My introduction to tobacco can best be described as traumatic.
We lived on a small farm in Southwestern Indiana. It was a nice place. We had some livestock, corn and bean fields, and always a huge garden where we grew vegetables that we would harvest and eat during the summer and then can in Mason jars for the winter months. We had a small 3 acre lake which held lots of bluegill, bass, and some catfish along with a few other species that you would catch now and again, especially under a big willow tree that hung out over one side of the lake. Many a fish fry as a result of bluegill swarming under that willow tree’s overhanging branches.
One summer when I was about 12 years old my Dad and my Uncle Charley were mowing around the lake perimeter using a pair of old Gravely tractors. These were walk-behind mowers that had come to market after the second World War and weighed several hundred pounds each. Their handles were separated like a bicycle’s and held the forward-neutral-reverse knob on one side and an accelerator knob on the other. Between the handles toward the front was a 10 horsepower engine and forward of that a transmission just above the cutting deck. Somehow Dad had acquired them second hand and found them perfect for grooming the large yard surrounding the house. They required strength to maneuver and only a “manly man” was capable of properly operating these cutting monsters in their usual state of disrepair. Both Dad and Uncle Charley certainly qualified as “manly men”. Uncle Charley was as solid as a rock and had a figure like a beer barrel with arms the size of hams. Dad was just about as stout and both knew what hard work was all about. They matched up perfectly with the Gravely’s.
This July day it was H-O-T and the humidity, as is common for southern Indiana, was brutal. I was assigned the task of clearing debris at water’s edge and using a sickle to trim weeds and long grass that was growing too close to the water for the Gravely’s. About every hour or so Mom would bring down a big pitcher of homemade lemonade and Dad, Uncle Charley and I would take a break and make the pitcher disappear in short order.
After Mom made one of her many appearances with lemonade I took notice that both Dad and Uncle Charley were popping something in their mouths that they seemed to derive a great deal of pleasure from. Always curious, I sauntered over to both of them to get a better look at what was consuming their interest and obvious favor.
“Hey boy, you doin’ OK”, Dad said as I approached, putting his huge hand on my damp shoulder.
“Yes sir (I was brought up to use the word “sir” when addressing any adult, even my Dad)”, I said. “Just wondered what that was you were eating.”
Dad glanced at Uncle Charley. Uncle Charley gave a wrinkled grin with a typical twinkle in his eyes. Dad looked back at me and reached in his shirt pocket, which was wet with sweat, and pulled out a small brown square of something wrapped in clear cellophane. Best I could tell there was a red apple printed on the wrapper with one end sort of frayed where some of this mysterious material had once resided inside.
“Well, this is some of the best chew they make”, my Dad said with a solemn honesty in his voice. “Yep, this Sweet Apple Plug is really the ‘good stuff’. Best available. Almost as good as apple pie!”
(Note: At 12 years old I was always hungry, known to consume 3 hamburgers at a single setting along with the accompanying “fixins”” such as potato salad, slaw, tomatoes, and desert. The idea of food, any food, was always appealing to me at that point in my life.)
Now my Dad was a salesman by trade, so when he told you something you can bet it was presented as the gospel. Something you were expected to believe. Being a precocious (and naïve) adolescent, I had no reason to question anything proffered as truth coming from my Dad’s lips. Certainly nothing as profound as his opinion about a plug of chewing tobacco. Uncle Charley’s nod further confirmed that Dad was absolutely dead right about this stuff. And comparing it to apple pie just put icing on the already appealing cake.
I can’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure I stood there silently, my eyes looking longingly at the plug of tobacco in Dad’s hands as he drank down the last of his lemonade. I chugged my glass as well, but my eye’s never deviated from the blink-less focus I had on that plug of tobacco.
“Jack, I think Tommy (my Dad, Mom, and most everybody called me ‘Tommy’) may want to try some of that Sweet Apple plug”, said Uncle Charley.
“Well, he’s probably old enough to give it a try”, my Dad said as he extended his hand holding the tobacco plug towards me. “Son, you want to try some of this?”
By now I was totally enraptured with the thought of “being a man” and getting some of that tobacco plug in my mouth. I imagined how pleasurable it would be, what with tasting like the afore mentioned apple pie. That and the fact that this would be confirmation that I was now accepted not just as a helper next to Dad and Uncle Charley, but closer to an equal among these men who I looked up to, only served to “seal the deal” in my mind.
