I never knew Reas Weeks . . . but I sure know some good stories about him. Reas (pronounced “Reese”) was a bachelor in Dry Creek who lived on the bank of Bundick Creek. He lived way back in the woods, never owned a vehicle, and supported himself by fishing, hunting, and gardening.
Mr. Frank Miller always told the story of once when Reas and another man became lost hunting in Bundick swamp. They spent the night in the woods—cold, hungry, and miserable. The next morning at daylight they finally stumbled upon Reas’s shack. But Reas was confused, and still addled from being lost in the woods all night. It seemed they had approached the cabin from the opposite side he thought they were on. He exclaimed, “I know that’s my cabin, but the chimney’s on the wrong end.”
But my favorite Reas Weeks story involves what he was best at—fishing. He was known as the best creek fisherman in our area. My dad tells the story from his childhood of the school bus picking Reas up along the road. When Reas boarded the bus, he laid a 40-pound catfish on the bench by my dad. Reas was going to the community store to sell this fish.
Another of the Miller brothers, Mr. Jay Miller, was a neighbor to Reas Weeks. He related as to how he was always amazed at the large catfish Reas hooked in Bundick Creek. Mr. Jay, an excellent fisherman himself, marveled at why Reas could snag the big ones but he never did.
He told me he finally asked Reas, “Why can you catch the big ones but I can’t? We set lines in the same holes and use the same bait.” Reas Weeks smiled and said, “Jay, come with me to the barn.” At the barn, Reas got out a large bucket that had his hooks and lines carefully wrapped around it. He took a whet rock out of his overalls and began sharpening a hook. Then he stated, “Jay, if you’re gonna catch the big ones, you’ve got to keep your hooks sharp. Those big catfish have tough mouths. A dull hook won’t set but a sharp one will.”
I smile as I think of this story. Then I always recall the spiritual message of this story. Jesus has called us to be “fishers of men.” If we are going to effectively reach others for Him, our hook had better be sharp. In my life, I’ve found that this is only done by spending time with Jesus. As we study His word, the Bible, and fellowship with God in prayer, our lives will always be sharpened for His use.
Yes, I never knew Reas Weeks. . . He lived before my time in Dry Creek. But all of my life he has reminded me to keep my “hooks sharp.”