November is a pretty busy month for Oklahoma high school football coaches, especially when their teams are involved in post-season action with a state championship in sight.
Yet on Monday, Nov. 9, Wagoner Head Coach Dale Condict wasn’t holed up in his office going over game plans for his top-ranked Bulldogs with fellow coaches. Instead, he was in the company of 96-year-old Ruby Taylor fishing from a boat in the middle of Fort Gibson Lake.
The fish weren’t biting much, but the experience was memorable for both parties as they had never met until that day.
It all started when Ruby’s daughter, Janet, was talking with her financial advisor, Kyle Ford with Edward Jones. Janet takes care of her mother, and Ford told her if there is anything he can help her with to just let him know. He said, “I will probably know someone who can help if I can’t.”
An idea came to Janet’s mind.
“I said I’d like you to find someone to take my mom fishing,” she recalled. “He said he could help me do anything, and I don’t fish. She and my dad use to do it. Kyle said he thought he could make that happen.”
That conversation happened back in February or March. When summer rolled around, the extreme heat prevented an outing to the lake. Ford said he had someone to take her mom fishing, but they needed to wait for cooler weather.
It turned out that Monday, Nov. 9 was the day.
“I have never met the coach, but my mother has lived in Wagoner for a long time and she’s certainly heard about him,” Janet said. “When Kyle picked us up, he mentioned Coach Dale Condict. My momma looked at him and said, ‘The football coach?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ She thought she was a celebrity, it was so cute!”
Ford and Condict took Ruby to Toppers where they boarded the football coach’s boat and set out on the waters.
“My mom does really well and people can’t believe she’s 96,” Janet commented. “We trolled around, did a little fishing although they weren’t really biting and they got a catfish on the trot line.”
She commended Coach Condict and Ford for being amazing to her mom.
“She could not get over how these two men – as busy as they had to be – could take time out for her. They didn’t even know her, and I know what it’s done for her!” Janet exclaimed.
“Imagine taking a 96-year-old woman out fishing! I told coach, do what you would do with your own grandma. Treat her like your own,” she continued. “From then on, he and Kyle had her fishing from both sides of the boat and took such care of her … their kindness towards her and gentleness.
“I think there’s part of her where she’s a little embarrassed by it, but I know she loves it.”
Not only did the fishing trip bring joy to Ruby, but it was also meaningful to Wagoner’s football coach.
“Kyle and I have been friends from the coaching world and I’m now a client of his,” Condict said. “He knew I had a boat and the rest is history!
“It’s not every day you get to draw wisdom from a 96-year-old. It was my gain,” Condict continued. “We mostly talked about family but we also told some sports stories. The smile on Ruby’s face sums the day up for me.”
Ruby technically doesn’t have a bucket list of things she wants to do at this late stage in her life. However, going fishing – and with such a well-known person in town—is certainly something she can cross off her “to do” list.