- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"Lost it!" I yelled across to Graham.
"But you put up a jolly good fight!"
That shout came not from Graham. It came from a party of four who had watched from the bridge. So absorbed had I been that I never knew they were there. They gave me a hand and I tipped my hat to them.
I stopped on the road today to ask directions of a lollipop lady. A lollipop lady? One who halts traffic to let schoolchildren cross the road, using for a stop sign a dingus the shape of a big red lollipop. I thanked her. "Pleasure, my angel," she said. A touch of old Hampshire, I'm told.
Romsey, Hants., England
Yesterday, the weekend over, the party gone and with no trout anywhere to be seen, I thought I'd have a try for that pike. Dorothy accompanied me. The fish lay in the same spot—hadn't moved an inch. Using a Mepps spinner, I made a cast across stream and reeled it slowly past the fish. It struck. I struck back, hooked and in the same second lost it. I cast again instantly. Again the fish struck, and this time it was hooked solidly. The spinning rod was a small one, the line light, and the fight that ensued took me up and down the island several times before the fish surfaced. The net, a big net, hardly contained it. An old fish, to judge by its worn and blunted teeth, one that had devoured many a trout and duckling. Once again, word of my catch has spread through the valley, bringing invitations to fish other waters and rid them of these predators.
Rain has set in, as though to make up at once for the long dry spell. With no fishing possible I made the obligatory pilgrimage to the Cathedral in Winchester. On the gravestone of Jane Austen, inlaid in the floor of the aisle, rested a bouquet of flowers fresh from a florist. To the sender, Jane Austen was as alive as ever in life, for on the card accompanying the bouquet was written, "In gratitude."
Then to the Walton chapel. To most of the brotherhood their Izaak is more their patron than the sainted Peter (who, after all, fished with a net), and in 1914 the anglers of England and America honored him with a stained-glass window in the chapel of this great cathedral, where he's buried. Walton had two rivers in his long life, as he had two wives. Of his rivers, the first was the Staffordshire Dove; that of his old age (he lived to 90) was the Itchen, which flowed then, as it does now, just outside the walls of the Cathedral close. In the window's two portraits of him he's doing what English anglers in the course of a day's fishing do so much of: not fishing. In one he's reading, and in the other he's saying grace over his and his companion's streamside lunch.
Out by invitation to dinner last evening, the conversation turned to my native state. Said a citizen of this self-sufficient corner of the world, "Now, where is Texas?"
Romsey, Hants., England