark's, Joe Yates' Board, eBay and my Fishing for History Blog a possibility. What does the future hold? I don't know, but if the past is any indicator, it will be a blast.

3) The NFLCC Nationals. Is there any place more fun than Nationals? It's like having access to the world's greatest private museum of fishing tackle, much of it you can actually purchase or trade for if you so desire. It was such a gratifying experience talking to so many at my table this past nationals in Peoria. I was also proud to help launch Jeff Kieny and Don Wheeler's new books, it was just such a palpably happy place. I can't imagine my collecting year without it.

4) Health. My wife has recently undergone a rather serious health issue, and it only underscores the fact that no matter what happens in any other aspect of your life, if you don't have your health the rest will suffer accordingly. So I am thankful for my health, and wish good health to everyone out there--and if you happen to be facing a trying time, I wish you strength to see yourself or loved ones through the storm.

5) ORCA. The Old Reel Collector's Association is truly one of the greatest clubs of its type in the world. Of course many ORCA members are also belong to the NFLCC, FATC, etc., but as a reel collector I absolutely think ORCA is the Bee's Knees. Its publication The Reel News edited by my friend Richard Lodge is a world-class magazine that prints reams of information about fishing reels and other tackle that has never before seen print. I can't imagine any serious collector, even if you don't collect reels, not being a member just to get The Reel News.

6) Dudley Murphy. Not only is Dudley the founder of the NFLCC, but for almost TWO DECADES he has edited (ably assisted by Gary Smith) the premier publication in the world on fishing and fishing history: The NFLCC Magazine. Knowing a little bit about publishing, and having contributed often to The Magazine, I have an idea of the kind of work that goes into it. It's staggering. I think most people would be shocked to realize just how much of a labor of love this is for Dudley--and almost everyone takes it for granted we'll receive twice per year a magazine that looks, feels, and reads like the best glossy publications available. Take some time in the coming year to call, write, or stop Dudley and tell him how much you appreciate all the hard work he does. A few unexpected kind words can go a long ways.

7) Being an American. Regardless of your political affiliation, we have just witnessed a remarkable event in American history in the past election. While I respect other cultures--I am a first-generation American after all--I simply can't imagine wanting to be anything but an American. Ever. And yet we so often take for granted the liberties that our best and brightest are out fighting to protect every single day. But as one of my former student officers, who is just now being sent over to Iraq, declared in a class I taught on World War I: "I will fight, and if necessary die, for your right to disagree with me." God bless this nation, the people who protect it, and all of its citizens everywhere.

-- Dr. Todd

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