This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

June 14th, 2004


Did you notice the past week how civil most folks were? A little extra courtesy? Even a lack of road rage as we witnessed on the freeway traffic in southern California when traffic just stopped and people got out of their cars to pay honor to the funeral procession headed to the Reagan Library - on the California Freeway! Wow.

Actually I missed the 'quiet' when the whole week of formal events ended.

Having spent 17 years as an Army wife, I may be more aware of military traditions than some of you, but I know we have a lot of veterans who read FAOL, who also value the history and tradition the past week's events represented. A state funeral is a huge undertaking, and the Reagan family and the U.S. government are to be congratulated for how well everything was done. For the week, I was proud to be an American.

The honors given to a former President Reagan are the same as were given to Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy, except for the changes requested by each remaining family in music, burial places and timing, stand as 'tradition' and history as to how this country honors it's former Presidents. We hope we don't experience another state funeral any time soon - but for me I do find it comforting. It was also uplifting that for a week the country came together and put aside the petty political bickering which I personally find very distasteful and tacky. (Well, there were a few who seemed to have been born in a barn, and my grandmother would have given them a look which would have made them wish there were turned into stone, or salt.)

I do not believe there is something called 'closure' when it comes to death of a loved one - but publicly showing honor goes a long way.

I know my personal beliefs about common courtesy, manners, ethics and morality may chafe some. Especially in a society where 'everything' is ok. Well, everything isn't ok.

Some of our readers have commented about the lack of common sense, much less manners, which one of our panfish writers, Rick runs into on a fairly regular basis. In one of his upcoming columns, he is packing up to leave and a guy comes along and literally tries to take Rick's rod out of his hands - saying he isn't catching anything and Rick should 'give' it to him.

There have also been some comments about bad behavior on streams, walking or taking a boat through where someone else is fishing. We have that out here too, unfortunately it is often the guides with driftboats causing the problem!

Why is that happening? Why do we allow people to get away with it? Political correctness gone amuck?

People who abuse the privilege of fishing or using our streams really know better. (I think they really do) but they just aren't going to play by the rules.

Would a psychologist say these people have really low self-esteem, and they 'act-out' to make themselves more important? Maybe. Maybe they don't have an sense of honor. You've seen it.

In fact, I stopped watching major league football when the players were blowing big pink bubbles of gum during the National Anthem.

Oh yes, I darn well did notice men removing their hats, or saluting, or bowing their heads, or putting their hand over their heart when the flag passed by this week. Not a bubble-gum popper in the bunch.

I suspect these aren't the folks who are trashing our streams, can't bother to haul out what they hauled in.

I am not excusing bad behavior of people who disrespect our steams or other anglers - nor am I in any way suggesting they belong to any particular political party or fish with worms. (Excuse me, I fished with worms.) I certainly am not excusing the person who runs their boat into your fishing hole because you are catching fish and they aren't. Or any of the unthinking, discourteous behavior which we see. There simply isn't any excuse at all.

My column last week had to do with Touchstones - how we are all connected to every other fly fisher who ever lived. And I do mean every fly fisher, we too walk in Walton's footsteps - even 'tho we may not have fished the north country streams he fished. As we gain knowledge in fly fishing it becomes all the more true how little we really know at all...and how much those before us knew - or didn't.

As fly fishers we have available to us tradition which has been established from almost the very beginning of our sport. That some things are 'sporting' and some are not. In duck hunters terms, you don't shoot a sitting duck. Part of that tradition is following the law, doing the right thing even if no one is watching - because doing the right thing doesn't have to be excused.

Being an honorable person means you know what honor is.

This past week was a lesson in honor. ~ DLB

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