I cannot count the number of conversations I have found myself in with people about hunting and fishing. However, this goes beyond those whose free moments are filled with these activities. Instead, these conversations come from those you least expect it – a random shopper at a local supermarket, a person sitting next to you on an airplane, or a person at a party who sees you walk in with a NEBRASKAland shirt on.
In the latter example, the magazine was rarely talked about. Conversations about this publication are easy to venture into with people because it is so well known throughout the region. It seems as if everyone, at one time or another, has come across a NEBRASKAland sometime in their life and thinks fondly of these moments when they decide, even for just a moment, to recollect about the publication.
Even more often the direction of the conversation moves to hunting and fishing. If nearly everyone has a NEBRASKAland story, everyone has a hunting or fishing story. It seems as if everyone basks in those moments afield, even if they are minute. A person could not have hunted since they was a child and still find fond memories of the experiences. Others swear to set aside time to “go to the lake” with their friends like they did in years past. And even others tell about the importance of introducing these outdoor pursuits to their children.
It remains fascinating to me that regardless of how often I try to change the subject during these conversations, for the mere desire to see if the dialogue will work its way back to hunting and fishing, the talk always works it way back in that direction. For people want to think about these memories.
In the movie “Field of Dreams,” James Earl Jones says the following quote. And while he is referring to the game of baseball, I can’t help but think of hunting and fishing every time I hear it: “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.”
I can’t imagine a better quote to symbolize what our outdoor pursuits are not only to those who do it everyday, but to those whose childhoods have also been blessed by these passions.
So the point of my ramblings…I still can’t help to think that if a child isn’t introduced to hunting or fishing at some point in their life that they are just missing out. They may not do it for life, they may not grow up wanting to go all the time, but chances are they will look back on these moments with fond memories. For I have never talked to anyone who hasn’t.