Reading H2O Mellon's thread, "Thanks for the Time" got me thinking! When I was a kid we lived in the country a long way from town. Dad was in the Navy and away at sea for months at a time and my mom was deseased. I entertained myself outdoors with fishing, bike riding, tree climbing, Ice Skating, etc. A couple miles down the road was a farm owned by a tall skinny guy we all called "Old Man Hagen". On his farm was a pond that was full of Bullheads. That's where I spent a lot of my time. Mr. Hagen, I found out one day used to drive 10-12 miles into town and fish below a small dam, catch the Bullheads and bring them back to stock his pond. I've caught hundreds of fish out of that pond. In the winter the pond would freeze and my friends and neighbors would ice skate, sometimes all night, on it. Before we could go on it , Mr. Hagen would get his old Flatbed truck and drive it out on the pond to make sure it was safe. A couple times it fell thru and I remember Mr. Hagen climbing out and walking to the bank, (the pond was only about 4' deep), getting his tractor and pulling the truck out. Then He'd tell us, "Can't skate yet boys." I used to get tangles in my fishing reel and my fishing would be over until I could get to town and get some more line after cutting it all off. One day Mr. Hagen saw me doing that and stopped me. I sat quitely next to him while he untangled a "Birds Nest" I thought was hopeless, and before long my bobber was dancing again. I couldn't believe how patient he was about it. On a hot summer day he saw me in the field turning over rocks looking for bait. There were no worms to be found! He took me to the barn, went into the loft and brushed the wasps off a nest, took it down and showed me how to get the larvea out and put them on my hook. Before long I was back in the catfish business! He would also use spiders he found around the barn; a trick I still won't use, and catch fish on them. Other then relatives, Mr. Hagen was one of the most influential people in my life. I learned a lot from him about fishing, milking cows, animals in general, and life in general. Other then family members, who was the most influentail person in your life?