Before I worked for SERVPRO, I had driven school bus for the River Falls and Hudson School Districts for years. At one of my stops for River Falls, I picked up two young girls, both very imaginative and VERY creative. One morning while coming around the turn, I found the youngest with a small stick with string attached to it in her hand. She was dipping it in a small puddle, no bigger than 10 minutes worth of rain, waiting like there was something in there she was going catch.
When I pulled up and opened the door, her sister got on the bus first, rolled her eyes at me and said, “She’s waiting for the ‘Big One.’” I looked at this little red-haired freckle-face as she came running for the bus and I asked, ‘Catch anything yet?’ “Nope, but there is always tomorrow,” said the red freckles back to me as she quickly found her seat. So, it went on like this for several days; stick, line, puddle, ‘Catch anything?’ “Nope but there is always tomorrow!” Until one day, I pulled up and saw that the line was different on the pole, it wasn’t just a tattered string; it looked almost like a hair ribbon. This time Little Red was looking at me instead of her line with a great big grin. When I came to a stop, she took off like a shot! Running with all her might raising this stick above her head, revealed several different spots where brightly colored construction paper fish cut out in different sizes and that had been taped and evenly spaced on the red ribbon, flapping in the breeze above the little red ponytail like a great kite. I started laughing, the bus started laughing and then we started applauding. She had proved us all wrong and all it took was an entire night of cutting out different shapes of construction paper, some tape and a hair ribbon – a contribution from her sister.
Later that year, when she and her family came to visit me at a community event in town where I was selling my cartoon work, I gave her a 8.5 x 11 cartoon of a little red-haired girl, fishing in a bucket and at the bottom I just wrote, ‘Fish where you want.’ Her Mom, so shocked at what had transpired between her daughter and I, gave me a hug.
Everyday I interact with numerous people. Some busy in thought, some looking over the horizon to something else, some angry where they are in life and some just wishing to be anywhere but here. Every now and then, I come across someone who has just cast a line into a bucket and is waiting to catch something. Every time I see this, I applaud them.
Remember that, only you have the power to “Turn It Around.”
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Points of interest in the drawing:
1. The Fishing Pole: My Dad always swore by bamboo-cane-poles with an old style round, red and white bobbers. He had THOUSANDS of dollars of fishing equipment in the boathouse but, he used a “stick” instead. It use to drive me insane until years later I realized it was the quietness that he was after … not the fish.
2. The Big Gray Metal Bucket: The metal bucket we used all the time to prime the pump for the water line to get water running to the cabin. As the smallest, it was my job to run back and forth from the lake to fill the bucket once it was poured out and more was needed. There were two things that always “crunched” my fingers when I was a kid – carrying those big marine batteries for the trolling motors … and that metal pale full of lake water. I wasn’t a fan of either.
3. There is electrician’s tape on the end of the pole, we always wrapped the tips because it helped strengthen the knot at the end of the pole where the line was tied … or the stupid thing just broke!