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How to Catch Redfish (and Live LIfe more Fully

By Jackie Cushman

Published onTownhall.com

Sea Island, Georgia. -- Normally the sound of the surf can be heard faintly throughout the house on the coast to Georgia. This morning the volume seems to have increased a few decibels. As I look east, towards the sunrise, the ocean appears to be closer to the house than normal.
This higher than normal tide reminds me of a conversation I overheard the day before.

My husband, son and I decided to brave the overcast and rainy Thanksgiving morning weather and joined a boat tour of the marsh area surrounding St. Simons Island. Also on the boat tour was an extended family from the Fort Worth area.

At the time of the tour, the water was about 2 hours before low tide and the high water mark was clearly visible above the water. These marks lead to a discussion about the timing of the tides and the impacts on fishing in the area. One of the gentlemen from Fort Worth was discussing with the captain the upcoming "flood tide," trying to determine the timing and impact of the upcoming higher than-normal morning high tide. The reference to a "flood tide," was one I had never heard before. As I understood their conversation, a flood tide occurs when the high tide is higher than normal, creating a flood in low-lying areas.

Of course, where there is water, there is also the possibility of fish.

This flooding allows redfish to swim into areas that are normally dry, providing them with access to fiddler crabs, which are normally not accessible to them. This opportunity for the fish (access to fiddler crabs) ends up being an opportunity for fishermen (a higher concentration of redfish than normal).

Flood tides occur once a month, with the full moon. If you know when they are going to occur, then you can take advantage of the opportunity and, potentially, catch more fish than normal.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, opportunity is the "favorable juncture of circumstances," or "a good chance for advancement or progress." In this case, the opportunity for the fisherman during a flood tide is the unusually large number of fish in a particular area, leading to the possibility that he will catch more fish than he usually does.

If you are not aware of the flood tide, the opportunity can become a hazard. The boats can travel into the marsh with the tide, but when it recedes, those aboard can be left high and dry, stuck in an area that will not see tide water again for another month.

Once this occurs, they are left with the option of dragging the boat through the mud, back into the water, or leaving the boat until the next flood tide unlodges it.

Serious fishermen, who want to take advantage of the flood tide opportunities as they happen, study the tides and phases of the moon to determine the best possible fishing times. They determine the best locations by talking to other, more experienced fishermen, or by watching the flood tides over time to determine where the water will go. Rather than leaving their fishing to chance, these fishermen attempt to provide themselves with the best opportunity to be successful at fishing.

Fishermen can increase their chances of success by showing up at the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment (including, in this case, a jig, a fishing lure with a lead sinker, hook and soft body covering made to resemble a fiddler crab).

Properly armed with information, equipment, location and timing, the fisherman is more likely to be able to take advantage of the opportunity the flood tide provides. However, ever the best fisherman, ill prepared can squander an opportunity.

Now, here's the hook: Throughout life, opportunities occur. Sometimes, we are able to take advantage of them; other times we do not even recognize they existed until after they are gone. The questions we might ask ourselves include: Are we paying attention to the surrounding landscape? Do we prepare for and then recognize the opportunities so we can take advantage of them while they are here? When opportunities present themselves, do we have all the equipment necessary to take full advantage of them, or will we simply allow ourselves to be swept up, tossed about and then left high and dry?

Copyright 2007 by Jackie Cushman
All Rights Reserved

 

 
Please Pass the Turkey and Dressing

By Jackie Cushman

Published on Townhall.com

Since the initial celebration between the pilgrims and the Indians 386 years ago, Thanksgiving has become a day of family gatherings, feasting, football and the last respite before the start of the Christmas shopping season.
We all vaguely know the story: In 1621, the pilgrims invited the Wampanoag Indians to join them in celebration of the fall harvest. The Indians traveled for several days, created their own camp and stayed with the pilgrims for three days of feasting and celebration. This first Thanksgiving sounds similar to our tradition of family members invading the home of others in their family for days on end.

Thanksgiving received official status in 1789, with George Washington's first presidential proclamation, which designated the 26th day of November next, to be set aside for thanksgiving. "It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God and to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor," he wrote.

For decades afterward, different states set aside different dates to celebrate Thanksgiving. It took the persistent efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale to get the nation to observe a single day as Thanksgiving.

