Who needs school when you can go fishing? Certainly not Howard "Porky" Cutter!

As a boy, my folks traveled the southeastern part of the United States doing exploratory drilling for Standard Oil Co. Several of my uncles worked for my dad, therefore I had close contact with them and my aunts. Not being a normal kid (mostly growing up with adults), I did not do things as normal kids would do (I did not know how to play the way other kids did).

Many times while attending grade school in Florida, I was required to stand in the corner (who knows why), and since I seemed to disrupt the class while standing in the corner, I was required to stand behind the piano - near the window. Back in those days with no air conditioning, the windows had no screens and were left open. Needless to say, I became bored and would crawl out the window. I would go by my Aunt Alice Bell's home (near my fishing hole) and ask her to holler at me when it was time for school to be out so I could crawl back in the school window and then go home. As my aunt didn't want to loose my trust, I thought she was going along with my system. But she had told my folks what I was doing (not fair). This worked for a time until one day my dad drove by the school and saw me climbing out the school window. He did not do anything at the time. Later that day, he picked me up at school and the first words from his mouth were, "Catch any fish?" I knew then that the cat was out of the bag. That was the end of my school time fishing trips.

Oh, did I fail to mention my mother was my classroom schoolteacher?

Many times, I went to the job sites with my father and I would go fishing in the bayous in Florida and Texas. Once while fishing, I caught a large grasshopper (in Texas some are 2 inches long), placed it on my hook, dropped it in the water, stuck the end of the pole in the ground and went back to the rig. A few hours later, I went back to see if I had caught any fish. I found that the grasshopper had climbed up the fishing line and was setting on the end of my pole. I had caught no fish.

My dad taught me not to fall into the water by tying one end of a rope on himself and the other end on me. When he heard a big splash, he would just grab the rope and reel it in. After experiencing falling in the water a few times, I learned what was safe and what was not.

Unfortunately, today's world does not allow children to go to work with their parents to learn these life's lessons. Our children today do not have the same opportunity to teach their children in such a free, instructive, fun way.