Dr. Samuel Johnson, an English writer born in 1709, once said, “Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”. Proverbs 17:28 reads, “even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent”. However, one of the many peculiarities of a fool is unpredictability. This quality was never more evident than in the following link in an ever growing and seemingly endless—in the words of the “Queen of Soul”—“Chain of Fools”. So it goes in Gramp’s story about “Man”. But first, let me tell you what I personally know about Man; a fisherman, he was not!
Once while fishing down on Carter Creek, my father, brother and I had the distinct pleasure of being present when Man and his mother came ambling down the hill towards the creek; cane poles on shoulders, and 5 gallon buckets in hand. Those buckets were multipurpose tools. In them, one could carry; a lunch, bait, drinks and tackle. Once at the desired fishing hole, one could flip the bucket over, and use it as a stool. If by chance, fish were caught, the bucket could be used to hold the fish. Man and his mom had two buckets.
We had been fishing for a couple of hours by the time Man and his mom showed up. Fishing is one of those activities that you either love or hate. Patience is definitely a virtue when fishing. Anyway, man’s mom quickly got herself situated. She, “unwound” her poles (unwinding being the process of freeing the fishing line from around the pole, to which it is attached). Man on the other hand, seemed to be struggling mightily with his one pole. Finally, he freed the line from the pole and was ready to fish.
Man whipped his bait and bobber towards the creek like an Egyptian taskmaster driving stubborn charges. The rig landed with a loud “Kersplat!” upon the surface of the creek, sending ripples spiraling out as if they were trying their best to escape the unheralded intruders of line, cork, weight and bobber-and Man. Five minutes rolled by; then ten minutes. Man wasn’t even getting a nibble. He whipped his line into the air above; the willowy tip of the pole whistling as it went. He then lashed it back onto the water; crossing several of our lines in the process. When no nibble was to be had in the new location, Man exclaimed, “Ma, it’s time to rind up! Let’s go, it’s time to rind up”. With that declarative, Man “rind” his line around his pole and trudged off up the hill. Man’s fishing day was thus, concluded.
Gramp shared the following nugget from the “life of Man.”
Once, Man and his mother went to town to pick up some, much needed, items. Outside the store was a bench where old men who hated shopping, as well as those with nothing else to do, would sit and watch the cars pass. “Sit on that bench Man, and don’t say a word to nobody, ‘lessen they think you’re some kind of fool!” she stated emphatically. “Bible says, ‘a foolish son brings grief ta his Pappy and bitterness to the Mammy that birthed him’, now sit there and be quiet.
By-and-by, as people passed the boy sitting on the bench, some extended sundry salutations to him. Of course, in single-minded obedience to his mother, Man said nothing. No matter what was said to him, he broke not-his silence. Finally, a large, imposing gentleman sauntered past the boy and boomed, “Hello there young man!” Man, of course, said nothing. The big man stopped in his tracks and wheeled about, casting a steely-eyed glare upon the boys flushed face. “Hello Boy!” he bellowed, but still, Man maintained his stalwart silence. “What’s wrong boy, cat got your tongue?” the man queried harshly. But still, nothing from the boy but complete silence. Finally, exasperated, the man declared, “Son, you must be some kinda fool!” and with that, he strode angrily away.
Eventually Man’s mother exited the store, groceries in hand. “Well son”, she said somewhat proudly, “I see you managed to stay outta trouble whilst I was gone”. “Not really Ma”, replied Man, “I did jes lak you said and the peoples found out I was a fool anyhow!” he finished shamefully.
They say, “Silence is Golden”, but in this case, the gold must have been “Fool’s Gold.” Perhaps a better position to take, when it comes to silence and foolishness, is reflected in this quote by an unknown author, “Wise people are not always silent, but they know when to be”.
In conclusion: I’ll leave you with this thought; “Never approach a goat from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any side”.
But enough about fools. Did you know that chewing gum is re-usable? Gramp found this out on one of her visits to the home of some of her students. The story is called, THERE’S NO JUICE IN JUICY FRUIT. (Next week)