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Oceans For Emotions: It's the little things

Aug. 12, 2011 at 3:12 a.m.

Elaine Wheat

By Elaine Wheat

He answered and said unto them, give ye them to eat.

- Mark 6:17

Lately, I was fortunate enough to renew some friendships with some young adults who I had taken to the beach to play and fish when they were just little kids. It was my job to teach them the ways of the water that they would maybe remember all of their lives.

As we were talking, one of them said his fondest memory of me was doing fishing things when they were little kids. My mind seemed to flash back to the home movies of the joy and the laughter we shared on that sunny day.

I asked what they enjoyed the most of all of the things we did: fishing, skipping shells, finding heart-shaped rocks, swimming or throwing the cast net for mullet? Much to my surprise they all said, "Catching mullet and putting them in the zip lock bags you provided for us so we could show them to our parents."

That really surprised me because it was something I just added to our trip to take up time. I remember telling them that they had to open their bags occasionally to put fresh air in and that when we got ready to leave, we had to throw them back into the water, so they could live in order to make other mullet memories when they brought their children someday to learn the ways of the water.

None of them wanted to do that. They wanted to take them home and keep them for pets, but I explained that the mullet wouldn't live at home and mullet catch-and-release was a rule in the ways of the water. After we had shown them off to the proud parents who glared at me, I told them it was time to put their mullet back into the water to live their lives as God planned.

As we started back to my van, I noticed two of the kids hadn't dumped their mullets and sort of hid them behind their backs, where they thought I couldn't see them.

I got all of the kids into the van and told them we were going to cook hot dogs and s'mores over an open fire for supper. But if anybody had kept their mullets, I would make good use of them. I would pour the water off, grind them up between two large rocks and make mullet patties, and that is what they could eat for supper.

Suddenly, two kids bolted out of the old, blue van, ran back to the water, and gently released their mullet. When they got back in, I didn't fuss at them. I just said, "I am glad you realized that the hotdogs and s'mores would be a lot better than mullet patties."

Keleigh, who is a college graduate with a master's degree, and Kurt, who attends to Rice University on a full scholarship with a 4.0 average, thanked me for teaching them so much that day and proudly admitted that they are now total vegetarians by choice. No mullet patties for them.

Dear Lord, The little boy who is spoken about in the Bible who gave his lunch of four loaves and two fishes to You had no idea that little gift would be turned into a lasting miracle. Help us to realize that some of the little things we do with others may have life lasting impressions. Keep us careful because what we say and do may change a life.

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