My Mom was special. Not solely because she was my Mom, but because she was a friend, and a Mom to many other kids growing up. Her non-selfish ways were easily seen in her community, and through her acts of kindness which were never publicized. They were all done with a full heart.
(Dad grew up fishing the White River in NW Arkansas so he and his brothers could eat. His Dad passed away early in their life)
(I never seen him eat a piece of fish, ever)
Linda Faye Baggett grew up in Rogers, Arkansas with a lifelong passion of fishing. Her brothers, and sisters were raised on property that is now beneath the waters of Beaver Lake, in Prairie Creek.
She told many stories of fishing small creeks, and streams in NW Arkansas. The stories were also filled with how they were poor, but were always surrounded by the love of her family.
Fishing sustained her, and held tightly to the center of her heart.
Swim that Worm!
Mom never worried about the latest fishing trends, or techniques. Her Zebco 33 sufficed for her needs, as long as she had fresh line, and a rubber worm tied to the end.
I read the latest Bassmaster, or Field & Stream to learn all I could, and she still beat me, every single time! She also caught bigger fish….. every single time!
Her approach was simple. Smile, and “just reel.” She mastered it, and caught some good ‘uns!
That Dreaded Word.
I remember it well. Coming in the rear door of the house, I seen Dad, hugging my Mom who was crying.
They told me to sit down at the counter.
Mom walked away, and Dad said “Son, your Mom has Cancer.”
I didn’t say a word, because honestly I didn’t know the full meaning of it, only knowing it wasn’t good news. I was in 3rd grade.
Mom’s Faith, and Fishing
I met some very interesting people while traveling with Mom to each of her chemo treatments. I didn’t miss a single one. We always had a fun trip. Windows rolled down, KC and the Sunshine Band played, and sometimes we splurged for KFC. Those were great days for me. You could see Mom struggle through the treatment. But once it was over, we went shopping for fishing tackle, and the following day we fished!
Her setup was simple. A Plano tacklebox, that Zebco 33, and multiple bags of blue, black, or green worms all strapped to a Honda 4-wheeler.
If that Honda ATV wasn’t in the garage, she was fishing a nearby pond and would show up just before sunset, with a stringer full of fish, and a smile.
Dad built her a pond so she could stay close and when she needed time alone.
Mom’s Faith in God, and her love for fishing kept her moving despite the internal hell that the cancer was causing. “Just one more fish” was her mindset.
The Rubber Boot.
Dad bought me and Mom each a 2-man water scamp, with trolling motors. We were BIG TIME!
We would fish bigger waters and have a blast. She still beat me! I can remember looking across small water shed lakes and see her cast that Zebco.
One night we went to the city lake which was inundated with lily pads, and Mom decided to fish from the bank.
“Swimming a worm” I landed my biggest fish to date, that weighed 6-14.
As I approached Mom on the bank, she thought I was pulling her leg with a rubber boot.
Once we got closer, she flipped out!!!!! It’s a great memory. I still go to that spot.
Seeing me WIN!
One of the proudest moments I have was seeing Mom’s face as I held up the two fish that helped me win my third tournament. She was so happy. It was a miserably hot day in August.
Her Last Words / Wish
Mom’s last words to me were, “Always make sure your boat and truck match.” She passed away on February 27, 1997.
To this day, my truck and boat have always matched, ALWAYS. In the rod locker closest to me (starboard side) you’ll always find two things.
- a Zebco 33 with a rubber worm, in the same manner as Mom did it
- and, a small Plano tackle box filled with the same tackle that Mom used.
It’s my way of remembering and keeping her close to me. and keeping her memory alive.
I miss you, Mom.