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Finding the right sport
The occasional fisherman
Ernie Mitchell
Ernie Mitchell lives in Pembroke. - photo by File photo

"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after."

— Henry David Thoreau

Winter must be over. It was going to be 86 on Saturday. That ought to get the bass moving out at the lake.

As a working man for 50 years, I was sure once I retired I’d be fishing every day. Wrong.

I’ve been retired for 10 years. Like many of my retired buddies, instead we fill our time with doctor appointments, church and civic duties and the pleasure of grandkids.

But since this year I am turning the royal age of 70, things will be different. With considerable contemplation and compassionate negotiation, I have made an agreement with my lovely wife of 46 years.

The well-known adage that golf is the retirement sport was too cliché for me. I began playing golf when I was 12. Quickly I became good enough to play competitively with the adults. It put me on the high school varsity team and playing in a military international tournament.

But it takes a tremendous amount of practice to play decent. Also, my wife doesn’t play. Actually, in our early married days, she walked with me as us guys played golf evenings at the lighted par-three course. She became world class at catching toads. She must have really been talented because she never did get a wart on her hand.

We agreed upon one sport: bowling. We could do alone, as a couple or with a team of friends. We are small and slim, still in pretty good shape for septuagenarians, no physical problems. Two days a week would meet the budget of money and time. Then we could have lunch with our new cadre of friends.

We like to travel, and we have grandkids in different states. It would be easy to carry our bowling bag, and kids of any age like bowling. It’s settled.

As a clever negotiator, that left four more retirement days to fill (the Lord gets Sunday). What to do?

Smack, right in my face. The activity I enjoyed since I did it first at 5 years old.


The solitude, the peace, the quiet except for the sounds and beauty of nature. Saturday will be the day to hit the lake. If something doesn’t come up. Dang, it’s only been 152 days since I said that on my 69th birthday.

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