Ron’s Time Tunnel: Creek Can’t Fish


“Master!” Creek sang. His cool, strong, clear tenor arched out of the choir stand; filling the entire church with its richness; mesmerizing those upon whose ears the unique, vibrato-less voice fell, at times, gently; at others, sharply.  Derrell’s masterful manipulation of the keys of the time worn, upright piano, harmoniously echoed Creeks prayerful delivery of the word, “Master!” “Theeeeeee tempest!” he continued, his voice rising from the depths of that place that all great soloist must harbor within their bodies and souls, then rising towards higher and higher, nigh heavenly heights; a crescendo followed faithfully by the entrancing sounds of the piano accompaniment which now rumbled forth like the roll of the distant thunder of a violent storm, as it made its approach over the horizon. “Is raging!” Creek softly concluded the first line of the song. During the brief, dramatic pause, I heard somebody whisper, “Creek can sang.” “Yes,” I thought to myself, “but he sho can’t fish!”

How did I know that Creek couldn’t fish? Creek had gone fishing with me, my brother and dad several times. But we weren’t at the “Backup Water” this day, we were in church and Creek was singing, not fishing. His wide shoulders rose, as he filled his powerful lungs with air. His narrow face, with its strong chin and cheekbones, snatched to the right, as if glancing back over his shoulder. The storm was approaching! “Theeeeeee billow-o-ooooooows!” again his voice rising to a crescendo then falling softly, “are tossing, hi-iiiigh”.  Then again, booming, “The sky is o’er shadooooooowed with blackneeesss!” then gently “No shelter…no shelter…or help is… ni-iiigh!” Shouts of “Sing it boy! Sing it!” and “Alright nigh!” arose from the congregation! Derrell, brought the storm closer; thunder booming. Somebody elbowed me, “He can sang can’t he?” I gave them a perfunctory smile, “Why yes, he’s my cousin you know” I answered proudly, even as another, quieter thought lingered; “but he sho can’t fish!”

How did I know that Creek couldn’t fish? Because, whenever he’d go fishing with us and someone got a nibble or a bite, he’d withdraw his line from its current locale and, “swoosh, plop!” deposit it directly into the spot where the person had just caught a fish or got a bite; a la a “boy called Man.” But we weren’t at “The Pasture” this day. We were in church and Creek wasn’t fishing, he was singing. “Carest…Thou… not… that… weeeeeee pe-rish?” he intoned boldly, angrily, then pleadingly he queried, “How canst Thou lie therrrrrre…asleep?” “You talking to Jesus like that boy?” said the devil, at least the voice sounded like how I thought the devil should sound. I looked around, but saw only the “faithful few.” Creek’s shoulder rose, his head snatched to the left. He continued, “When each moment… sooooooo madlyyyyyyy is threatening, aaaaaaa grave, a grave, a grave… in the angryyy deep? The storm was upon us. Creek’s fabulous voice told us so. We were doomed! These were the feelings we felt as we rode the waves of the ominous melody and heeded the warnings described so vividly by Creek’s dexterous delivery of the song’s verses. “Man he can sing,” I said, to no one in particular. “If he could fish, he’d be awesome,” but alas,  I thought between the musical waves rocking us, “Creek can’t fish.”

How did I know that Creek couldn’t fish? He would frequently get his fishing line entangled with the fishing line of his fellow fishermen. From somewhere, I felt a cool breeze as the rhythm and pace of the song changed. The other men in the choir; Congo, Tat, Fletch, Buster, Reatha, Willie J., Derrell, and Dump joined in the chorus singing in perfect harmony;

“The winds and the waves shall obey my will, peace be still

Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea

Or demons or men or whatever it be

No water can swallow the ship where lies

The Master of ocean and earth and skies

They shall sweetly obey my will

Peace be still, peace be still

They all shall sweetly obey my will, peace, peace be still”

As their voices trailed off, the church grew quiet, the breeze I’d felt earlier, suddenly stopped. The church was still; peaceful. Suddenly! The congregation burst into cheers, handclaps and foot stomps. Creek and the boys brought the house down. Maybe Creek couldn’t fish, but boy that man could sing!

P.S. Years later, after many days of fishing with my father, Creek did eventually become one hell of a fisherman.


16 thoughts on “Ron’s Time Tunnel: Creek Can’t Fish

  1. Jet

    Ron, as I read your ingenious recount of Creek’s incapacity to fish, but incredible ability to sing, I kept repeating “Creek can’t fish, Creek can’t fish!” It is definitely a creative and catchy phrase that emphasizes Creek’s inability to catch fish. However, just as you so eloquently emphasized in your narrative, it in no way diminished his ability to sing. I totally agree, “The man could sang.” I think this excerpt from “In the dim light of the golden lamp” by Edward Shanks may put his singing capabilities into perspective.
    The singer stands and sings,
    And the songs rise up like coloured bubbles
    Or birds with shining wings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that quote. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment. Also, the message here is not just for the likes of Creek, but everyone. It tells us that everyone has something that they are or can be great at.

      It’s a message which is especially poignant for young people. Some, even my own, sometimes puzzle over what their life’s ambitions should be; what career, what goals they should pursue.

      The message lets them and us know that if they pursue what they love and the gifts that God has given them other things will come, in time; even “fishing”. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry I am late adding my two cents but I was gone out most of today but I am back Cuz so here goes!

    So, in my mind, you know I was right beside you in church talking to you about all of the things that Creek COULD do aside from fishing.

    Can’t you just see and hear me and you working in tandem:

    Me: He can sang
    You: But Creek can’t fish
    Me: He can cook
    You: But Creek can’t fish
    Me: He can fix cars
    You: But Creek can’t fish
    Me: He can paint a house like nobody’s business!
    You: But Creek can’t fish
    Me: He’s good with SQL and Python
    You: But Creek can’t fish
    Me: I watched him do a badass sew-in
    You: But Creek can’t fish

    Oh baby, it would go on and on until they ushered us out of the church! That’s just how crazy-cool-connected we are!

    As usual, you DID that!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Cuz! Glad you made it. I’m ALWAYS glad to see you at anytime. I hope your day was fab.

      I can picture us volleying observations and ideas like Serena and Venus😉until the ushers kindly showed us the door.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This little oasis on the many delightful stops in Rons Time Tunnel is a wonderful read. Funny witty doused with a helping of religion.I’ve found very few blog pieces to have such a clever hook or any hook at all. “Creek sho can’t fish” lends the reader the freedom to enjoy this jewel via of a multitude of contexts. Job well done Ron.

    Liked by 3 people

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