THE BALLAD OF WHIT AND DUANE
"It Was More Than Fishing"
Written by Duane Leonidas Broxson

My father loved
to catch the trout,
But the trip was more
Than that, no doubt.

A lesson in
The strength of will,
Echoes through
My memory still.

A home place where
They loved and lived,
By the creek,
Down under the hill.

It emptied soon,
Into another stream,
Where boys became men,
And my father dreamed.

A crystal creek through a basin swamp
Of cypress, juniper, and pine,
Over curving holes twenty feet deep,
We could cast our line.

My dad would skull the flat nosed boat,
Through runs and basins we would go,
With powerful arms and rhythmic time,
Its bow would rock too and fro.

Skull he would, up the swift creek,
We'd go for miles and miles,
He'd never tire, or if he should,
He'd still skull for awhile.

Moving close, next to the bank,
We'd see an otter slide,
And watch him slip down in the creek,
To catch a fish, his prize.
We'd watch real close for the gator's eyes,
We knew he'd be right there,
My dad would reckon up his size,
He'd give us both a stare.

He'd watch me fish and catch a bass,
Then we'd jump for joy,
I'd pull him through the swirling grass,
And he'd say "Hold him boy!"

That skulling job, he'd never quit,
And surely I knew why,
I'll keep it in my heart and soul,
Until the day I die.

Oh no, he'd never quit,
And all the men knew too,
Not one man on this river land,
Could match the things he'd do.

Down the creek he'd ride pine logs,
His peavy in his hand,
When they'd jam up on a curve,
He'd set them free again.

With a crosscut saw, he'd down a pine,
Then shave it with and adz,
The crossties cut were slick and smooth,
The best ones to be had.

With juniper trees he'd work with mama,
And split them with a fro,
Draw them down with the sharpest knife,
She'd stack them in a row.

To sweat and never whine,
To tire and no one know,
Up the creek we'd go.
His job, to get me there.
His will, I'll get you there.

My heart and soul confirm,
This lesson here I've learned,
I'll never quit on those I love,
My name is Little Whit.

My turn now, I'd watch him cast,
His every throw just right,
Right over the jutting stumps,
Right by the swirling grass.

Working the bait right off the bank,
I'd watch him get a strike,
A Jack fish lunge would take the bait,
A back jointed river Pike.

Right and left the fish would go,
Then up and jump, he'd shake the bait,
His red gill flashing,
Through the wake.

My dad would play him
On that line,
He'd show is green side,
Slick with slime.

Dad would catch him
through the gill,
Oh my goodness
What a thrill!

There's in my mind
And soul today,
A memory proud
That won't go away,

A humble man,
Strong and brave,
That in his moments,
To his son gave,

A will to strive,
And not give in,
To things that crush you
From within.

It was more than fishing and my daddy knew,
So here's a word from me to you,
I'll never quit on those I love,
My name is Little Whit.


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© 2006 By Duane Leonidas Broxson... All rights reserved

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