As I answered the phone, Ms. Wanda says, Billy, I want you to come over and get this silver truck.
I said, OK Ms. Wanda, does it need repairs or do you want me to put it up for sale for you or what?
I was stunned when she replied, No, theres nothing wrong with the truck and I dont want or need to sell it. God keeps telling me to give it to you and I know beyond any doubt that Cliff would have wanted me to give it to you.
An eerie silence followed as I was so shocked. For once in my life I had nothing to say. Then I told her she should sell the truck but she firmly insisted she wanted to give it to me. I told her that although God had told her to give me the truck he had not mentioned to me that I should take it, and then asked that she give me a few days to think about it and ask God if he wanted me to accept the truck. We agreed, and after four days I called her and said, God wanted to know how Mr. Cliff was ever going to get down the beach if I didnt take him in that silver truck.
Next day, Jeff Wolda, the new guide on PINS, chauffeured me down to Bishop and we picked up the truck.
Clean as a whistle; the 2003 Dodge Ram four wheel drive with 40,015 miles on it is any outdoorsmans dream come true. And being that Mr. Cliff Wilson was the oldest and most consistent beach fisherman, the truck comes complete with a couple of back in the day add-ons that are absolutely to-die-for and unseen on todays so-called state of the art vehicles. A chuck wagon style kitchen cabinet that attaches to the side of the camper and a full-sized table that mounts into the rear receiver hitch. WHAT A HOOT!
Although I will take this truck down the beach from time to time, my old blue Suburban will continue usage as my riding fence vehicle as it remains in good condition for the job. I can see the silver truck going on lots of walkabout for years to come.
Riding fence on PINS has been anything but boring or non-productive. We have discovered and reported to proper authorities an oil spill and an oiled bird, kept logs on the fall bird migrations, found and reported an illegal gill net containing a 6-foot shark to National Marine Fisheries Enforcement Agents, and rescued a stranded Clymene dolphin. Jeff Wolda and David Sikes and I found it and reported it and stayed with it till others arrived.
For some reason NPS seems to be unimpressed with our efforts but by God Im impressed with them and so are a lot of other good folks. A lot of good and recorded data is resulting from this program and I can see a very real and serious need for it. One great thing about this data is that it will be available to any and all who might have use of it instead of inaccessible in some dusty archives somewhere.
We have not yet got the website finalized but its a work in progress and when completed data will be available.
Jeff Wolda seems to be doing well at his new position as the guide on PINS. They had their first jack crevalle on a fly this week. Jeff has been regularly assisting in riding fence when he is not chartered. His contact number is 361-215-8400 and his web site is PI-Adventures.com.
The 2013 Big Shell Beach Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday 23 February and the Bassler Cleanup at Port Mansfield is scheduled for 16 March 2013. For info concerning this cleanup call Katie Bassler at 979-535-4593 or e-mail her at www.basslerenergyservices.com
I want to share something with you that has been seared into my brain for almost half a century. It is the words of an old song by Lorne Greene, as I recall, that I learned while working as a cowboy in Montana in 1965.
One day as I rode on the desert
Dust clouds were whirling around
As I stop to survey all the beauty thats here
A shadow sweeps out oer the ground
Its an eagle while casting his splendor
And he calls to his friends on the hill
Stay close together and move not a feather
Man walks among us. Be still. Be still.
Man walks among us. Be still.
Everything hides but I see them
Ive spotted an ol mother quail
As I look close I see
Looking right back at me
The eyes of a young cottontail
I see the coyote slinking in the brush
And along the glade of the hill
And the eagle screams down
Stay close to the ground
Man walks among us be still
Man walks among us be still
Twenty feet high in the side of a cactus
I see the hole where the butcher bird stays
If mortals could choose and if heaven should ask us
Here is where Id want to spend all of my days
Soon all will be gone on the desert
Cities will cover each hill
Today will just be a fond memory
Man walks among us be still, be still
Man walks among us be still.
Although it saddens me deeply, I know there will be some reading these words and wondering where Im going with this, what has this got to do with fishing. But I ask; have you looked at your surroundings lately? Have you noticed any change in the climate? Have you noticed any change in the fisheries? Do you know and have you wondered why restaurants in San Antonio will not buy black drum from Baffin Bay because of their poor quality?
Well, you better take notice. We all better notice. Academics talk about being careful as to the footprint that we leave on planet Earth. Careful hell, our footprint is in miles of concrete and asphalt, wind turbines standing high and cutting anything that crosses their path in half, dammed and polluted rivers, and estuaries starved for freshwater inflow.
Think Ill go to the ranch and talk to a cactus and listen to the sound of the coyote and the owl.If we dont leave any; there wont be any. -Billy