Hale was born in New Hampshire in 1788. Her brother, Horatio, helped her receive an education by teaching her what he learned at Dartmouth each time he returned home. After he received his diploma, he presented it to Sarah, in recognition of her accomplishment.

At 18, Sarah founded a private school and taught there until she met and married David Hale. While married, she wrote short stories and articles that were published in newspapers. After Hale's sudden death when Sarah was in her late 30s and her failed attempt at making and selling women's hats, Sarah published a book that attracted the attention of the owner of a new women's magazine, Rev. John Blake, who hired her as editor.

Hale wrote poetry and fiction. One of her best known works is the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Hale led a campaign for an official day of thanks to be celebrated throughout the country that spanned nearly 40 years during which she lobbied five presidents and wrote numerous newspaper editorials

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared a day of thanksgiving after the Union victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg. After receiving a letter from Hale urging him to set aside a permanent, single, day of thanksgiving, Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving.

His proclamation, made during the Civil War, acknowledged "The gracious gifts of the Most High God" and noted that it "seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People." Lincoln invited his fellow citizens to set apart and observe "a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a national holiday since Lincoln's proclamation. While this established a single Thanksgiving Day for our nation, the date on which Thanksgiving Day fell continued to change.

In 1939, in an effort to lengthen the Christmas selling season, President Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up a week -- to the next to last Thursday of November. This created much confusion regarding which Thursday was the correct day for Thanksgiving. In 1941, President Roosevelt signed legislation making Thanksgiving the 4th Thursday in November.

Thanksgiving is a family holiday, where the emphasis is on fellowship and time rather than gifts, glitz and fancy cocktail parties. The holiday's one constant is time to sit down and eat together. While this might appear to be simplistic and unimportant to some, there is great value in family's gatherings for meals.

A 2006 study by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University titled: The Importance of Family Dinners III, notes the importance of family mealtimes in creating the foundation for a healthy family.

The study notes that children who eat dinner with their families five or more times a week are less than half as likely to get drunk once a month (7 percent versus 18 percent ) and almost half as likely to smoke daily (12 percent versus 23 percent) as those who had fewer than three family dinners per week.

According to the study, kids who frequently eat dinner with their families are also likelier to have better grades and confide in their parents, noting that 58 percent of teens report that they have dinner with their families five or more times per week.

Based on this study, it appears as though families with children should continue to eat together throughout the year to help ensure that next year they will have much for which to be thankful.

That same positive impact of coming together to break bread may hold true for the nation too. Coming together to break bread and share time may overcome miscommunication, misunderstanding and misinterpretation. If so, let us gather together, be thankful and, as Lincoln wrote in his proclamation, "fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union."

Copyright 2007 by Jackie Cushman
All Rights Reserved

 
Sunday November 18th Update

I will be on the radio with David Stokes Tonight at 10 P.M. EST on XM Satellite Radio channel 170.

His website is http://www.davidrstokes.com/

We will be discussing Thanksgiving.

My latest article, which will be posted here tomorrow can be found at www.townhall.com

 
Nike: Turning a Dream into Reality

By Jackie Cushman

Published on Townhall.com

"A goal is a dream with a deadline." Napoleon Hill

Six months ago, my sister Kathy and I decided to walk a marathon to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. This was a particularly bold goal for Kathy, as she has rheumatoid arthritis.

Our initial steps were to gather team members (Phyllis Head, Cynthia Counts and Jeanne Cadwallader), pick a marathon (Athens, Greece) and name the team, (A2A4A America to Athens for Arthritis). Once these steps were complete, our dream (walk a marathon for the Arthritis Foundation) had a deadline, November 4, 2007 That gave us six months - enough time to train for the 26.2-mile walk and to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. Our training, facilitated by Olympian Jeff Galloway, included long walks every 2 - 3 weeks, eventually equaling the marathon distance. Along the way, we encountered blisters, pulled muscles and, in my case, plantar fasciitis, a painful foot ailment.

Fundraising included e-mailing, mailing letters and requesting donations. We were all thrilled with the response, and left for Athens with more than $35,000 in donations for the Arthritis Foundation. Along the way, our team created our own mantra, "Walk on," reflecting our team's goal of moving forward with purpose.

Kathy and I arrived in Athens on Friday, November 2. We were the last of the team members to arrive. We were all excited and a bit nervous about the upcoming weekend. We had a team dinner and a good night's sleep.

