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Bob Dixon

Agency Manager


Middlesboro, KY 40965


Go Big Blue!

OUTDOOR TRUTHS: An 'Old Man River' Story

By Gary Miller

It such a shame that time seems to be in lesser quantities as one gets older. It’s not just age but the responsibilities that come with having a family, career, and expenses. I can remember when the striper and walleye run would be the most important event in my life. Since the run was only a few weeks long, everything else would have to wait until the more predictable days of fishing came. I was not the only one who felt a draw to the river during this time.

In fact, fishing in the river during March was one of the few times where I stood nearly shoulder to shoulder with other fishermen just to have a place to wet a line. And as soon as someone left, the vacuum would be filled quickly by another fisherman wanting that spot. It was there I learned what a doll fly was, and I learned to bring plenty of them because the river had a way of eating her share as well. If the water was drained at Earl’s Holler, there is no telling what stories it would have and what treasures it would expose. The river has a unique quality. The water that runs in her banks has never passed through there before, and yet the riverbed itself has remained basically the same. Erosion has softened her floor but only to reveal a more solid foundation. What is loose and shallow has floated away and what is firm and deep has remained to provide an unmovable path for her liquid cargo. Very rarely do we ever see a storm so great that it permanently changes the direction of the river. Most of the time when the storm subsides, the waters find their previous parameters and mind them well.

I want my life to be like Old Man River. I don’t want to be a stagnant pool. I want my foundation to be solid and yet smooth and the things that are shallow to float away. I also want to provide a path for every new thing that life offers but I want to make sure it conforms to what I know to be true and right. And what about the storms? There’s no doubt at times they will overflow my banks, but hopefully after the water subsides, my direction will be just as sure as it was before the storm. If this exemplifies my life, I will be able to say I have been blessed by the presence and stories of many friends who left some great treasures for me to guard.

Gary Miller can be reached via email at


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