The Greatest Christmas Gift

When December rolls around it is customary to exclaim how quickly the year has passed. It is also very common to say the years pass more quickly as we age. Somewhere between these it occurs that time flies when we are having fun. I prefer to disregard that turning sixty-three in a couple weeks would explain time speeding by and focus instead on how fun my life is.

I graduated high school the year my granddad hung up his tool belt and retired from his job as an electrician. I didn't just think he was old, I was certain of it. Looking back I realize my youthful folly and just like this morning, trailing five much younger chaps exiting the duck marsh in carefully placed footsteps, when a twenty-year-old called back, "Do you need help?" I replied- "Nah, I can do most everything I've always done, I just do it a little slower." It is kind of cool though, being the guy with the most, "I remember when" stories.

Growing older is hopefully also growing wiser and when I look back on what has been a wonderful outdoor career I am increasingly reminded of the responsibility we have to get young people involved in the outdoors. Dickie Colburn has been writing the Sabine Scene for this magazine going on a decade and I am always heartened that he closes his columns with, "Take the kids fishing."

We have two great examples in this issue of the powerful impact getting young people hooked on the outdoors can have and how it can affect their lives for many years to come. First we have young Mallory Grimes on the cover. Mallory is an exemplary eighth-grade student; Bay City junior-high cheerleader who her father brags, "Has never made a B in her life." Mallory as you can see is also an accomplished young outdoors-woman.

We also have a great tale from Cory Johnson, an avid angler who lives in Corpus Christi. Cory shares a story of how much it meant to take his ailing father on a fishing trip to Baffin Bay for both of them.

These things do not occur by accident or luck, they are the product of adults introducing young people to the outdoors during their formative years. Through teaching them responsible ways to interact with nature and putting forth effort to keep them involved as they grow, and someday sharing the same with children of their own.

So in addition to the newest electronic game and gadget every young person is hoping to find under the Christmas tree, you might consider gifts that could make an even greater impact on their young lives. Outdoor gear for fishing, hunting, hiking, camping. Give them a big hug Christmas morning and have them help plan a list of adventures and places to visit in Texas in the coming year. Tell them how much you look forward to spending time together. The possibilities are endless and some day they just might be that lucky sixty-something person in the boat and blind with the coolest stories. It worked for me!

Merry Christmas!