At the beginning of each month, I’d head to the barber shop to get my monthly haircut. First a plain ol’ buzz cut. Later a flat top. Longer styles in my late high school years. But that’s not why I did monthly trips to the barber.
While many of my friends dreamed of becoming a major leaguer, rock and roll star or top flight golfer, my dreams were spawned by the pages of those magazines.
So was my imagination. I may have been holding my cane pole down at Mert’s pond catching six-inch bullheads; in my mind I was in Florida planning to catch a 10 pound or bigger largemouth bass. When I switched to a fly rod to angle up stunted bluegills or crappies at Mingle’s pond, my mind was in the Rocky Mountains fishing for native cutthroat trout.
But of all the dreams I gleaned from all the flashy photos, the pictures that fueled my imagination the most was those depicting giant lake trout, huge northern pike and even beer-belly bass so big that when the proud angler held them, their belly sagged! Oh, to catch a fish so big it had a saggy belly.
Now, older, well traveled, well fished, I’ve caught fish with saggy bellies. I’ve helped others catch them as well. When someone catches a big fish on the Brother Nature, I encourage them to grip the fish, head and tail, allowing the monster to sag a little, hopefully a lot, and put a grin on my face and a boyish dream in my head.