Wednesday, May 23 , 2018, 3:44 pm | Overcast 66º

 
 
 
 

Captain’s Log: Childhood Lessons for Which I Am Thankful

We can learn a lot about ourselves through life's experiences

It’s a good time of year to ponder the past and remember things to be thankful for. As a kid I had experiences that shaped the man I became. In some cases I knew that was happening, and in some cases I didn’t.

One experience in particular helped me learn about myself. I was 9 years old and spent most free hours at the riverbed near my house. I had a BB gun pretty much permanently affixed to my right hand, which left the other hand available to hold the ever-present fishing pole. I’m pretty sure it won’t surprise any of you to know that’s the way I grew up.

One day I heard a noise and a yelp of pain 100 yards away from where I was hunting alone. I investigated and found another kid just a little older who had wound up in a tough spot. He was making a fort (a favorite pastime of many of us) and had dug too far under a large boulder. It had subsequently shifted and rolled onto the kid’s leg. I didn’t know if the leg was broken, but I did see that the boulder was too heavy for me to move even using a branch for leverage. The kid was stuck.

I noticed his BB gun resting against a bush a few feet beyond his reach. It was a brand-new beauty — the kind I had been wanting. He saw me looking at it and his eyes grew wide as he realized I could easily take it and walk away. Neither of us spoke for a long while. Then I whispered to myself, “Well, guess you’re never going to be a robber.”

I handed the kid his BB gun, told him to defend himself with it if need be while I went for help. I soon found some grown-ups to move the boulder. The kid was bruised but not broken, and the two of us became friends and developed a great trust between us.

Here is the story of a much different set of lessons, taught to the tune of a hickory stick.

In my preteens and early teens I spent many a day working on an open party fishing boat owned by a friend of my family. The work was long and dirty, and sometimes I was very cold and wet. I didn’t get paid even one red cent, though I did occasionally get tips. I was yelled at, bossed around and got my hind end spanked or my shoulder backhanded if I didn’t do things right. But I was taught how to work so as to be proud of the results, and I was allowed to fish during a hot bite. Those were both great rewards.

Maybe it was a bit brutal and maybe by today’s standards I could perhaps have sued the guy for child abuse and child labor law infringement. Looking back now, those were defining years, and I sure wouldn’t trade those experiences. By the way, my parents did know about how I was treated and they let me decide for myself whether I wanted to keep doing it. They were ready to back my decision, either way.

I did stay with it because I knew I was gaining valuable lessons the old-school way. Those lessons are still paying off for me.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >