Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Reel Expert Can Tackle Anything!

Cambridge, Maryland, Friday, July 23, 2010:  
Heat Index = 116°F
Hottest Heat Index in the state of Maryland for yesterday.

What are the odds of being there & smack dab in the middle of all that?

Despite the heat index, hot pavement, & literally dripping sweat, I was amid a throng of friends & family to the late Bill Burton.  An avid fisherman and newspaper man, Bill Burton was a defender of the Chesapeake Bay.  It's only fitting that Maryland Department of Natural Resources named the old Choptank River Bridge in Western Maryland "The Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park."  Likewise, since Bill Burton wrote several columns in 1985 to save the Choptank Bridge from destruction when the new one was built, it's even more fitting that it carry his name. 

At the dedication yesterday, that you could truly see how much of an impact one person can make on so many others.  From Joseph Gill (Deputy Secretary of MD's Dept. of Natural Resources), to Lois Burton (Bill's wife of 42 years), to his daughter Heather Boughey, and even his granddaughter "Grumpy," everyone regaled stories of Bill's stories.  Overwhelmingly, you could see that even if you didn't know him, you felt as though you did both from their stories of him, and his stories he wrote for the paper. You could see the ripples (as a stone thrown in the Bay) of Bill Burton's importance and unknown impact on others...which reach farther than perhaps even Bill Burton knew. 

One of the beauties of this fishing pier, as Joseph Gill commented, is that it is a place where people can come to laugh and fish, and be alive.  How very appropriate for Bill Burton.  He felt that everyone should have access to the Bay, whether boat owners or not, and here was a place you could do it.  Especially kids--Bill loved to get kids "hooked" on fishing.

After the sweltering yet endearing ceremony, that's just what we did.  We got kids hooked on fishing--and appreciated the breeze over the water!!  A crew of 3 adults and 5 kids, fishing rods, and tackle boxes headed down the pier!  From the "one that got away" (breaking the line, that strong one!), to doing the "Woah Nellie!" reel-in, to kissing a caught fish or two, to seeing swimming crabs & turtles...Bill Burton was smiling down on us, I'm sure of it!  And though it was steamy, the breeze was a relief, and there were no complaints (until hunger of course hit)!  It was a lot more fun that being the "human couch potatoes" in our own, solitary, AC'ed homes.

To see Candus Thomson's article about the dedication in the Baltimore Sun, go to her blog:

To read up more on Maryland's great outdoorsman, writer, storyteller extraordinaire, and local version of Ernest Hemingway, go to 

To learn more about the Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park, click the title above or go to

Photos clicked by my camera & me!

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