Had to put down my best buddy of 13 years today!Toughest thing i ever had to do!
My buddy neely!
"A Truer Freind" ....by "Wild Bill"
Recently, my fishing buddy of long years died. Now I realize what a true friend he was; I didn't thnk I'd miss him this much.
Patrick was born without arms, and could not speak, and sadly had been estranged from his family while very young. We met and quickly became freinds, mostly because we shared a love of the great outdoors. Somehow, we communicated,
me through speaking, him through facial expressions, and we found we also loved being on the water. I took him out on my boat, and from that day on, I would not think of going without Patrick; he got such joy from those trips.
While I fished and controlled the boat from the front deck, he would lay on the rear deck, his head hanging overboard, peering into the waters looking for fish. He'd spot fish, and then motion to me. He got as excited as i did when I hooked and landed fish. Once,as I was battling a very feisty Smallmouth, Patrick, in his typically over-excited and enthusiastic state, slipped and fell overboard. Fortunately,he was wearing his modified lifejacket, and from his position in the water, got to see the fish landed and then released. I finally controlled my laughter enough to help him back onto the rear deck, where he dried himself off while I continued to chuckle.
Being a Pisces may explain my forty-year love affair with Bass fishing. Grandpa and my Dad introduced me to the sport when I was only six. Grandpa bought a home on a small lake outside Kansas City, MO, and we summered there every year of my childhood. I learned to cast plugs to the shoreline and docks, and to drag a plastic worm for Bass, all the while bonding with Grandpa and Dad.
Patrick never got to go fishing before I took him, never once had the pleasure of making a great cast, and I'd swear he got a bigger adrenaline rush and his heart would beat faster than mine whenever i caught a fish. Just being on the water was his "nirvana".
Most of my buddies didn't want to come along if they heard I was bringing Patrick, because he had a hard time controlling his excitement. The rear deck became his domain, and he rarely would cede it, unless he was told to. I rarely had the heart not to take him, so we spent a lot of time together.The thrill of the sport was what he and I thrived on, and I now try to share that with others by mentoring them in the joys of fishing and the great outdoors.
Less than a week before Patrick died, we shared our final fishing trip, and it comforts me to know I made his life happier by taking him along on all those trips. He returned the favor by sharing his excitement and joy with me. Fishing isn't quite the same now without him, as I miss being with him.
I just returned from the lake, the first trip since since my buddy died. I had motored through the early morning fog to our favorite spot, the point I had caught that fish so many years earlier when Patrick had fallen in. As I approached, an ominous feeling came over me, as if signalling me where to cast. Maybe it was the moment, but as I positiioned the boat, I felt that Patrick was there in spirit, guiding me, as always.
My watermelon-colored senko had barely hit the water when there was a giant swirl, right where my bait landed. I reeled down, and then set the hook, and a hefty four pound Smallie came rocketing up out of the water, almsot three feet in the air. It gave me quite a tug, and the battle was intense, re-affirming why I was there, and lifting my spirits on that spot where my buddy and I had shared so many good times together. I landed the chunky Smallmouth and looked it over carefully, as it looked so much like that fish I'd landed 12 years earlier, the day Patrick had fallen in the water.
Gently, I slipped the fish back into the water. I knew right away where my next throw should land, and it did, but it made a different sound as it landed, and there was no swirl this time, anf no tug. A very happy, yet sad feeling overcame me as I watched my departed freind's ashes, now intermixing with my tears, as they sank through the water. we had indeed shared a special freindship through our years together.
Suddenly, a smallmouth shot out of the waters, right between my boat and the boulder strewn point. I thought it was the one I had just released, and I knew right then I had brought Patrick to his heaven.
I will cherish forever the moments I shared with Patrick, my Golden Retreiver.
Share fishing with someone.....