Chance encounter on the water with 'db'
One of the best outdoor writers I’ve ever been exposed to is a scribe by the name of Don Barone, calling himself simply db. Originally from the Buffalo area, he has moved on to bigger and better things. It hasn’t always been that way. Right now he is penning a blog that appears with the Bass Anglers Sportsmen’s Society following the professional circuit, telling the stories of the anglers – their struggles and challenges, triumphs and defeats. Quite often he brings in his own life experiences. Every story ties in the lyrics of a song. His musical knowledge must be amazing.
“Welcome to the Planet. Welcome to Existence. Everyone’s Here. Everyone’s watching you now. Everybody waits for you now. What happens next …”
After reading the first story I was exposed to, I felt a connection, a kinship of sorts. I wished I could write with his style, his conviction, his emotion. He could mold his words to cause you to openingly chuckle; a few paragraphs later he could bring a tear to your eye. From beginning to end, he could grab your attention and take you down roads less travelled. He leaves you begging for more and you crave for more words from db.
It wasn’ t long before I found there was a small world moment – he grew up in Western New York, attending high school at Kenmore West. We had something in common. I also came to find out that his favorite place to fish was the Niagara River, another common bond that flowed through us like the water from Buffalo to Youngstown.
“I dare you to move. Like today never happened. Today never happened before.”
I can remember sending an email to db, letting him know of my position with the tourism office and with local and state media outlets. Amazingly, he responded back! As the stories came in on a regular basis, I would drop an occasional note letting him know how things were from this side of the water and how his words made a difference … touched hearts and lives.
From time to time, I would extend an invitation for fishing, but I knew he had family and friends he was committed to whenever he came back “home.” A few weeks ago he wrote a story about buddy fishing on the lower Niagara River and he shared it with me before it went out to the masses. It was great and I told him so.
Fast forward to the launch ramp in Lewiston on Oct. 28. I remember because we were giving a couple representatives from the U.S. Angling Confederation a short tour of the river fishing, showcasing its beauty and versatility. I was asking them if they have ever read any of the articles by db and read his most recent expose on the lower river. I recommended it highly.
“Maybe redemption has stories to tell. Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell. Where can you run to escape from yourself? Where you gonna go? Salvation is here.”
As I paid homage to the river and db, I looked up the stairs. Walking down toward me was the unmistaken profile of a man that could only be db himself. Capt. Frank Campbell, who we would be fishing with, ran into db up top, getting ready to go fishing. When he found out I was down below, he scampered down the stairs and introduced himself. “Nice to meet you Bill!”