After our snacks and about a half hour of awkward silence on the plane, the gentleman sitting next to me asked, “So, would you care to share some of your story you’re writting?”
I hesitantly said, “I suppose so…”
I began to read:
A typical farm pond; small and deep, no larger than a waiting room in a doctor’s office is often the setting for great stories for rural folks. The boy, while attempting unsuccessfully to put a worm on his hook, glanced at the pond, noticing its lack of size, and wondered if he could cast to the other shore with his open-faced reel. As the boy, around the age of 10, sat there patiently waiting, as patient as the typical fidgeting ten-year-old, for his father to come over to help set his hook, the boy felt as though today was a great day for fishing. The day being early in the Midwestern summer, not too hot like late June or July, so the heat will not quite reach its full. The boy looking at the pond toward the east noticed a gentle breeze passing through the cattails in the northeast corner toward a weeping willow gently hanging over the southeast corner of the pond.
The father, finally getting the boy’s reel set up with a worm on the hook and a bobber with Mickey Mouse sitting on inner tube, said in his typical cadence of pausing after everything thought, “Alright…now sit on this bucket…cast out there toward the middle so you can see Mickey floating on the water…watch him…and when you see him sink…starting reeling him in…”
The gentleman interrupted the story by snorting and laughing, “A Mickey Mouse bobber!”
I looked at him with a confused sort of expression, “Ah, it was a classic, I still remember it vividly to this day. I’ve got many a great fish with the help of that mouse.”
So I began my story again:
The boy thought the instructions simple enough, so he tucked the fishing line underneath his index finger, pulled open the metal guard with his left hand to open up the reel for his cast and with a motion much like a pitcher’s wind up cast with great effort toward the pond only to get Mickey about half across the pond. “Huh,” the boy retorted internally as he awaited the sinking of Mickey. It didn’t take long on that day–as if the boy had cast his net on the right side of the ship at the start–for the fish to start coming. Bluegill after Bluegill were taking ahold of the boy’s hook. He would passionately snap the pole to set in the hook and reel in the fish like a whale had taken hold of the line, yelling to his father, “I got another one!” And the Father would run over and over to help unhook the fish.
“Wait a second, you couldn’t unhook your own fish?” asked the gentleman.
“It was one of the first times I went fishing and to be honest I learned a lot during the whole process. My Dad taught me to watch the top fins spikes on a bluegill and if you run your finger from the head to the back fin you could lay down the spikes from poking you,“ I said. “Should I go on?”
The catch was starting to be so abundant throughout the day that the boy started to notice that his Father hadn’t got a single fish. So, as most sons do, he started to poke fun at his Father, “I’m way better at this fishing than you are Dad.” The boy’s father replied, “I’m fishing for Bass, I have to use a lure, it takes patience and bit of skill to catch these fish.” The ten-year-old thought, “Nonsense.” At the end of the day, the boy had a glut of fish, a total of 25 fish: 22 Blue Gill and 3 Catfish. The Father finally caught his one single bass and was so overjoyed by this single solitary fish. So, much so, that the boy found it odd that his Father was so proud of the one bass. The boy thought he had hauled in enough to feed the entire family for weeks, what made this particular fish of great price? At any rate, the boy figured there was some sort of teaching moment with the outcome; he didn’t understand it.