Head and shoulder shot of O'Neill and his grandson with a large fish.

O’Neill and grandson, Travis, during one of his fishing trips.

Do you have memories of the fishing, hunting, and camping trips you’ve enjoyed over the years? Bet you do. Great to recall and, if you can find an audience, preferably a child or even grandchild, that’s part of your life, and can keep them still for a few minutes, relate to them an adventure or two. Of course, because of the unusual method I’ve been granted to make a living over the last 40 years, literally thousands of hours of details of my experiences are either on video tape, in a book, on a thumb drive and finally a link that can be placed on a laptop and visited. You likely do not.

So, take this to heart as I ask the following. Wouldn’t you love to hear those untold outdoor stories from your father or grandfather now? Surely you would. Do you think, after you’ve passed along, that your family members would love to hear those stories about you? Yes, they would. So, what do you do? Write them down or record a video of you telling your story. You might not consider yourself a writer or a talented storyteller on video, and you don’t have to be either one, for each to be a prize to the reader or viewer a few decades from now by your loved ones. The fact that you have recorded these in various fashions will become like leaves of gold to your descendants.

When I was 10-years old, I fished with my grandfather in the local farm ponds in Walton County. He dressed in a vested suit, white shirt, tie, black wingtip shoes and topped it off with a wide breamed straw hat. He was a Primitive Baptist preacher and was evidently dressed to deliver a sermon anytime and anywhere.  We really filled up the stringers with catfish during those days together. My mother’s father was born in Tiger, Ga., orphaned at 10 and worked in a logging camp until 16 when he got a job at Georgia Power spiking railroad ties in place.  He retired from Georgia Power 50 years later. When we fished in the north Georgia mountain lakes and streams when I was 8 years old, we only had cane poles and used freshly caught grasshoppers, some crickets and a few nightcrawlers dug from around the barn. We mostly caught catfish and an occasional bream. He dressed in bib overalls, a tan collared shirt and a decades old dark brown fedora. When I started tournament bass fishing in the 70s, I used that hat a time or two. It was lucky.

With me now in my late 70s and them both passed on so long ago, do you think I’d like to see them both now, to hear their voices, to see them catch a few more as we often did so long ago? You bet. I tear up just thinking about it.

With all that in mind, please take your children and grandchildren fishing, hunting, and camping and take the time to record your outdoor adventures so your children, grand and great-grandchildren can visit your memories.

Photo: provided by O’Neill Williams