“Yes sir, I would”, I said with absolute affirmation and vaguely subdued excitement.
“Well, I’ll cut you a piece and we’ll see if you really like it”, said Dad. “Then we need to get back to mowing.”
Dad opened his pocket knife and cut off what seemed at the time a rather smallish piece, no bigger than his thumb. He gave it a cursory inspection and handed it to me, cautioning that I should be careful not to swallow any of the tobacco itself. I took that piece of tobacco with what I am sure is the same reverence as one receiving Holy Communion on Sunday and quickly popped it into my mouth. It tasted sweet with a hint of chocolate. Not really like apple pie, but not bad.
“No wonder Dad and Uncle Charley like this stuff”, I thought.
“OK, boy, let’s get back to work”, Dad said as he and Uncle Charley walked toward their respective Gravely’s.
I headed back to the water’s edge chewing eagerly on the piece of plug I had been given. Soon I was back to sickling weeds and clearing debris from around the lake. It was afternoon and the heat and humidity had both increased, making our work more uncomfortable than it had been earlier. I kept to the task as I continued to relish the new found “manhood” in my mouth.
Then it began to happened. My stomach started to rumble and I became dizzy. It seemed that all of a sudden I was off balance and unable to gain any footing. Why was the ground moving? Why couldn’t I get my balance? Everything was going around in less than concentric circles.
My stomach started churning even more and the last round of lemonade was coming precipitously close to the upper limits of my throat. I had a sour taste only exacerbated by the tobacco between my teeth. Being young and naïve I never figured out the relationship between the “chew” and my sudden disorientation. And then I threw up. Many, many times I threw up.
Finally after what seemed to be prolonged, continuous heaving, I looked up to locate Dad and Uncle Charley. There they were up the hill, Gravely’s stopped. Both seemed to be moving about in jerky motions. Were they laughing? Laughing so hard they seemed ready to fall over? Had one of them told the other a funny story? I really didn’t care. All I wanted to do was get to the house and cool off in front of a fan so I could start feeling better.
“I’m going up to the house for a minute”, I said to Dad and Uncle Charley as they continued to be immersed in laughter. I’m not even sure they heard me. No matter. I needed some relief.
I opened the door to the kitchen and sat down at the table making sure the fan that was always on during summer was blowing directly on me. I simply felt awful. Mom walked by, stopped, and looked at me with a startled look on her face. Being a Mom, she instantly knew I was in distress. She grabbed my chin in her hand and tilted my head toward hers. Looked me in the eyes with a deep, concerned stare.
“You look green”, she said as she released my chin from her concerned grip. “What’s wrong”.
I then related how I had become suddenly ill and had lost all of the lemonade along with any other solids or liquids I had consumed in the last year or so. I was miserable. Then I dry heaved again as Mom rushed to retrieve a waste can from the corner of the kitchen. Somewhere between heaving and laying my head on the table I mentioned the chew I had been given by Dad.
Now there isn’t a Mom born who doesn’t have an instinctive sense about her children and their well being, and my Mom was no different. She just KNEW something like this wasn’t right. She laid a cool, wet dish towel on my head and quickly blew out the kitchen door toward Dad and Uncle Charley.
As bad as I felt, I managed to pull myself up and look out the kitchen window as Mom approached these two “manly men”. She stood there talking to them, her arms crossed against her chest, her head moving from side to side. Then her arms came loose, both flung spastically in random directions as her head became more animated, seeming at times to be precipitously close to snapping off. I could only imagine the tone and volume of her voice as I watched Dad and Uncle Charley stand motionless, never raising their eyes past their boots.
Soon Mom stomped back into the kitchen, her eyes still blazing with anger. “I just can’t believe those two”, she said in a louder than normal voice peppered with disgust.
She told me it would be best if I took a cool shower in the basement where it would be quiet and cool. “Put on some shorts and then come sit in front of the fan at the table”, she said.
As the afternoon passed I slowly began to feel human again. The dry heaves stopped. My stomach settled down and the dizziness went away. I stayed in front of the electric fan at the kitchen table as Mom went about making supper. By around 6 PM I heard the Gravely’s rumbling toward the barn. Soon I could hear Dad and Uncle Charley talking as they approached the kitchen door.
“I think we should have told him to spit”, Dad said with a devious smile to Uncle Charley as they walked past my limp body sitting in the chair sucking up as much of the air from the fan as possible.
