Two Rivers Outdoors-With John L. Sloan
Feb-4, 2009

Uncle Lloyd, Uncle Lester…and Me.

You can have a father and you can have a mentor. Sometimes they are all in one. Sometimes not. I had a father. I had two mentors. My father was not either of my mentors. I had Uncle Lloyd and I had Uncle Lester. The fact neither of them were related to each other or to me, made absolutely no difference. I called them uncle because it was simply easier than explaining why they spent so much time with knuckle-headed kid like me. It is a bit of an honorific title in the South. A sign of respect or affection.

Now here is where I am going with this. Uncle Lloyd Dyess, the man who more or less raised me, has been dead for several years. Uncle Lester Paul, the man who slapped me silly when I needed it, is still alive and kicking like a mule that has barbwire traces. But see, the thing is, I spent a whole lot of time in a fishing boat or deer camp with Lloyd and Lester. I still spend a day or so each year with Uncle Lester.

Last week, after several years of not sharing a boat with a “Lloyd”. I did. I went fishing with Lloyd Jett. Lloyd Jett is dying. He has cancer and they have pretty much done what they can. And he is real quick to tell you that. He is okay with it. He has already beaten the doctor’s odds. I suspect his wife Sally just told him he had to.
So we went fishing.

Lloyd Jett is a lure collector and even makes some. Ever met an antique lure collector? I have only met a few. In addition to being collectors, they are raconteurs. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, that means they can, everyone I have ever known, tell story after story. Lloyd Jett is a close friend of fellow lure collector Robert Pitman. Even thought they are the same age, could be Lloyd in a way is a mentor to Robert when it comes to antique lures. I never gave much thought to lure collecting until I found out what they were worth. Then I also figured out what they cost. Lures, even old ones, are made to be fished with. (I know Kiki, don’t end a sentence with a preposition. Always end with a proposition…if you collect lures.) But anyway, Last Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, I shared a boat with Lloyd Jett.

Old habits die hard. I had gotten in the habit of “sharing” information with Uncle Lloyd. That information in the later years, took the form of “[censored] it Unc-cast in front of the boat!” Fifty years ago that phrase was reversed. But Monday afternoon, with Lloyd Jett throwing some 500 year-old relic of a lure on a rod that was worn out when Coolidge was running the country. We caught one fish.

That is not what I was at White Oak to do.

So last Tuesday with the fog slowly lifting into a roseate kind of day Lloyd Jett and I were fishing. We swapped stories and were picking up a bass or two here there, we shared stories of times gone by and old friends who no longer shared boat. And I caught myself once, just as he set hook, about to turn and say, “Uncle Lloyd, do you need the net?” I didn’t. I faced the front and I guess I had a bug in my eye because it got pretty wet there for a minute or so.

And at some point that morning, Lloyd Jett said to me, “I’m coming back in a month or so and we have to do this again.” I assured him I’d be there whenever he was ready.

Then I had a thought. What if we could get him and Uncle Lester together at the same time for and afternoon or morning on one of the White Oak Lakes?

Once again, one more time, I could share a boat with Uncle Lloyd and Uncle Lester. Wouldn’t that be something?

And no, I have no problem calling Lloyd Jett, Uncle Lloyd

BTW- This is copywritten big time.

Constipation has ruined many a good day. Not as many as stupidity, though.