Pilgrimage to Sturgis, Part 15: Dockside Chatter

Pilgrimage to Sturgis, Part 15: Dockside Chatter

Written by B. Jan Montana

As Melody’s dad was delivering the tractor to his son, I wandered over to the trout pond. Some of the senior citizens from Rapid City were fishing on the pier. They sat quietly with their eyes fixed on the spot where their lines hit the water. The slightest ripple would cause them to yank their pole, hoping to snag a trout. “Any luck today?” I asked. “SHUSHSHSHSHSH!” they responded; “you’ll scare the fish.” I didn’t feel particularly welcome there, so I wandered over to the beach where three seniors were seated on lawn chairs. There was a lot of discussion and laughter. They had lines in the water but didn’t seem to be paying too much attention. During the course of the greetings, I learned that Terry, the short guy with the Australian accent, was a retired commercial airline pilot, the heavy woman named Olive was once an insurance adjuster, and Paul, the guy with the goatee and long hair, was a professor emeritus of physics. After they learned who I was, they handed me a shot from a bottle of single malt stashed in a handbag and resumed their dialog. I was beginning to understand their fascination with fishing.

Olive: “So why doesn’t Lucas show up to these outings anymore? I know he’s not sick.”

Terry: “You can’t be sure of that, love; maybe he’s not letting on.

O: “Well, that may be true, but I’m worried he’s becoming a curmudgeon. He always finds excuses to stay at the home and sit on the porch or watch TV.”

T: “Maybe it’s S.A.D.”

O: “Sad?”

T: “No…well, yes. I call it Self-Arrest Disease.”

O: “What?”

T: “Well mate, he’s decided that he’s too old, too painful, and too tired to be active anymore, so he's placed himself under house arrest.”

O: “I think he’s scared to leave the home. I think fear’s got a grip on him.”

Paul: “Fear is a disease. It makes strong people weak, and weak people demented. A life controlled by fear is a life without power or joy.”

O: “Who in their right mind would choose that when seniors around the world are hiking mountains, sailing seas, writing books, and volunteering to improve the lives of others?”

P: “People who are scared.”

T: “Of what?”

P: “They are scared of the unknown.”

T: “What are you talking about, mate?”

P: “They’re afraid of dying, Terry; they don’t know what’s on the other side and that fear is crippling them.”

T: “Most people are afraid of dying, but they don’t have S.A.D.” O: “True, some people have strong religious beliefs that comfort them.”

T: “My father was a faithful evangelical all of his life, yet he expressed doubts before he died. He said that without empirical evidence, no religion can lay claim to the absolute truth.”

O: “Perhaps all spokes lead to the same hub?”

T: “Or perhaps they just lead down the garden path.”

P: “That’s why some take refuge in science. If Einstein is to be believed, all matter is a manifestation of energy. If all matter is energy, then everything in the universe – the entire quantum field – constitutes the divine matrix or God. Some say that death is nothing more than matter returning to energy, just as every ice cube goes back to being water. Nothing is destroyed or lost, it just changes form.”


Previous installments in this series appeared in Issues 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149.150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155 and 156 – Ed.> Header image courtesy of Pexels.com/Olof Nyman.

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