“Yep, that’s probably where we went wrong”, Uncle Charley said with a similar crooked smile. “Probably need to remember that next time.”
Mom ignored them and shook her head in disgust. “Next time” would be when there was snow in hell if she had anything to do with it. Supper would be ready soon, but whether Dad and Uncle Charley would enjoy it was questionable. Mom still had a squinty look in her eyes and nary a smile on her lips. It was shaping up to be a long, silent night for the “manly men”.
Boy, do we have some great news for everyone this newsletter! Our “Increased Trade-In Values” are back for a Very Limited Time. Be sure to see all the details below. Another great deal is our Sunline Leader and Line Sale. Again, be sure to look at all of the details below. Both of these programs are simply Fantastic!
We also have some more news and updates that we’re sure you will want to know about, so take a few minutes and read this issue. We can guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Daiwa Zillion Type-R “Barramundi Tamer” Reel – We’ve had several customers simply rave about this reel when using it for fishing barramundi in Australia. With the 15.5 lb maximum drag pressure this reel can turn any barra away from cover better than anything we have seen. Typically we see about 10 lb maximum drag pressure on reels similar in size, so this baby has some real guts that make the difference on those big guys. Couple this reel to a 6 ft long, 1 pc heavy power rod and there won’t ever be a barra that will make you look for an excuse for “the one that got away”! This bad boy has 12 bearings, a 7.3:1 retrieve ratio, holds 120 yds of 14 lb test mono, and weighs an amazingly light 8.5 oz. Available in both Right hand as well as left hand retrieve. It’s not cheap at $399.95, but quality like this never is. Simply put, one bad-ass reel for big, bad-ass fish!
Shimano Waxwing Jigs– Not sure this should simply be called a “jig”. These babies have more action than a bug on a hot rock! Our take is the possibilities are only limited by your imagination and how you choose to work these marvelous fish catchers. With 2 sizes – “Boy” is 3 ½” (88 mm) long and 7/8 oz and “Junior” is 4 ½” (118 mm) long and 1 ½ oz – and 14 different colors these are fish-catching fools. You can jerk, twitch, slide, you name it. We’ve tried these in both freshwater as well as salt and they continue to amaze us what they can catch. The hooks are some of the sharpest we’ve ever seen on a lure or jig. Although Shimano offers a set of rods in the Terez Series specifically for these jigs, we find that they work great with any appropriate rod from moderate action all the way up to extra fast. The “Boys” are $17.99 and the “Juniors” are $19.99 which is a real bargain considering the quality of these little gems. Our opinion is that Everyone needs some of these in their tackle box!
G. Loomis Sock Hat– Yea, yea it’s just a sock hat. So what? We like it because it’s W-A-R-M and this winter has thus far been friggin’ C-O-L-D! It’s blue like our exposed skin and even has a Loomis skeleton fish embroidered on it. Poly-something material that’s nice and soft. Look, it’s only $18 bucks, so for that small price you need at least 2! Did I mention that it’s W-A-R-M???
(Assistant Editor’s Note: Tom is in the late stages of severe cabin fever and has been erratic as of late. We have been opening his office shades to let sunlight in, but after 8 days of no sun he’s worse. Our apologies for his rants.)
Airflo Trout Leader Set– How about one of the niftiest items for fly fishermen that not even in Airflo’s catalog? Why is that? Airflo is big on technical stuff, but seems to forget about S-E-L-L-I-N-G! I mean, if you got it in stock (they do) just how hard is it to list it in your catalog? Pretty hard, I guess, since it’s not there!!! A nice little wallet (with 7 “pockets”) that contains 1 each 10 ft Poly leader for up to 12 lb tippet in clear floating, clear hover, clear intermediate, dark slow sink, dark fast sink, dark super fast sink, and dark extra super fast sink? This pretty well covers the range and does so in a nice, organized manner. Never find yourself stuck in the middle of a stream wanting for the right leader. This little baby is $88.99 and offers a substantial savings over buying all of this individually.
BogaGrip Model 130 Fish Landing, Handling, and Weighing Tool– Hey, I call this a fish grip, but Boga calls it “fish landing, handling, and weighing tool”. Did they used to work at Airflo? OK. Fact is this is something NO ONE should be without. It’s a Quality Made-In-The-USA Product and will sure save some fish when released. It’s also an IGFA certified scale and, simply put, the best fish grip available today. The scale on the Model 130 goes from 0 to 30 lbs. Where else can you buy the VERY BEST AVAILABLE IN THE WORLD item for a measly $119.95?
