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Gift of a Day Feature Story July 2017
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No Fish Tales, Just Pure Fun.

Mark Twain wrote: “Do not tell fish stories where the people know you - but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.” Oh the fun of telling fish tales! These exaggerations of big catches are so common among fishermen it almost seems like part of the sport – but not for purist James Hoffman.

James spent decades angling at Newman Crick yet never let on about the size or fierceness of the fish he caught. Impervious to such trappings, he’s happy just being out on a boat. Fishing is James’ passion – his retreat, his true religion. The calmness that floods his soul every time his pontoon cuts through the water’s glassy surface provides total joy – even if he never gets a bite.

It had been a long time since 73-year-old James baited his hook. But, Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care knew that it was time to dust off his tackle box and set sail! This time, James was joined by a very special crew – first mate and wife, Ann, plus his daughter, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

They set out on a sunny afternoon on Portage Lake and casted their lines as James reminisced. “Remember the time we were ice fishing and I caught my boots on fire,” he laughed. James also took great care teaching his enthusiastic 4-year-old great grandson the proper way to hold a ‘flopper.’ They refueled on-board with sandwiches and chocolate cupcakes – James’ favorite.

James still resisted telling tales, but was never happier - gliding across the water with his beloved family at the helm. It was a bittersweet but ever-respectful bon voyage to all the swimmers far below.