Reflected glory is better than none at all

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Talk about ambivalence: Fred Teaford didn’t know whether to be happy or resentful.

He wanted to be happy because his 17-year-old grandson, Jacob McCarley, had just reeled in a 6 3/4-pound bass from a private pond in Shelby County.

The bass, however, was much larger that any that Teaford has caught in a long lifetime of fishing.

Earlier in the morning last week, young McCarley had taken a smaller bass from the pond, and then, with a small bream for bait, hooked the big one. What was ironic was that those two were the first bass he ever caught, in his first attempt at the big-mouths.

&uot;I’ve been fishing all my life and never landed a bass nearly that big,&uot; Teaford said, &uot;and there he does it in the first time he tries.&uot;

That was all right in the long run, Teaford said, since he could be proud of his grandson.

&uot;After all, reflected glory is better than none at all,&uot; he said.

The pond’s owner happened to be on hand when McCarley, fishing from the bank, pulled in his whopper, and he produced scales and weighed the fish.

He also took pictures of McCarley and his prize, and then made a strong request: Please return the bass to the lake.

Now, that’s a stretch for a young man who wanted to take the bass to his home in Hoover, where he could show it off to his friends.

However, he complied, so the bass is back in the water, growing some more and, perhaps one day, providing a larger catch for another angler.

Two days after the fishing trip, McCarley received his pictures from the pond’s owner, and certainly was not averse to showing them off, especially to several of us old-timers who, like Teaford, have never had the thrill of taking a bass that size.

Before McCarley caught the large one, he, Teaford and two fishing companions had taken a couple of baskets full of keepable bream, plus numerous small ones, and not knowing what was to come, would have been happy with that.

Then came the big one and, by extension, all four were proud, none more so than Teaford and McCarley, who, considering his age, will have years for bragging, even if he never again scores that well.

As for Teaford, well, he’s still trying for that whopper.

Then again, how can a man be jealous of the good fortune of a grandson