Used Jon Boats for Sale in NC
by Dr. John Luton
Sometimes it’s the little things that matter most.
The ad in the newspaper read, “Used Jon Boats for Sale in NC.” So, that’s how it all got started. I never would have believed how those seven little words would affect my life. I guess we all take a lot of little things like that for granted, and then we find out those little things were really quite significant. That’s how it was for me with my two friends Lewis and Malcolm.
I wonder what my ol’ buddy Lewis was thinking when he first read those words: “Used Jon Boats for Sale in NC.” I can just imagine how it was . . .
“Look here -- they’ve got some used Jon boats for sale in NC. Reckon we oughta get us one and do some creek fishing?” Lewis’s words sounded more like a plan for action, rather than a question he didn’t know the answer to.
“Yep, that’s exactly what we ought to do, Lewis,” Malcolm chipped in. “I ain’t been fishing for bream in a coon’s age. I can taste those fish right now, can’t you?”
Lewis smiled and nodded his affirmation to his buddy of more than fifty years. The two had been through a lot. Both had battled cancer, each with only limited success. At their family’s insistence, they’d also sold the motor boat that they used to fish the creeks in northeastern North Carolina.
Lately, though, a new preacher had come down from the big city and rekindled their desire to fish again. As Lewis put it, they’d been “bitten again by the fishing bug” – that unexplainable inkling that makes a person want to hit the creek waters and dangle a line off the side of a boat. It didn’t need to be a fancy boat, a Jon boat with no motor at all would do just fine. Lewis picked up the newspaper and studied the ad carefully through his bifocals.
“Used Jon boats for sale in NC,” Lewis repeated the words. “Makes it sound like they’ve got a whole slew of them for sale. Maybe we can get one for a real good price. What you wanna do buddy?”
“I think maybe we oughta get us one, Lewis. That way we can take that preacher fishing. He’s been hinting that he’d like to go.”
“Yeah,” Lewis said with a serious tone. “If he’s got his heart set on going fishing with us, I reckon we shouldn’t disappoint him.”
The matter was settled and the purchase made.
Over the next couple of years, the new preacher and his two seasoned guides crammed in more fishing than some people do in a lifetime. As soon as the weather broke in the spring, they’d plop that ol’ Jon boat into the creek behind Lewis’s house and reel in the bream fish. Once in a while, they’d even hook a catfish. The three fished right up until the first frost each year. In the off season, their conversations offered a balanced mixture of good times enjoyed and adventures yet to be shared. Who could have imagined so much fun would come from a “Used Jon Boats for Sale in NC” ad in the newspaper!
When the preacher left the church to accept a teaching position, Lewis and Malcolm continued their Jon boat adventures as long as their health permitted. Afterward, stories of better days continued to fill their moments together.
Then, all too quickly, both men were gone, bequeathing several summers of Jon boat fishing excursions to their surviving fishing partner and former pastor – me.
“Used Jon Boats for Sale in NC”
I couldn’t believe it when I looked at my newspaper and saw those familiar words again: “Used Jon Boats for Sale in NC.” Suddenly, it all came back to me as though it had been only yesterday. All those memories of the good times we shared in that ol’ Jon boat. I read the ad and wondered whether Lewis and Malcolm would have thought it was a good deal. I also wondered what ever became of our old Jon boat.
It’s funny how a little thing like a newspaper ad can trigger such vivid memories – memories of people who have deeply enriched our lives. Then again, it’s just another example of how little things can turn into something big – and quite wonderful.
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