It seems the older we get, the more time we spend looking back on how life used to be when we were young and spry. It seems life has passed us by, and to some extent it has. Todayâ€™s world with its Internet, Facebook and other technical innovations can be confusing, strange and at times unnerving. It moves too fast for some of us. Gone are the days of coal oil lamps, Sears Roebuck and Co. catalogs (1896-1993), underwear made from flower sack material, morning and evening milking, and the long walks to and from school in all kinds of weather. Growing up in those days was hard, but it didnâ€™t kill us. What it did do was make us appreciative for what we did have, tough and determined. Those characteristics are some of the reasons why todayâ€™s seniors are called the Greatest Generation.
Because money was tight and mostly non-existent, todayâ€™s seniors learned to enjoy the simple pleasures of life at an early age: Church events, local dances and family gatherings, to name a few, that even today remain in our memories.
Fishing has always been part of rural living — and urban living, as well, although maybe not as much. It was and is a recreational activity that cost very little and for the most part pays off handsomely. Because of restrictive accessibility and the potential for injuries, river and stream bank fishing in not feasible for many seniors. However, lake fishing is another story, especially if those lakes have easily accessible fishing docks or piers that meet the needs of individuals with physical disabilities.
One such place is Spanaway Lake. One of south Puget Soundâ€™s most popular recreational lakes, Spanaway is located a half-mile west of Spanaway off State Route 7. Containing perch, small and large-mouth bass, brown bullhead, and trout, the lake is frequently stocked with 15,000 to 30,000 rainbow trout, averaging 10 to 12 inches, by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The lake, open to fishing year-round, has a boat launch with a newly renovated boat ramp, fishing pier (wheelchair-accessible), handicapped-accessible bathrooms, a new picnic area by the south swimming beach, and for those so inclined, boat rentals, including canoes and paddle boats.
Bud Herlitska, manager of the Spanaway Boathouse, is a senior citizen himself. He said the frequent gatherings of seniors on the fishing pier are â€œmore like a community meeting. While fishing is the main focal point, a cross-section of viewpoints, ideas and information are commonly shared. Current and past health issues, as well as federal, state and local politics are also common themes. There is a wealth of information and experience among those groups, and politicians would be well-advised to listen to their concerns and suggestions. After all, those seniors have live through the good and bad times, and most near and dear to their hearts, is the well-being of this country.â€
According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, there are now more Americans 65 and older than at any time in U.S. history. They make up 13 percent of the nationâ€™s total population and that number is expected to increase rapidly over the next decade as more baby boomers start to turn 65.