COLUMN: Perry Bergson — July 28, 2014

Perry
Perry Bergson
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The sun sets at Emma Lake during a peaceful evening of fishing last week.

Last Tuesday I went fishing.

That may not qualify as much of a newsy item to the many frequent anglers in the area but it was big event for me.

I was taken out on Emma Lake by Dave Leaderhouse. It was his idea that I should experience a little bit of time on the water like everyone else here seems to.

My last fishing expedition was on the ice about a decade ago when I went to a massive fishing derby with a group of friends. I was the only person in our group to catch a fish, although I have to add that it was on my buddy’s line after he went to the “powder room,” in no small part because of his many lake beers.

I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with the last time that I threw a line into water that wasn’t frozen and I’m coming up blank. I honestly don’t remember.

It’s an odd admission because part of my summer every year was spent on the lake as I grew up.

My folks still own the little silver and red boat that was a big part of my childhood, especially when we went on our annual weeklong pilgrimage to a camp near Waterhen. Man., located near the north end of Lake Manitoba on a channel.

Some years we were in a tent, other years we were in one of the small cabins.

The radio must have been on a lot because songs like Don Williams’ Amanda -- a year before Waylon Jennings recorded the same song and it went to No. 1 in 1974 -- still conjure up a picture of sitting at the campsite.

It was always exciting as we headed out over the waves to a not-so-distant spot on Lake Manitoba.

On those hot days, it was hard to stay motivated when the fish weren’t biting. We would crawl under the front part of the boat, where it was stuffy but shady, so we could read or nap.

A big part of the return to shore for me was when my dad would take the fish to the fillet shack. This might horrify some young parents who are a bit squeamish, but I was fascinated by the process. And although I never developed my father’s deft hand, I wasn’t very old when I knew what the inside of a fish looked like and where everything was located.

A huge pile of papers was located there to help with the process; I wasn’t above grabbing a National Enquirer and taking it back to the tent to read.

I remembered the feeling of that first jerk of the rod when a fish bit but I can’t really recall any great fishing stories.

I’m sure that I must have caught some big ones; I do remember checking the stringer behind the boat to ensure that my fish were still there. And being chosen to wield the net as a fish was being landed was almost as good as catching the fish yourself.

Somewhere I lost the thread and it took Dave hauling me out to the lake to rediscover it.

We didn’t catch a fish but we hooked a big memory.

Thanks buddy.

 

• • • 

 

There was time back in the day when The Rockford Files was one of my favourite shows.

I thought of it for the first time in years last week when James Garner’s death was announced. The show ran from 1974-80 --roughly the same period as another favourite, Quincy M.E. -- and featured Garner as Jim Rockford, a private investigator.

It wasn’t a show about fighting and shooting; instead, Garner was perfectly cast as an easy-going, slick-talking investigator who always found his way out of tight situations with his gift of gab.

In all, there were 122 episodes and eight films made. It’s clear they liked to hire great actors when you see who appeared in the 130 stories.

The guest stars include Louis Gossett Jr., Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), Linda Evans (Dynasty), Lauren Bacall, Pernell Roberts (Bonanza and Trapper John M.D.), Rob Reiner (All in the Family), Joan Van Ark (Knots Landing), Jess Walton (The Young and the Restless), Ted Shackelford (Knots Landing and The Young and the Restless), Steve Landsberg and Abe Vigoda (Barney Miller) and Stefanie Powers (Hart To Hart).

Some of the singer/actors who appeared on the show included Willie Nelson, Isaac Hayes (also the voice of Chef on South Park), Rick Springfield and Dionne Warwick.

Suzanne Somers of Three’s Company was on The Rockford Files, as was Priscilla Barnes, the woman who replaced her on the sitcom.

A pair of actors from one my favourite ’70s sitcoms, WKRP, also appeared, Richard Sanders (Les Nessman) and Gordon Jump (Arthur “Big Guy” Carlson).

Three actors from Magnum, P.I. guest starred; Tom Selleck (Thomas Magnum), Roger E. Mosley (TC) and Larry Manetti (Orville “Rick” Wright).

I liked some of Garner’s other work -- even the 1980s movies like Tank and Murphy’s Romance and his 1994 film Maverick -- but he will always be Jim Rockford to me.

May he rest in peace.

 

Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at perry.bergson@paherald.sk.ca

 

Organizations: National Enquirer, Daily Herald

Geographic location: Emma Lake, Lake Manitoba, Waterhen South Park

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