The Last Laugh: The Fishing Derby

Even though nobody hauled in any fish, everybody collected a share of the prize at the end of the Plumtree Crossing Fishing Derby.

| March/April 1979

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    Only a bunch of stubborn old cusses would compete in a fishing derby on a drizzly, sleeting day.

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Fishing is a delusion entirely surrounded by liars in old clothes.—Don Marquis

Well sir, I don't know if’n it's true—as some folks claim—that fishin' is somethin' that jist goes on in yer head, but I am pretty danged sure that the loafers around the Plumtree Crossin' Gen'ral Store could name one partic'lar piscatorial expedition that woulda been a dern sight more pleasant if'n it hadda never got beyond the imaginin' stage.

I s'pose you could say that the whole shebang was Purvis Jacobs' fault. You see, Purvis, he likes angiln' near as much as he enjoys that corn-squeezed elixir that he cooks up in Turkey Thief Holler, an' he seems to find the sport specially amusin' when somebody else is sufferin' through it with him.

Which is likely why he announced some weeks ago that he was fixin' to hold a fishing derby on the openin' day of trout season.

"Are you daft, Jacobs?" snorted Old Man Bartlett. "The season starts tomorrow an' about the only streams that ain't still iced over are dang near straight up and down."

"Well, Ott, I kinda thought you'd feel that way," replied Purvis, "which is why I aim to award two jugs of my special aged squeezin's—they's four weeks old if'n they's a day—to whoever pulls in the biggest fish on that occasion.''

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