Thursday, May 25, 2023

Fishing With Grandma


Thinking of my grandma today. Her name was Wilma. Wilma Ward. That was her married name. My grandfather, Bill misses her badly and right now he is 93 years old. He still drives.

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was a kid. During the 80’s. My mom’s parents.

One memory I have of my grandma when I was young was when we would go fishing together.

She was an incredible lady. She gave me a Bible she owned before she passed on. In the first few blank pages of the Bible she showed me I drew a couple of circles when I was only a few years old. In one circle I drew eyes and a smile.

This was amusing to me. She showed me this when I was an adult. That’s when she gave me her Bible. I was touched by the gesture. She said she liked what I drew. I secretly felt bad I marked in her Bible and apologized for what I did.

The spine of the old sacred Bible is cracked from the years of use and seems brittle. I thought to have it rebound but I think I’ll keep it that way. I store it in a cigar humidor I don’t use anymore. It fits perfectly. I take it out and look at it once in a while.

I was completely spoiled to great fishing as a child on my grandparents farm.

I remember her saying, “Son! Let’s go down to the lake and go fishing.” She said she liked fishing and even if she didn’t get a bite it made her feel better. It calmed her she said. I didn’t understand the depth of what she meant then but now I do.

There’s something primal about the outdoors. It feels right. It’s like it’s hardwired into the human DNA. You know the feeling when it feels right.

There was a worn path to the lake from many trips. She would tell me not to brush up against anything green so we would avoid any ticks. I always came back loaded with ticks no matter how hard I tried. It always ended with a warm bath she made for me afterward. She put one small cap of PineSol in my baths to wash away tons of tiny “seed ticks” that would cover my legs. It seemed to work and I liked the smell of the cleaning solution on my skin.

We would get to the lake and pop open the tackle box.

I call it a lake because it seemed so huge to me as a child. She called it “the lake” too. It actually had an island in the middle of it. While fishing I would daydream of being on that little island. Oh what it would be like! Fishing from the bank there.

When I was four years old my grandparents made the lake. A big man in overalls came with a bulldozer and pushed the earth into shape. I was amazed!

He let me ride on the dozer with him. He gave me hard candy from his pocket. I don’t remember the flavor of candy exactly but I’ll never forget the feeling.

The earth was so red and rocky. How would we get water in there? Grandma said “Rain son.”

I tried to imagine. At first I thought they would stretch the well house hose to the lake and turn it on until it filled.

It wasn’t to long and the lake was full. It couldn’t drink another drop. Before it was full, grandma would walk to the lake to see the waterline after each rain. Once it was full as she like she told my grandpa to order fish. They stocked it full of Crappie, Bass, Blue Gill, Catfish, and Perch. They also put a few Carp in there. They weren’t for eating. They were for the moss they said and they grew to at least three foot long. I heard tales of grandma “snagging” one, and it broke her line like you could snap a spiders web.

There was a small spillway from the edge of the lake. It carved a beautiful little waterfall right into the rock. I played in the tiny spillway sometimes while grandma fished. Sometimes I would see tadpoles, crawfish, and even baby catfish that traveled their way from the lake.

It’s like a dream today. Where did that time go? I go back there sometimes in my mind. It feels good to visit.

Now when I say I was spoiled to fishing in the lake I mean to explain that they allowed no one but family to fish there. It was stocked full and grandma would often take a five gallon bucket of fish food and throw it in, one handful at a time. It was a frenzy. The fish went wild. It was a buffet.

It was nothing for me to cast a line and pull in a five pound bass or a giant bull catfish. Most of the time we would throw them back in to freedom. When the weekend came and grandma wanted fish, we would load our stringers.

It was a feast! I cleaned many fish with grandma and grandpa. She made homemade hush puppies.

How could I forget fishing with grandma. When she fished she glowed.

#fishing 

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