January 24, 2013

Unlikely gift from San Antone...

My wife and I were afforded the opportunity this past weekend to get out of the metroplex (Dallas-Fort Worth, to my non-Texas readers). My youngest daughter was having oral surgery and she needed someone to watch her baby while her husband accompanied her to the doctor’s office.

We rarely get the chance to get away like that, so we jumped at the opportunity. We left Fort Worth on Wednesday night and it was very cold. We got to our room at the Howard Johnson’s in San Antonio at a little past midnight and settled in for the night. 

We got up on Thursday and spent the day with our daughter and granddaughter and part of the evening with her husband when he came in from school. He is a Spec Sgt in the U.S. Army and is attending school at the Fort Sam Houston Training Facility there in San Antone. 

We pretty much did the same thing on Friday and to show their appreciation for our visit, they took us to dinner on the Riverwalk to a place called Rita’s on the River. The food was excellent, the company was grand and the Mariachi’s were delightful as they made their way from table to table all around room. 

On Saturday, we arrived at their home early and they headed out for her surgery. We had a great time with our granddaughter and before we knew it, they were back. Of course, my daughter was groggy and OH so hilarious as she told us of the little animals she was making out in the tree limbs through the window at the doctors office, while she waited for the procedure. Remind me to get that stuff the next time I have a procedure.  

We waited around for a few hours and made lunch for the three of us that still had our senses. I actually taught my son-in-law how to make a simple but oh-so-delicious dish, Smothered Cajun Pork Chops. We ate until it was all gone, all the time watching our daughter talk to and answer her self while still under the sedation from the surgery. At about 3:00, we decided to leave and give them some time alone, since we’d been there since Thursday morning, off and on. We bid them farewell and that we’d be back soon and headed back to the hotel to check out and head to Seguin to my brothers house…we didn’t make it.

On the off chance that we might find a “fishin’ hole”, Terri packed all of our fishing equipment for the trip. Well, the chance showed up. We were staying at the Howard Johnson’s on I35 and right behind us was the Salado Creekway. It’s a very nice bike and walking trail that winds in and out of the Salado Creek bottoms for several miles. We pulled on our waders and grabbed our rods from the back of the pickup and headed down to the creek.

The first part of the creek that we fished was a very remote and rugged section of the raw creek bottom outside the gate of Fort Sam Houston. After about thirty minutes we reached the creek and we began to catch fish one after the other. Nothing big but fun just the same. We caught Black Crappie, Sun Perch, Golden Sunfish and we were fortunate enough to catch our first Guadalupe Bass. 

The next day we had PLANNED to get up, have a nice leisurely breakfast and head to my brothers house. Again, we didn’t make it.We passed over the Salado Creekway on our way out and it was like some other worldly force directed the steering wheel to the parking lot. I had to obey!

We fished all morning and into the afternoon, walking along the bike and walkway and were close to heading out, when I heard a voice behind me. “Have you guys tried fishing over there?” I looked back and it was a young man of about fifteen or sixteen years of age.

I answered “no” and told him it was too easy to get tangled up in the lily’s when fishing with a fly rod. He shared with us how he used to have a fishing rod, but it had broken and his mother didn’t have the money to replace it. He kept hinting around about wanting to fish and finally I looked at Terri and she said “do it.” I told him to come down and I’d show him how to use a fly rod. His face broke out into a huge smile. Ok, melt me like a pat of butter at the IHOP, I’m staying now

He was a hefty young man about 5’ 8” and probably close to 200 lbs. He was of Hispanic decent and had a huge, magnificent smile that made his dark brown eyes light up like a traffic light at midnight. He had short, thick cropped hair that was wavy and dark as night. His ears were “gauged” with these zebra-colored type spikes and although it was in the mid to high ‘60’s that day, he was clad in a pair of shorts and a long t-shirt.

He shared with us how he’d gotten to Texas by way of Chicago. Seems his mother and dad split up a few years earlier and she decided to come to San Antone to be closer to family. He was a student at Sam Houston High School and verified that he was sixteen.

He said he loved to fish, but didn’t have the money to replace the rod he so loved. I asked him if he’d be willing to learn to fish from the “basics”. He said he would love to. It just so happened that the day before we had bought a couple of “cane pole” rigs. You know the kit that has the bobber, line, hook and split-shot weight all in one package? I pulled one from our equipment bag and chunked it to him.

From there we went down to the creekside and we found a good, sturdy length of willow tree and we rigged him up right there on the spot. He kept saying “I can’t believe I ran into such nice people that would do this for me.” On the one hand it made my day for him saying that, but on the other, it broke my heart that he had no one to teach him one of the rights of passage for a teenage boy growing up in Texas.

I spent extra time with him that day showing him how to look for the “holes” in the creek where the fish would hide and how to “pop” the cork to give the bait the appearance of being alive. I spent nearly an hour with him showing him the ins and outs of basic fishing on a budget. You would have thought someone handed him $1,000 cash by the time we left.

I finally thought about asking his name and he said “Codey Adam, sir”. I told him I wanted to keep in contact with him and he said he had a Facebook account. I tried to find him on Facebook but I never could. I’m gonna keep looking for him and try to follow his movement toward manhood.

We said our goodbyes and Terri and I walked slowly back to the truck, barely saying a word, both of us feeling the pride and joy of doing something worth way more than a stack of $100 bills. I drove the entire way back with Mr. Codey Adam on my mind. A twinge of sorrow touches me knowing that a young boy is down near San Antonio, Texas and he doesn’t have a male mentor to guide his steps. I just pray that God hears my prayers and wraps his arms around him and guides him along his journey to manhood.
It’s been a week now and I can’t seem to get the young fella out of my mind. I’m still looking for him on Facebook. So if you are down on the Salado Creekway and you see a husky, handsome young man fishing with a homemade rig, ask if his name is Codey. If it’s him, tell him I said hi and that I had a great time with him this last weekend. Man, I miss that kid…

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...