Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Pastor Hank Goes Fishing

Hi, folks. I'm Pastor Hank Detcher. I've been preaching here at First Community Church in Kanner Lake for nearly 15 years. I'm happy to be a part of Scenes and Beans.

Bailey wanted me to talk a little about why Kanner Lake is such a great place to visit. Oh, we've got the beautiful lake and the mountains around, with plenty of places to get in touch with creation. But there's more to this little town than a pretty postcard. This is a place where the stranger becomes family.

Let me tell you a story from my first summer here. It was slow making friends as the new pastor. Everybody figured they had to be righteous or something around me, so they didn't want to do anything relaxing for fear of doing something "
stupid." They never worried about the pastor being the one to do something dumb!

One Sunday, Wilbur Hucks came up to me after church. (I think his wife may have done a little prodding, but he came nonetheless.) He asked if I wanted to do a little fishing the next Saturday. Boy howdy, did I! I'd grown up in Idaho, and if it's one thing this place has, it's good fishing. I'd been too busy to get out and drop a line. Now here was a local, wanting to take me to some sweet spot.

I was pretty excited to get my waders out and get my feet wet. Wilbur seemed a cantankerous sort, so I didn't want to set him off. I hoped to show him this "man o' God" could get right in there . I didn't know the best lure for this area, but I picked out some of my favorites. Wilbur drove up in his Chevy before the crack of dawn, and we were off.

It was a quiet trip except for Wilbur always "honkin' his horn" as he put it. I'd never seen a man blow his nose so much. He said he was having trouble with allergies and never could seem to break open the dam in there.

We started into some small talk until we parked at the trailhead, and then we hiked a little ways to one of the tributaries that feeds Kanner Lake. Lovely area, with trees lining the shore. Wilbur was chatting a little more, telling me about life in town. He also started bragging about his fishing prowess. "I always land the big one," he bragged between nose wipes with his handkerchief.

Our lines started dancing over the water, testing the fish to see what they'd bite. All the while, Wilbur couldn't stop blowing his schnoz. I couldn't take it any more after awhile. "Wilbur, you're gonna scare the fish away a mile around if you keep it up!" I declared.

He glared at me as if to say, "You young pup, who are you to be telling me to hold my honker."

In my peripheral vision I saw a big fish splash in the water. They hadn't been biting earlier, so I was determined to get this one. Just about the time I went to cast, Wilbur took a step toward me--and I hit him right square in his snoot.

My line flew out just so--right where the fish had landed. Wilbur yelped and threw his hands to his face.

"Wilbur, are you all right?" I asked. All the same, I didn't set the pole down. I wanted to catch that fish.

"Oh my node!"

I glanced over and saw blood on his fingers. I hadn't realized I'd hit him that hard. About that time I felt a powerful tug at the end of the line. Wow, what a fish it must be! He almost pulled the rod out of my hand.

I look back at my wounded companion. I figured I was in big trouble now. I could read the headlines Jared Moore would be writing: Clumsy Local Pastor Gets Tied Up in Own Fishing Line. So much for making a new friend.

Wilbur pulled out a handkerchief to stem the flow. Instead of threatening me, he waved me back toward the stream. "Don't worry aboud me. You git dad monster!"

We were a sight, let me tell you. I was reeling in what would be the largest fish to come out of Cooper Creek in twenty years, according to the locals, while Wilbur cheered me on with his head tilted back, trying to stop the bleeding.

I wrestled the beast to the shore, and after getting him secured, I packed up all the gear. I tottered down the trail with Wilbur leading the way, the occasional drop of blood escaping to mark our path. We reached the truck and got some ice out of the cooler. After another 10 minutes or so, the flow slowed to a trickle, and then stopped. Wilbur was quite the vision, with blood and dirt smeared across him.

I was sitting there as contrite as I could be, feeling awful about ignoring him while hauling in my prize. That is, until Wilbur slapped me heartily on the back. He sat on the tailgate, beaming, then pointed at his swollen nose. "Hey, I can breathe! I can't remember the last time I didn't feel stuffed up. You knocked it loose just great." He looked me up and down before commenting, "You'll do good here in Kanner Lake, Hank Detcher."

Wilbur and I have been friends ever since.

