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Fishful Thinking

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On: Tue, Dec 2, 2008 at 9:06AM | By: Merry Beth Ryan

Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year. It is for everyone and everything we hold dear. With a name like "Merry" rest assured Christmas is even more special to me. December 25th is also my birthday and my parents got creative and spelled my name using the Christmas spirit. I never complained; my name with its spelling is unique, just as Christmas is. Ever year as the holidays get closer we all start thinking about our priorities in life. Most of them have to do with new commitments being made to spend more quality time with family and friends. With the economy so unstable more and more families are talking of foregoing their standard practices of taking a major vacation every year or two, to doing things together more often and closer to home. Fishing and boating should be put at the top of everyone's lists as good, healthy alternatives. So this Christmas, don't make it the usual video games, computer programs and other stay inside couch potato items for under the tree; give the gift of family togetherness.

Fishing and boating items go beyond just getting people outdoors; they create bonds and memories that last a lifetime. You just cannot put a price tag on the thrill of watching a youngster catch their first fish or drive a boat for the first time. This is all about quality time spent together while enjoying the beautiful waters we are blessed to have at our fingertips. The getting ready, the going, the time on the water, the talking and connecting, and the stories afterwards is what life is all about. If at some point in the process a fish interrupts, then that is a real bonus! Instead of fishing ourselves devote all your attention to helping others who may be new to the sport so they too can learn the basics. Be patient, be supportive, and get them involved. You can even let them take a turn at driving the boat when conditions allow; then they too will truly understand that water works wonders.


We all have a lot to be thankful for. There is no number of gifts wrapped under a Christmas tree with my name on them that can compare with the amount of joy I have been able to share with my niece and nephews fishing here in Florida over the years. Watching them grow up before my eyes and become better with their angling skills has put a permanent smile on my face. When they were younger they would allow me to help them bait their hooks and reel up their fish. Not anymore; they want to do everything on their own to show me just how much they have learned. I suppose the days when I used to hook a nice Snook myself and hand the rod off to them, letting them think they caught the fish, are over with. All they want to do when they arrive for their vacations is fish. Forget about Disney World and forget about X-Box and cell phones, all they care about is catching fish. This is the time of the year to go out and support your local tackle shops and shop for your special angler or your special outdoor enthusiast.

Our local tackle and bait shops need the business. My mother instilled in me at a very young age that Christmas was indeed far more than the exchanging of gifts. I am thankful to her and always will be for teaching me that. Christmas to me is being together with family and friends and being able to share wonderful happy loving times with those we love. Please, always take that extra minute to tell your loved ones you love them. Not just at Christmas time but each and every day of the year. Family and friends are two very powerful things. Remember to help others who may be less fortunate than you and I when you can. The spirit of Santa Claus can come into our lives each and every day if we allow him to. The smallest gesture to you may be a grand gesture to the person on the receiving end. Merry Christmas to you all. I hope your holidays are filled with lots of fish, and lots of happiness.


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