Create a lasting memory

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 5, 2003

The crickets chirped away. Bright stars and a sliver of the moon filled the bedroom window with the tick-tock of the alarm clock slowly counting each second until morning.

The heavy summer breeze fluttered through the curtains as the hoot of an owl could be heard in the distance. Every sound seemed to be magnified a thousand times as he tossed and turned waiting for his father to flick on the lights and announce it was time to go.

He was filled with nervous energy and high expectations. He could not sleep. He could not even truly dream about what awaited him. He did have a few dreams with his eyes open, but were they daydreams if it was the middle of the night.

He glanced at the clock and it read "2:15 A.M." It had been three minutes since the last time he dared sneak a peek at the clock. He still had about three more hours to "sleep."

The next thing he knew he felt strong hands squeezing his arms as they gently shook him awake. Did he miss it? Did he oversleep? What happened? What time is it?

"Son, time to get up. You ready? I thought I'd wake you up a little early," he heard his dad say.

His father's words had a brief calming effect on him, but it was gone as soon as it arrived. Now, he was anxiously grabbing clothes, pulling on his tennis shoes and searching for the lucky Atlanta Braves baseball cap his grandfather had given him.

He took the steps two at a time as he bounded downstairs to the kitchen where Dad was getting a fresh cup of coffee.

"Well, that was quick," Dad exclaimed and then added with a

chuckle. "Why can't you get ready that fast for school?"

The answer of course was because school was school and this was a fishing trip with Dad. He got to be one of the men today, even if he was just an eight-year-old man, and go fishing.

Everybody who ever went fishing as a child has a story like the one above. They also have several others ranging from humorous accounts to extremely exaggerated tales about the "one that got away" and "the time the boat almost sank."

Yes, fishing is an exciting sport to a young child and often it remains a fun and exciting pastime for adults.

Saturday is the perfect time to create a fond memory for a youngster at the 19th annual Kiwanis Fishing Derby being held at Open Pond in the Conecuh National Forest from 7 a.m. to noon. The derby will be held rain or shine and is held on Alabama's Free Fishing Day - which means participants do not need a fishing license.

The fishing derby, which is co-sponsored by the Andalusia Kiwanis Club, the National Forest Service and Alabama Game and Fish, is the perfect opportunity to introduce a youngster to fishing. It will make their day and create a memory that will live forever.

The fishing derby is also an early gift every "Dad" can give himself for Father's Day.

Trust me, it's worth getting up early Saturday and making the short drive to Open Pond. Once you take a youngster fishing, you will fall in love with the sport again.

Trust me, you will fall for it "hook, line and sinker."

John Wallace is the sports editor of, and columnist for, The Andalusia Star-News.