I knew I was missing something when we got a call from one of our male caregivers a couple of weeks ago with an unusual request: “Leave my Wednesdays alone” Mr O politely but assertively instructed our staff. Coming from a very reliable caregiver with a live-in assignment (4 days on-4 days off), I just felt I needed to find out what was going on, so I asked him to the office.
Dear Mr O is not your typical caregiver. He comes from the oil patch, where he spent a good part of his adult life going from field to field and supervising hard-hatted and hard-headed crews before the last bust cycle convinced him, again, that enough was enough.
The husband of one of our most committed, skilled, and persuasive caregivers, Mr O reluctantly agreed to join our team last year to care for a very sweet gentleman who needed mainly companionship and good old man-food. The experience proved to be so rewarding for all involved that Mr O agreed to take on more, and more complex, assignments, for which he trained with exemplary dedication.
When Mr O and I met in my office, he presented an argument that simply eroded the carefully thought strategy that I had prepared to counter any and all objections. “I fish on Wednesdays in the Spring” he told me, hands on suspenders. “Always did, and always will”.
Of course! Few things are so much a part of life in Texas as fishing is. The state’s geography is blessed with thousands of lakes (around 7,000 in fact, many of them man-made after the devastating drought of the 1950s), almost 200,000 miles of waterways among 15 rivers and 3,700 named streams, and over 360 miles of coastline.
Mr O’s favorite catch is the Sand bass and his favorite spot Steele Creek in the upper Bosque end of Lake Whitney. There, he will stand in the bank for hours enjoying the action with which his top water lures announce each strike. And he has had days of up to a hundred catch-and-release strikes of Sand, White, Striped, even Black bass. Catfish too. “It don’t matter to me. They all make a nice meal”.
It soon became clear to me that the need to have his assignment colleague agree to rearranging pre-set schedules in order to accommodate to Mr O’s request, as complicated as that was going to be, would not deter him. Quite the contrary, without realizing it, as if hypnotized by Mr O’s enthusiasm and determination, I found myself checking my calendar to see if I could actually join him one day. One Wednesday, that is.
The Discretely column by Eduardo Berdegué is published monthly in newspapers throughout the Heart of Texas region.