December 15th 2009

Tim's Tackle Box first building

There are many memories of working in my late father’s tackle shop and I feel compelled to share one with you.

It was Christmas day 1985, about three in the afternoon. A customer placed his minnow bucket by the bait tank and thrust his hands back into his pockets. I greeted him as I poured water into his bucket and asked how his Christmas day was going so far. “Not so good” he sighed. “How’s that” I asked while counting his minnows. “My wife and I divorced a few months back and I’m really missing my kids today”. “Well, at least you’re going fishing” I quickly replied. “Yeah, I suppose” he mumbled and shuffled towards the register.

My mind raced as we met at the counter and said “Minnows are free on Christmas day” and wished him good luck. He nearly smiled, for just a second and he thanked me as he walked out.

As he left the store, I knew I had failed him. How hard would it have been for me to invite him to dinner or to just reach out to him in some way? I felt terrible and wished I had done more. I wouldn’t understand how much this experience would affect me down the road.

I’ve thought of that man at least 24 times since that day.

Blessings -TJ

About TJ Stallings

45-year tackle industry veteran Marketing and Crazy Ideas at TTI-Blakemore Fishing Group (Home of Road Runner Lures and six hook brands including Tru-Turn, Daiichi, XPoint, Team Catfish, Mr. Crappie and StandOUT Hooks.) Home of Gun Protect. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of TJ Stallings and not necessarily those of TTI-Blakemore.
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4 Responses to December 15th 2009

  1. It seems to me you did reach out in a pretty neat way… I bet he has thought of you 24 times since then as well.

    • tjstallings says:

      Thanks Rich. Ironically; I found myself divorced the next Christmas and got my chance to see what he was going through. I was at a loss for words with that guy, but it won’t let that happen again. Have a blessed CHRISTmas my friend.

  2. Bill Porter says:

    Dear TJ, You photo and words touched me. But one thing I learned from your dad a long time ago…that if you do your job well, you can impact the lives of those you come in contact with. While you may feel you missed an opportunity for something greater, know that a simple gesture of kindness can impact those greatly. In my business I have tried to convey a single message to all my staff. If you do your job well, work to truly understand meet a customers needs you can truly impact and improve the quality of a customers life. This life & business lesson, while maybe not told in the same manner, came from your dad….and from you also. So know that your work impacts peoples lives in ways you may never know….It impacted mine. I would not be the person I am without the gifts your family gave to me through life lessons and experiences I had working for them. Have a great Christmas and thanks for sharing the story.

  3. Don Gasaway says:


    This is a great story to relate at this time of year. May the blessings of the season be yours. You deserve it.

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