Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Bear and the Big Trout

Santiam River in Oregon
Here is a story that I'm still half-miffed about. I was a Boy Scout in Troup 138 and learned a lot from our camping trips. The one that I recall the most was our annual outdoor trip to the Santiam River. I was one of the few who had a fishing rod, and I knew how to fish because my dad taught me. One day, after our morning chores and activities were done, I went fishing and caught a dozen trout with one of them at least 18 inches. At that time it was the biggest trout that I had ever caught. I was proud of my catch, so I placed them on top of a table, carefully laying them out in order with the big one in the middle.

When I arose the next morning to my chagrin the large fish was missing. I was fit to be tied! My buddies said that a bear must have taken it, but even as a kid I knew better. I knew that one of them was the culprit and it wasn’t the Scout Master. That episode was long forgotten until some 30 years later when I ran into my old buddy Joel at a college reunion. As we began to recall the good old days, the subject of camping and fishing came up and it brought back memories. I asked Joel if he remembered our trip to the Santiam River when someone stole that big fish I caught?

Joel kind of chuckled a little and said, “Oh yeah. That was the time the bear ate your fish.”

I looked at him with a scowl and said, “Joel, that’s a bunch of malarkey. A bear would have eaten all of them, not just the big one!”

He suddenly started laughing and said, “Doug, I was the one who took your fish!”

Well, I had the urge to ring his neck, but as the old saying goes, “Time heals all wounds,” and we shook hands and continued to reminisce about the old days. However, even after more than sixty years, I’m still a little miffed about that incident.

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