Tis’ The Season

Editor’sNote: I like to bring this back each year as a reminder of what season it is.  

fishing season

To all of us who love the outdoors, be it fishing, hunting, boating, hiking; what ever your version, we are driven by the seasons.

The season may be determined by Mother Nature or your friendly neighborhood fisheries service, but our thoughts, focus, excitement and energy revolves around the seasons. It renews our love of our hobby or obsession depending on your personality type. It refreshes our minds as we get excited to prepare for the next type of pursuit, be it grouper season, deer season, sailfish time, halibut season, long range season and so on. We are excited by the prospects of opening seasons, saddened by the ending of seasons and sometimes angered by the canceling of seasons, but it is always about some kind of “season”.

So it was with a dose of personal shame that I lamented that I was asking the Boss for a few hours off from the keyboard to chaperone my kids’ school field trip and not for some pursuit of a season. Little did I know?

Fish with lure

The trip involved taking the choir and music students of our small school to sing Christmas carols to the local community. As a small school, we do not have buses, but rely on parent volunteers to shuttle the groups to and fro. My two young ones were excited and I did not regret the duty, but as I drove past my old fishing grounds, I admit I had a twinge of “wishing I was pursuing redfish season”.

The bustle of loading kids excited to get out of school and on a buzz from holiday sugars, took my mind off of fishing for a little while, but it returned as I drove within ten miles of a friend’s house who was going wahoo fishing tomorrow. Yes it doesn’t take much.

Fishing outdoor Season

As we followed the leader to our first stop, and piled out of the vehicles, our group gathered below the balcony of a beachside condo. The sound of children’s voices filled the salty air and was accompanied by the sound of the ocean where I was sure they were biting right now.

Then a door opened and slowly an aging man was helped out in his wheelchair, oxygen tank in tow, and he sat on the balcony above this group of singing children who were filling the air with the sound of a different season. A season that we too often take for granted, or lose sight of in the commercial hustle and bustle, or by the fact that they may be biting or moving under our stands.

The old man’s face was one of surprise, which quickly moved to joy and then transitioned to tears.

He was sobbing with joy and the kids sang louder. There was not a dry eye in sight and there was a deep stirring inside the group as we realized that we were not just singing songs, but we were touching the lives of those whose season of life was further along. These children were like angels singing, and my two angels were in there singing their hearts out. As we finished our songs, we all yelled Merry Christmas and received a frail, but joyful wave in return.

I was not thinking about the fact that snook season had closed, or that this nice warm Florida winter might have the cobia running early.

I was moved by what had just taken place and the deep feelings that had just been evoked by this simple act of kindness. We continued to drive around the town and make stops and sing to the people on our church’s list of homebound members. The walkers, canes and medical devices varied, but the reaction of each person remained the same. Overwhelming joy to see and hear the children, to share the sounds of this season, but most of all, I think, to be remembered. To share a moment with strangers, who stopped to take the time to sing a song and spread the real meaning of this season.

Police Station

We didn’t stop there; we hit the local fire and police stations, where big, tough men and women joined in the singing of Rudolph and Jingle Bells. People who risk their lives for us everyday and often miss the holidays with their families because they are protecting mine. It felt great to give a little bit back and let them know they are appreciated and not taken for granted.

fishing grounds

As I drove back home to my keyboard, with the kids back at school, I crossed the same bridge over my old fishing grounds, but it was not fishing on my mind. (Okay, I did see some bait)

I was somehow a little different, deeply touched by what I had just shared.

So thanks Boss for a few hours off, to be reminded what is truly important and know that it really “ Tis the Season”.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Capt. Scott Goodwin started fishing in the lakes of Kentucky where he grew up. A move to Florida, however, brought him into a whole new realm of fishing. After receiving a bachelor's degree in biology from Eckerd College, he decided that he liked catching fish more than studying them and thus began ...