It was 1974.
President Richard Nixon was less than three months from resigning in disgrace over the Watergate Scandal. Gas was fifty five cents a gallon, and sometimes you had to wait in lines stretching around the block to get some, due to shortages.
The World Trade Center (then the tallest buildings in the world) was just a year old. The US had extricated itself from the Vietnam War a year earlier. No more nightly body counts reported by Walter Cronkite.
For a young boy in east Tennessee, these events were curious and unfathomable. Of more immediate interest was how to catch fish in a lake near Cookeville where we sometimes were invited to stay at an honest to goodness fishing cabin owned by one of dad’s friends.
Fishing attire had not come of age, so in place of cool quick-dry high tech fabrics, we wore jeans, sneakers, old army shirts (my personnel favorite) or t-shirts.
Our boat was rented, but dad had a little 6 horsepower Evinrude to push us around the lake. There were no electronics, no casting deck or comfortable chairs. We got wet when it rained, and hot when the sun beat down.
Dad was our fish finder, and he seemed to always find fish on this lake. For kids, using live bait was our lot. It it was effective, but mainly we used it because it was cheap. Artificial lures or “plugs”, were too easy for us to lose. Hooks, bobbers and sinkers could be more reasonably replaced, and we could always dig our own worms.
In a scant six years I would be married and in the Air Force. Presidents, war, costs of living would occupy more of my conscious thought. Manhood invariably overtook boyhood. Although we didn’t visit this lake often, the memories are indelible, providing refuge grown-up pressures invade.
It was 1974.