This story just shows how this little quiet town takes in family. We take all kinds. It reminds me of one of my favorite verses, Psalm 68:6, "God sets the lonely in families."

You could do worse by seeing what Kanner Lake has to offer.

God bless you all.

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 6:00 AM
Pastor Hank, Wilbur's a fly fisherman. You let him catch you calling it a "lure" and he's likely to skin you alive.
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 7:40 AM
I don't know much about this subject, but I call that a great fish story. Gotta love it when you're not perfect and yet you still catch the big one. :) If you haven't used that in one of your Sunday sermons yet, just think about the spiritual parallels!
Posted by Blogger Becca : 7:51 AM
Any story that includes Wilbur must be a great one. ;) Thanks for sharing, Hank!
Posted by Blogger Rachel : 7:52 AM
Hi Pastor Hank. I don't know if you remember me. I introduced myself last Sunday after church when folks were hanging out drinking coffee and eating doughnuts. That was so nice of someone in your church to bring all those Krispy Cremes on their way into town. Don't get those often.

I'm new to town, as you know. Love to fish. Thing is. I hate worms. So does my husband. So maybe you and Wilbur can tell us what other lures we can use. Or maybe Michael and I can come with you some time and you can put them on for me. I don't mind cleaning 'em—the fish that is. So I could do that part. Just hate worms. Makes gardening a bit tough sometimes. Great sermon last week by the way.
Posted by Anonymous Carly : 8:10 AM
This is a little different side of Wilbur. Fishing trumps cantakerousness. Glad to know something does.
Posted by Anonymous Elizabeth Monty : 8:38 AM
Don't worry about that "lure" mistake, Pastor Hank. It's good to see a preacher that isn't so perfect once in a while.
Posted by Anonymous r.j. hager : 8:40 AM
When is S-Man up again? He left us hanging with him being in a hospital. I want to hear the rest of the story.
Posted by Anonymous Carly suggs : 8:41 AM
Well told fish story, Hank. I'm obviously not the only writer in Kanner Lake.

I just hope this post doesn't start a pilramage of chronic allergy sufferers seeking to have Pastor Hank whap them in the nose while fishing to heal them of their symptoms...

Though I wonder if it would work on a broken leg.

And Carly, don't worry you'll get to hear all about the hospital in due time.

Posted by Blogger S-man : 12:31 PM
Good fish story. It almost makes me wish I fished. Almost.
Posted by Blogger C. Schroeder : 4:26 PM
I'm with S-Man, wondering if this is more story than truth. Then again, we are talking about a preacher man. I haven't had much to do with preachers in my time. Well, except for the one time that turned me off to 'em for good. Not sure about this man-of-God stuff. But since I like this blog, I'm going along with you, Hank.
Posted by Anonymous fred wiley : 6:11 PM
Indeed S-man, seems you and I are no longer the only writers in Kanner Lake. With Baily promoting all this free expression, we're just two of many. Yeah, Pastor Hank beating up Wilbur... that WOULD have been a great front page article.

Happy Writing All,
Jared Moore
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 7:00 PM
Wow, what a story Pastor Hank. Glad to hear I'm not the only klutz. When I get to Kanner Lake I want to go fishing with you. I'll just make sure to stand a safe distance away.

I agree you should use that story in a sermon. Great story.
Posted by Blogger Pammer : 8:57 PM
Hmmrp...Pastor, did you look to see if there was any coins in the fish's have to forgive me, I was just reading Matthew 17!
Posted by Anonymous darla bloom : 11:32 PM
Pastor, does this make you a fisher of men?

Sorry about that, but I just had to say it. Hey, did Wilbur offer to take you on any snipe hunts?
Posted by Anonymous Pete Tudeski : 12:07 AM
I chuckle every time I hear this story. I would have done just 'bout anything to have been the fly on that pole.

Seeing ol'Wilbur get hit straight on by the new Pastor, now that'd beat just about all I've ever seen!
Posted by Blogger Jake Tremaine : 6:31 AM
Hmm, might be this place is the answer to prayer. Certainly worth checking out. That whole bit about setting the lonely in families. Sounds good to me! Like Carla, I'm single and looking. Maybe I'll find someone in Kanner Lake. Could do far worse than a beautiful spot like this!
Posted by Blogger Tiff/Amber Miller : 8:04 PM
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