PORT ARTHUR — Working with thousands of kids over the years, I have found that I can take something like a football and some will have zero interest.
I can even take video games and a couple will sort of walk away with no zeal for the opportunity. However, when an animal comes into the equation all of the kids light up.
I have had some kids afraid of animals brought into various situations but they remained excited.
My Chris Houghton and I took his daughters Emily and Kaitlyn perch fishing at a beautiful park located in a remote area of the county we live in. I arrived early and scanned a few spots for fish and while organizing tackle could see the girls coming down the trail toward the pond.
Their smiles were wide, eyes bright and the demeanor was peaceful yet extremely excited.
It did not take long to put them on perch and watch their enthusiasm grow along with their confidence. At first, they wanted us to throw out their bait, but soon they demanded to do it themselves.
Remembering my childhood, there were hundreds of days like this.
We relentlessly pursued the garfish, grinnel, catfish, sun perch and occasional bass in the Newton and Irving Street gullies in West Orange.
Liking to the much larger Adams Bayou these canals wound through the community and enthusiastic kids always fished those two key junctions. Now I drive around the same areas and around other fishing locations in the community and see very few kids.
A couple of spots have “No Fishing” signs, while others are simply barren of laughing, yelling, bragging kids bent on something bending their rod. It makes me sad but it is not surprising.
A couple of years ago my wife and I talked about the lack of school age children in our neighborhood. Other than a group of fun-loving skaters who cruise through the area from time to time, we rarely saw any kids.