The Hat Kicking Incident

In May of 1955 I had agreed to play semi pro baseball with a local team and our first game was on a Saturday. Lining a sharp single to right field, I was feeling good about my new team and the prospects for the new season. By the bottom of the fourth we were up 5-2 and their first batter lined a shot towards our shortstop. Knocking it down, he pounced on it and cut loose his throw. Playing first base, my normal positions were either left or center field, at the last moment, the throw had a tail on it and it rose above my outstretched glove and nicked the end of the middle finger on my right hand, splitting it and knocking the nail off. Ouch!

This put me on the DL for 2 weeks, but the afternoon of the injury, with a finger stall on my injured digit, I talked my dad into taking me fishing to the gravel pits outside of Romayer, Texas. We’d been there the weekend before and caught 10 nice white perch and he was a pushover whenever anyone said, “Fishing!” Showing him that I could cast and reel OK with my middle finger sticking out we loaded up for the one-hour, no air conditioner drive.

Grabbing my rod, reel and fishing hat, not your normal fishing hat, I was ready to go. A fishing buddy and I had sewn snaps onto our straw hats and then clipped on our favorite plugs, Piggy Boat spinners, Lucky 13’s and Pico Perches. We believed they were the “coolest” fishing hats in the world.

The gravel pits were spread out over a wide area and my dad and I walked to the back of them, almost a mile, and began casting. Dad had caught 2 keepers and I hadn’t even scratched. All of a sudden, my cast was greeted with a solid strike, the bass, a nice one, over 3 pounds, ran a short distance and jumped, and jumped, and jumped, successfully throwing the spinner bait.

Back then I was kinda’ tempery and I grabbed my special fishing hat with the plugs attached and threw it to the ground muttering a few choice expletives. Then I made a foolish mistake and kicked my hat toward the water, but the hat didn’t sail out into the water because one of the hooks had caught in my Chuck Taylor, tennis shoe lace.

Laughing, my dad let me stew over my predicament, but 10 minutes later, having had to cut up my Chuck Taylor tennis shoe, lace, I was back fishing. We caught several more bass and even with my injury, and the hat-kicking incident, enjoyed our outing.

Driving home it crossed my mind that maybe this wasn’t “my day”.