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Old 03-30-2006, 10:03 AM
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Chip Chipman Chip Chipman is offline
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Hitching A Ride With Harvey P.

HITCHING A RIDE WITH HARVEY P.

By Chip Chipman


When I was a kid in Maine, one of my favorite trout streams was nine miles away from the little town that was home. It was to far to walk. We were to young to have driver’s licenses. So, with my fishing pals, Wharfrat and Crowbait, we did what every other kid in the same situation did. When we wanted to go swimming or fishing, we hitch hiked.

We knew most people who gave us a ride. It wasn’t considered dangerous back then, unless you got in with Forest Woods, who more often than not was half in the bag. I had orders from my parents not to accept rides from Forest. Wharfrat rode with him once. When they got rolling, Wharfrat notice the absence of a steering wheel. In place of the steering wheel, Forest had a monkey wrench.

We often caught our limit of brook trout and headed home with stringers of fish. One hot July day we stood beside U.S. Route 1 for over an hour. Car after car went by. Finally old Harvard Phineas Farkle came along in his old Ford pickup. Harvey P. to the adults, Mr. Farkle to us kids, was one of the best fishermen around.

I got in the front, Wharfrat and Crowbait climbed in the rear with the fish, which by then had become somewhat odoriferous.
Harvey said, “ I thought you boys had some sense.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Who’s gonna stop and give you a ride with all those stinking fish?
“We always have trouble getting a ride home,” I replied
“I don’t wonder,” snorted Harvey, “What are you gonna do with all those fish?”
“Well, Wharfrat feeds them to his cats. Crowbait and I give them away if we can find someone who wants them.”
Harvey muttered something, which I could not quite hear and I didn’t think I really wanted to hear it anyway.
“Did you ever think about putting the fish back?” he asked.
“They’re dead,” I said.
“Very funny, bonehead. Put’em back and you can catch’em again and they can reproduce and there will fish for the future. If everyone took as many fish out of that brook as you boys do there wouldn’t be any fish left.”

Harvey continued his lecture, “And I’ll guarantee you another thing. You’ll get a ride a whole lot quicker without a bunch of stinking fish.”

That summer, so long ago, converted three boys to catch and release. Harvey was right on both counts. We did start to get rides sooner and young boys still catch trout in that little stream.
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