Saturday we toured Athens. The tour began with the Acropolis, which according to our guide Marissa means city on a hill. After walking up the long pathway from the modern city of Athens to the Acropolis, we came upon the Propylaea, or gateway into the Acropolis. To the south of the Propylaea we saw the Nike Temple, built for the goddess of Victory.

This Nike temple (pronounced Nee Kay in Greek as Marissa informed us), was built around 420 B.C. to celebrate the Athenians' victory over the Persians.

The Greeks fought the Persians at Marathon in 490 B.C. Although outnumbered, the Greeks defeated the Persians. Legend holds that, once the battle was complete, Phidippides, an Athenian messenger, ran from Marathon to Athens to spread the news of the Greeks' victory. He ran into a theater where people were gathered, yelled Nike! and then died. This was the birth of the marathon event.

Athens is also the birthplace of democracy. Looking west from the Propylaea, Marissa pointed out the hill of democracy, where men would gather to vote on civic issues. Participation began at 16 years of age, but boys would begin attending the gatherings at age 6, which gave them a decade of study before participation.

We continued our tour of the Acropolis, stopping at the Parthenon and the temple to Athena.

We then stopped by the Panathinaiko Stadium, where our marathon was to finish the next day. The stadium was the site of the Olympic games of 1870, 1875 and 1896, the latter marking the start of the modern Olympics. Made of white marble, the stadium is incredibly bright and beautiful. The Olympic rings soar above the back of the stadium; it is truly an inspiring place.

Marathon day started with a 4:30 a.m. wakeup call. As walkers, we were to begin two hours ahead of the runners. Cynthia, the one team member who had initially planned to run, changed her mind and decided to walk with us, as her legs were still recovering from having walked Friday up and down the hills of Athens carrying a laptop in her bag. Our team got onto the bus at 5:15 a.m. and traveled to Marathon to begin the marathon at 6 a.m..

The start of the marathon went well. The weather was perfect, high 60's, overcast with an occasional drizzle. About six miles into the marathon, we decided that coffee was in order, so Cynthia and I ran ahead to find a coffee shop. We received a few odd looks as we asked for coffee and wedding cookies, but the coffee was the best we drank the entire trip and the cookies kept up our blood sugar.

After our short coffee run, Cynthia decided that running the rest of the way would be less painful after all, and she charged ahead.

About 11 miles into the marathon, we were overtaken by the lead runners who had started two hours after we did. They were running at just over a 5 minute per mile pace, a pace I could not sustain for even a mile. The winner, Kiprotich Korir Benjamin, finished the course in 2:14:40. When he finished, we were four hours into our walk, just beyond the halfway mark.At one point, we were passed by a runner dressed in Trojan dress, complete with skirt, breastplate, helmet and shield. We found out that this year was his 11th running in Trojan garb, an outfit that weighed 30 kilos.

We walked on.

Our trainer, Jeff Galloway, passed us while we were entering Athens, more than 75 percent of the way to the finish line. He stopped for a few minutes, encouraged us to continue and ran on.

We walked on.

Cynthia, who had finished hours before us, greeted us as we entered the Panathinaiko Stadium. Finally, seven hours and 48 minutes after we had started, Kathy, Jeanne, Phyllis and I crossed the finish line.

On the way into the stadium, I turned to Kathy, smiled, and said "Nike!" The smile on her face was proof that she too felt victorious.

NIKE!

Post script: none of us died.

Copyright 2007 by Jackie Cushman

All Rights Reserved

 
SUCCESS!!

We all finished the Marathon: Kathy, Cynthia, Phyllis, Jeanne and me. The course was hillier than we imagined - but we perservered and made it to the end.

Cynthia and I ran ahead at about 10k and got coffee and wedding cookies for our gorup - an early sugar and caffeine treat.

It was fun being passed by the top runners (since we walked we started earlier). Wow - they make running a 5:30 mile look easy.

There was one guy dressed as a trojan - helmet, skirt, shield and all. Rumour is it weighed 30 Kilos. - hate to say - but he passed us and finished before we did.

All in all and incredible experience. It really is a miracle - 5 years ago Kathy had problems getting out of bed - and now she finished a marathon. What a wonderful story.

May we all remember - that nothing lasts forever, but everything worthwhile takes hard work and effort.

Below is a picture of my sister, Kathy Lubbers after fnishing walking the marathon - we ended at the Olympic Stadium in Athens - how cool!

Kathy at the finish

 
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