Photo by Staples Photography
Bay City, Michigan
Sport fisherman and guide, high school business and technology teacher
When did you first pick up a rod and reel?
I think I was fishing before I was walking.
What do you enjoy most about it?
Just being outside. Also, fishing is a challenge. You can’t bank on doing the same thing every day, the same technique, the same location.
What’s your favorite species to fish?
Definitely the walleye.
What’s a great day for you?
Catching 50 or 60. (But you can only keep five per person per day.)
A live nightcrawler.
Biggest fish you’ve ever caught?
A northern pike—it was 45 inches and weighed 23 pounds, on the Saginaw River in Michigan.
Any crazy fish tales?
We once had a lake sturgeon jump in the boat as we were fishing. Kind of freaked us out.
Favorite way to cook your catch?
Probably the best way—and it’s the worst for you—is to deep fry them. You can also grill them; place them on foil with a little bit of Italian dressing, and they come out great.
Photo by Jennifer Vance Smith
Native American (Muscogee Creek) powwow dancer, kindergarten teacher
What inspired you to participate in powwows?
As a child, I saw the beauty of the dancing and became determined to be a dancer. I am 30 years old now and have been dancing for 20 years.
What is a powwow?
A powwow is a social gathering—a way for our nomadic DNA to rejuvenate through traveling from powwow to powwow and seeing familiar faces. Powwows are not ceremonial gatherings, but ceremonies often happen at powwows.
What happens during a powwow?
A dancer most often dances in a particular style. Men and women have their own styles of dance, but for each man’s style, there is a woman’s style that is comparable.
Do you incorporate powwows into your teaching curriculum?
Every November, I begin by teaching traditional dances and games for PE. We make Native art and then right before Thanksgiving break, we do an assembly for the school. The kids love it! They all think they are Indian afterwards, it’s great.
Photo by Fred Fiddelke
“Disappearing” clarinetist, peafowl authority, elementary music teacher
Why is one of your musical acts called the “wacky disappearing clarinet”?
I developed a routine in which I take the instrument apart from the bottom up, piece by piece, and continue playing until I’m left with only the mouthpiece.
You performed on The Tonight Show. What was the best part about that experience?
Inspiring my students to work hard. What the children remember is that their teacher practices really hard and he got on The Tonight Show. It must have been a personal highlight.
I think that was the greatest thing I’ve done in my teaching career.
On to another noisemaker. How did you develop an interest in peacocks?
I was never an animal person, but I fell in love with peacocks after I bought one for my wife for our farm. I love that the birds play a symphony every time they display their tail feathers. They’re kind of a match for my clarinet.
Send us your story
Want to be featured here? We want to hear about members’ unique hobbies. Tell us yours and upload a picture or video by clicking on the In Person forum at www.nea.org/tools/talk.htm.