Not Quite All Things Considered


2 fishing poles and a fishy background

Urgency Day 5

500 Things Items 497-98: Fishing Poles

  • History: Left behind after summer adventures
  • Value: Patience and non-screen time
  • Parting pain: None
  • Unpossessing: Gifts

Something’s fishy.

I listen to NPR. A Lot. I love This American Life and A Prairie Home Companion. I never miss Click and Clack or Wait, Wait! I’m kind of a Science Friday groupie. And I get most of my news from All Things Considered.

Keep your Morning Joe. Robert Siegel is on my “list.”

But something’s definitely fishy.

Radio, real AM/FM radio, is very intimate. It’s just you and a voice. In a shrill world, I desperately appreciate a calm voice. And I really believed the fantastically calm All Things radio voice when it told me NPR wanted to hear about my favorite summer sound.

Of course, I thought. I’ve got a great one!

I had been thinking about this anyway, what with the nostalgia tear I’m on at Sam’s imminent departure. I’m fixated on my rear-view mirror: Sam’s past, my family’s past, my past. Distant summers especially tug at me, like a neglected friend cajoling me to sit and reminisce.

“I’m  busy,” I demur. “There’s so much to do.” I don’t want to lose time to a past that can’t ever be relived. “I’ll catch up with you later, when there’s more time.” Later, I lie to my summer memories, and to myself.

I don’t want later to come. I must be here, be productive, solve problems: figure out how to go on. And that’s what I was doing when I heard the radio voice offer a compromise.

“Send us your short essays about sounds we hear that evoke the summer season.”

The All Things Considered people would consider my memories about the past. If I spent time writing about the past for NPR, that wasn’t self-indulgence; that was self-promotion!

I wrote my essay about my summer sound, just like the radio voice suggested. I had to do a bit of research, asking my sister– who asked our mother who consulted with her cousin– for factual clarification. I wrote and edited and polished. And when I was satisfied, I emailed it to the nice voices at All Things Considered. And then something fishy happened.

I never heard back.

Not even a “thanks for your entry” confirmation. I really don’t know if my sound was ever considered. Maybe it was; maybe they really do consider all things, and this thing was simply rejected. Probably. Or, maybe, the show is really Only Some Things Considered. That would be very disappointing.

Here is the link for the page with my sound essay. It will be less meaningful without the wonderful sound effects I imagined NPR including, and more meaningful for the people with whom I experienced those precious summer days.

 And that is almost certainly why it wasn’t considered.

This is two in a row for fish references. Three, over all. The fishing poles I’m downsizing today were left behind by the same fisher-boys who left the previously downsized tackle. Fishing can be a wonderfully instructive diversion. But my grandfather was a commercial fisherman. He smelled of the raw ocean and of the drink he consumed to forget his hard life. My grandfather’s grizzled smell, and tattooed feel, and his kind and weary voice are tangled in memories as sweet as fresh sea air.

And his name was Sam.

Granddaddy Sam and Suzy, 1964


One Response to “Not Quite All Things Considered”

  1. Donna Says:

    Awww. You made my day. Miss you Granddaddy.

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