G. Loomis IMX 1024-2S Surf Spinning Rod– Now here’s an absolutely State-of-the-Art rod. Honestly, nothing else even comes close to the G. Loomis IMX Surf Rod Series. Nothing. This particular model is a favorite. It’s 8’6″ long, 2 piece, moderate fast action, medium power, handles line up to 25 mono or 60 lb braid, and lures from ½ oz to 3 oz. For us it’s kinda’ our “universal” surf rod and can, in a pinch, be used for many other applications fishing from a boat or whatever. Damn things are EXPENSIVE, this particular model going for a not insubstantial $480! (holy crap!) BUT, you get what you pay for, especially in this grand rod. An IMX blank that’s feather light, an adjustable reel seat that can travel about 5″ up or down the handle, the new Fuji Tangle Free “K” guides, and performance that will cause you to do a double take it’s so amazing. Want the BEST? This is IT! Lifetime Warranty included.
BRAND NEW (700+) Rod & Reel TRADE-IN List Now On Line…………
If you recall, we told you last issue we had a brand new list of trade-in rods and reels. Well you need to know this list is now UPDATED EVERY OTHER DAY. We typically get 50 to 100 rods and reels in every week in trade, so be sure to check our list out frequently. Right now there are almost 700 excellent used rods and reels on this list.
We JUST POSTED our COMPLETE UP-TO-DATE LIST of USED RODS and REELS on our web site. Folks, there are some real gems on this list! Whether you are a fly fisherman or use a casting or spinning rod or reel there are Lots and Lots of wonderful “lightly used” rods and reels available at what can only be described as “Knock Em’ Dead Prices”! With our “Increased Trade-In Values Program this list will only grow. Check back every two or three days for the latest list.
Every used rod and reel we take in on trade is Fully Inspected and Reconditioned and is ready to fish. We also have added a description of the cosmetic condition of every rod and reel. Regardless of appearance, we guarantee you every item is mechanically perfect and offer a 30 day warranty on any used rod or reel that you buy. Additionally, many of the used rods have the original manufacturer’s warranty as well.
Think about it. You can save 40% or more off original retail on a used rod and still have a full manufacturer’s warranty included (as applicable by manufacturer). Most of our used reels are priced at 50% or more off original retail. This is truly a chance to get some first class fishing rods and reels at some truly unbelievable prices. Just one caveat: This list is changing every day, so act now to avoid disappointment. Just click here for the WHOLE LIST.
Don’t Forget ~ OUTFITTING SERVICES Now Available at American Legacy Fishing Co…..
Starting in 2011 we are announcing a special service to all of our customers, especially those outside of the USA. We know finding hard-to-get fishing gear can be very frustrating for many of you outside of the USA. You read a USA fishing magazine or visit web sites that feature some highly desirable gear only to find out that manufacturer does not offer the product ion your country. Or, you find what you want only to be told the dealer will not ship to you.
We now offer our exclusive “Outfitting Service” that will purchase the items you need, create an invoice for you, allow you to check out using a credit card or PayPal, and Immediately Ship Your Order WORLDWIDE as soon as it has all been received by us. Even if we don’t carry a brand we will locate it and purchase it for you. In many instances we can sell you what you want at the low USA prices due to our volume. When this is not the case a small service fee will be added which we will let you know up front.
Why? Well we have always promised to go “above and beyond” for you, our customers. We feel by offering you this service we are keeping our pledge to be the best fishing gear dealer in the world. Give us a try and we think you will be very pleased. How? It’s simple. Just email us a list of what you need to [email protected]. We’ll get back to you with prices and availability and in no time you will get what you need when you need it. Try it, you’ll like it!
New On-Line Magazine is BEAUTIFUL as well as Informative……….
One of our customers just emailed us a link to what has to be one of the best on-line fishing magazines we have ever found. The pictures are FABULOUS! The magazine is called Untamed Angling and is so very well done.
Usually we are not ones to jump at recommending resturants or magazine sine they usually don’t live up to our recommendation or your expectations once we do so, but we think this one’s worth taking a look at. Here’s a link so you can decide for yourself if this magazine warrants a small investment of your time: http://www.untamedangling.com/ Be sure to allow the home page to load and then “enjoy”!