Back in the “good ole’ days” of Better Barns, when things were simpler, and I didn’t have a family to support, there were a lot of things done that had nothing whatsoever to do with producing storage sheds. Vance and I were both young. I was in my teens, and Vance in his early twenties. Neither of us were married. Life was good!
I could tell you many stories (and I may someday) about being called upon to help Vance haul a deer out of the woods, or chase cows out of the yard, or fight nearby fires. We worked hard and played hard and enjoyed every minute of life. Well, almost every minute.
Our favorite pastime was fishing. The production facility at Better Barns sits on a family farm with over 300 acres to roam. There are several ponds. One of them lies just to the North of our shop. It wasn’t uncommon to find us there on lunch break or after hours…Or sometimes during work hours.
Vance and his family moved to Oklahoma from Hobbs, New Mexico. Hobbs is a good-sized city and is the county seat of Lea county. In all of Lea county, there is only one bridge. Just one. If you lived in Hobbs, you had to travel a pretty good ways to find a decent fishing spot. So, Vance felt like he had moved to paradise!
One day, Todd – Vance’s best friend – came to see Vance. Todd was from Hobbs and also liked to go fishing. We worked a little bit and then set out to catch some fish. We fished a little while without any luck. Todd and Vance circled around the pond one way while I went the other. I settled in a spot under a shade tree and sent my lure whizzing out into the pond again. No luck.
As I reeled in the line, the hook from my little rooster tail lure hung up in the thick moss about 10-15 feet from the bank. My rooster tail was my favorite and most effective lure. I did not intend to lose it! I worked my line back and forth with increasing violence. At last, it popped loose! The line whipped to the left, then back to the right.
I felt something smack me in the face. I thought it was just a wad of moss. I reached up to brush it off. It was not moss. It was my rooster tail! Two barbs of the treble hook had sunk into my face at the left corner of my mouth – one just above the top lip and one just below the bottom lip. They pinned my mouth partway shut. I tried to just pull them out, but they were in past the barb.
I tried to get Vance and Todd’s attention by waving at them across the pond. They saw me and yelled across the pond to see what I needed. Well, my mouth wouldn’t open all the way, so I couldn’t yell very loudly. I did communicate to them that I needed some assistance. They headed around the pond and I headed toward them. I had cut the line and left my pole by my shade tree.
We got together, and Vance helped me by cutting my rooster tail lure loose where only the treble hook remained. Vance tried to pull the hook out with his pliers, but it just wouldn’t come out. Finally, we trekked back to the shop. Vance found a new razor blade for our utility knives, and washed it thoroughly. He made a little slit for each barb, and out came the hook!
Thus ended our fishing escapade for the day. It went down as the largest thing I have ever hooked while fishing! We still laugh about the day that Tyler went fishing and caught himself.