03/01/04 — OPINION - Fishin' comes first

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OPINION - Fishin' comes first

By Gene Price
Published in News on March 1, 2004 1:56 PM

We were sharing stories at one of Jack Bennett's famous cook-outs behind Craig Ward's outboard motor repair shop on U.S. 117 South.

Amid munching on huge filets of striped bass, Wildlife Commission Vice Chairman Wes Seegars shared with me his grandfather's encounter with "the law." According to Wes, his granddad was better known for his hair-trigger temper than his patience. And in his later years, he and his old buddy fished virtually every day.

They were on their way a-fishing, chugging along in Mr. Seegars' antique car, when they came to a Highway Patrol road block.

Mr. Seegars dutifully stopped.

"May I see your driver's license, sir?" asked the trooper.

The oldster struggled into his back pocket, finally withdrew his wallet and, after a time, located his driver's license.

The patrolman studied it carefully, squinted, frowned and finally called over his fellow trooper. After a brief consultation, the first trooper asked: "Is this the only license you have?"

"Well," challenged the oldtimer, "I didn't know you had to have more'n one!"

"Yessir." responded the patrolman, "but this driver's license was issued in 1926."

"By dern, I could drive then and I can sure as heck drive now!" declared Mr. Seegars.

By this time a gaggle of troopers, including the sergeant, had gathered, relishing the opportunity to inspect the collector's-item driver's license.

But the oldtimer had run out of patience. He plucked the license from the hand of a trooper and shoved his old car in gear, and he and his buddy sped off toward their favorite fishing hole.

Years later, Wes and his children would ask: "Grandpaw, what did the troopers do?"

"Well. I don't rightly know," the oldtimer would respond. "The last time I saw 'em was through the rear view mirror. They were all standing in the middle of the road, hands on their hips and shakin' their heads."