Right under your nose

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When I was a kid, I lived, breathed, ate, drank and slept fishing. I remember once when I was home sick with strep, my Mom brought me some fishing magazines, and I read them cover-to-cover, over-and-over, for four days. Burned ’em into my brain. I had this recurring dream throughout those years. In the dream, I discovered that there was a pond right in the park across the street from my house. Somehow it had been there all along, but I had never noticed it. And this pond had some huge fish swimming in it. So I’d walk over there, toss in a line, and pull out these monster world-record bass. That’s right, world record bass right up there in Massachusetts. And for an obsessed kid who was still years away from driving, having a fishing spot not only within biking distance, but actually right across the street? It was almost better than that time my buddy Tommy and I found his grandfather’s Playboy stash. But I digress…So cut to real life, a few years later. One day in Junior High, I was talking to some friends, and I randomly learned that maybe a couple hundred yards away from the school, on the side opposite how I always arrived, there was a small pond. I’d never seen it because we never went over there. It was past the teacher’s parking lot, and students weren’t allowed over on that side of the building. So I’d never known it existed before that day. Learning that that pond was there was my old childhood dream actually coming true. Constantly that spring, I’d pedal back over there with my gear, trying to catch whatever was hidden in that murky water. Nothing much ever came of it, maybe a couple bluegill here and there. But still, this city kid was fishing, a mere stone’s throw from his house. And then one day, the owners, whose house backed up to the other side of the pond, decided to drain it. And as quickly as the dream had materialized, it vanished. I hadn’t thought about that pond in a long time, until the other day. I had taken the kids to the you paint pottery place here in town, a place we’ve been to plenty of times. And when we were walking out the door, I noticed that across the street is a pretty substantial used book store. Somehow I’ve lived in or near this town for like 15 years, and I’d never noticed that store before. Apparently it’s been there that whole time too. I just hadn’t noticed. And for the 45 year-old version of me, a big ol’ used bookstore is pretty much equivalent to a fishing pond for the 13 year-old me. I’d better get in there before they close down.


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