The last two articles I have related to you about my experiences on a fishing trip during a family vacation. During the family vacation, I spent a day fishing with a man named Eloy, by myself.
Eloy lives on an island. About eight months out of the year, he guides tourists on fishing trips. The other months, as well as during days when he is not guiding, he works on boat motors for those who live on the island.
Eloy offers several different trips, including fishing for bass and other smaller fish. Some of the fishing is near the island, some is near the coral reefs, and others are near the mainland in “flats,” fishing for tarpon. Trips can be for a few hours, half days or all day. Tarpon fishing with Eloy is an all-day trip.
As I have related in previous articles, Eloy has been at this for 37 years. His skin, face and hands show the years of hard work.
I can only imagine the type of people Eloy runs into. Some just want to go out onto a boat, have a few beers and say they went fishing. The other end of the spectrum are those who come out, bent on catching the biggest fish ever, and are not happy unless they do.
I am sure Eloy has seen all types of people. I am sure it would be easy for him to get jaded.
We have all seen people go through life, jaded by their experiences. They do their job, and nothing more. It is an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job where 90 percent of what they do is just showing up. It seems there are people who go through life that way — they just show up.
When I was just a young boy, I worked in a grocery store cutting meat. I started in the seventh grade and did that all the way through college. My boss, Gary, was the owner of the store, as well as its head meat cutter.
I loved going to work almost every day at that store. Gary was an artist at cutting meat. He took tremendous pride in bringing good meat into the meat market, aging it the appropriate time, cutting and trimming it in such a way it looked like a photograph. Each piece of meat he would cut, he would lay on a green piece of paper and would trim around the outside of that paper. I am sure it was to help keep the meat fresh looking, but I also know he did it with such precision it really made the meat stand out against that small green border.
Cutting meat had been in Gary’s family for a few generations. Everybody knew him. He always took time to visit with the customers. If they had a special occasion coming up, they always would come to Gary for a special cut of meat. I remember my high school junior, senior prom. We decided to have stuffed butterfly pork chops. Gary cut each one by hand, along with a small pocket to place the stuffing. Each one was perfect.
Gary did not go through life just showing up. He brought a zest that spilled over into my attitude at work.
I marvel when clients come in who are artisans at whatever it is they do — whether it is farming, running a clothing store, etc. Despite their age, they still have that wonderful zest for what they do.
Just because we are older does not mean we need to lose our zest for life. You still can be excited about what you do whether that is your job, your volunteer position or your hobby.
Back to Eloy. We had a good day fishing, but it was a lot of work. From 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., we fished. There was quite a bit of space between the four fish I eventually caught. Keep in mind each fish was caught, photographed and then released back to the water. Eloy was so delicate with the fish as he released it into the water, making sure it could swim on its own.
The last fish was the biggest. Eloy wanted me to get a picture. He beamed as I held up that fish.
Despite the many days he has fished, Eloy reached across, grabbed my hand, and said, “This was quite a day.”
Yes, it was.
Eloy was such a fine example for his family. He provided for them, he worked with them, and he loved them.
Randy Clinkscales founded Clinkscales Elder Law Practice in 1985. He is a 1980 graduate of Washburn Law School and has represented clients at the administrative, county, state and federal levels.