During the mid 70’s I was employed at the Bank of A & M in College Station, Texas.  That may sound a little strange for someone who bleeds Orange and attends all of the week-end home games for the Texas Longhorn Baseball Team.  What is even more unusual, I have a son and daughter who attended A & M University.  But I was blessed with a daughter who graduated from The University of Texas at Austin.  At the Bank of A & M all the officers (except JB) were graduates of A & M.  On all publications listing the officers of the bank, the year of their graduation was placed behind their name.  This is not a story about the bank…it’s about a fishing trip to Mexico with a loan officer (Stan) and the husband of another officer of the bank (Herb).  This was about Stan’s reaction when he caught a Rio Grande Perch. 

rio grande perch

Rio Grande Perch

When I think of Stan and Herb, I always think of “Laurel and Hardy.”  In case you don’t know who they were, they were a very popular comedy team during the 1920’s until the mid 1940’s.  They were also known as “Stan and Ollie.”

File:Stan and ollie.jpg

Stan Laurel (1890-1965) & Oliver Hardy (1892-1957)

Stan was like Stan…slender.  Herb was like Ollie…not so slender.  In their own way they were funny, but not as slap-stick funny as Stan and Ollie.

I invited Stan and Herb on a fishing trip at a great bass-fishing lake in Mexico near Victoria (about two hundred miles south of the Mexican border.  Herb owned a great bass boat.  We hooked his trailer to my car and left for McAllen, Texas about noon on Friday.  We spent the night in McAllen so we could get an early start on our drive to Lake Guerrero.

Stan and Herb had never traveled in Mexico and were a little confused on how things worked during those days.  There was a long line waiting to receive approval for traveling in Mexico.  I took all of our ID papers and the necessary documents for the auto, trailer, and boat and went to the back of the line.  I told them to just wait at the back of the room and try to stay out of trouble.  Suddenly, one of the officials motioned for me to come to the front of  the line.  I presented all of the necessary papers, and was given approval documents for our trip…ASAP.

Stan and Herb didn’t understand why I was called to the front of the line…as I said, they had never traveled in Mexico.  I told them maybe it was the cash I had in my hand as I placed it on my chest.  As we began our trip south, I gave our entry documents to Stan (he was riding shotgun), told him to look in the glove compartment and get a few $ out of my bank bag put in the document folder.  They began to understand how $ could smooth the way through the Federal checkpoints.  At each checkpoint, there would be a few autos being searched.  When we pulled up and Stan handed our papers to the official, he would open up the folder, smile, take the $, and wish us a pleasant trip.

We camped beside Lake Guerrero and fished for three days.  It was a great trip and we caught many bass.  The first day, Stan caught a huge Rio Grande Perch.  When he pulled the fish in the boat, he would not touch it.  The Rio Grande Perch is a very colorful fish, but it has a large hump just behind its head.  Stan said it looked lake a Brahma bull and he would not touch it because he thought it might have a mouth full of sharp teeth.  I had to remove the hook from the perch’s mouth, open its mouth, and show that it was harmless.  As I mentioned, they had never been to Mexico and it seemed like they were afraid of everything.

On our return trip, we arrive at the border at Brownsville and the Mexican officials motioned for me to pull over to the outer lane.  They approached the car and said, “Only the driver, come with us?”  They took me into the building and down a long hallway to a back office.  At that point, I was joining Stan and Herb in their fear of Mexico and I am sure they are really wondering what is going to happen to me…and them.

As it turned out, I met with a representative of the Mexican Chamber of Commerce.  They were taking a tourist survey and asked me a few questions and then escorted me back to my ashen-faced friends.  I think Stan and Herb enjoyed the fishing trip a lot more when the arrived back in College Station.  It was a lot more enjoyable to them when it was over.

On each adventure there are one or more lessons.  Just like traveling in Mexico was fearful for Stan and Herb, we sometimes fear the unknown.  Those things were are not familiar with.  We let our imagination run wild, but usually things or circumstances are not as bad as they appear or seem.  The Rio Grande Perch was beautiful, but it was different.  Although at that time, Mexico was not as dangerous as it is today, their laws and customs are very different from in the good old USA.  I was unaware of why I was being singled out at the border station and escorted deep into the building.  Fear is a terrible enemy.  There is One who can remove our fear of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  It is always a comfort to know that in all circumstances and situations, God is still in charge.  Satan can cause us fear when we allow it.  It is our faith in His protection that we able to overcome the fear that attacks.  And, we have His promise that He will never leave us.






4 Responses to ““RIO GRANDE PERCH””

  1. Lyndsey Says:

    I vote that you take me on a fishing trip to mexico 🙂

  2. pam Says:

    i, too, learned the ways of mexico with you and started making a few of my own rules…ha…great trips to mexico for you and me and of course john, kathleen, susan, and wendel…..FEAR CANNOT AND WILL NOT WIN…thanks for the reminder of who is in control…no weapon formed can prosper

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