Fishing for Something More

shadow of fisherman in the water with float visible on the water surface

“If you are going to fish you need to learn how to cut a worm in half with your fingernail.” He grabbed my hand and placed a long squirmy pink one into the palm. We had dug it and half a dozen of its siblings up from my grandmother’s flower beds that morning.

Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty.

I squinted up at him in disbelief. “I can’t do that, Grandpa! It’s a worm.” I was five years old, old enough to have a sense of what was really gross and what wasn’t. 

There was no way…

“You can always do things you think you can’t.” He said it in such a way that it left no room for argument. 

He stood waiting.

I sighed as I tore the slimy thing into two wriggling halves. Brown and yellow colored worm guts were all over my fingers and under my thumbnails. 

He was right. 

Listen to your elders.

It was not as hard as I had imagined… and I was surprised to find that my hands washed off clean in the river. Clean enough to eat a bag of Cheetos with, at least. 

I hadn’t really wanted to go fishing. Fishing was for boys. But I really, really didn’t want to stay at home with my grandmother to help with the canning. That was too hot and messy and boring. Plus, grandpa had Cheetos.

Girls can do boy things.

Mmmmm. Cheetos. Finger lickin’ good…

He showed me how to thread my bit of worm onto the hook properly and how to cast without injuring anyone. We stood there for hours. Casting. Reeling back in. Casting. Reeling back in. I watched the bobber dunk below the surface countless times, felt the hard tugging on the line, only to pull up a bare hook again and again. Bastards. I never caught a thing. 

The fish were taunting me.

Sometimes you don’t get what you want, even when you work hard for it.

I was terribly disappointed but strangely addicted. I knew I could get those buggers next time…

My grandpa stopped to clean the fish he had caught so my grandmother could cook them up for dinner that night. He made me help, even though I begged him to let me play in the water instead. Worm guts were bad enough. Now fish guts?

Unpleasant things are often necessary and as much as you might want them to signal the end of the world, the world will not end. Not for you. 

As we were packing up my grandfather took my hook to pull off the last bits of remaining worm. I was not paying attention and ended up pulling the hook through his index finger.

Somehow, he didn’t cuss at me. He was a good man.

Always say you’re sorry. AND carry wire cutters in your tackle box in case of emergencies.

“Can we go again tomorrow, Grandpa?”

He grinned his lopsided grin as he slung the poles over his shoulder and led the way back to his beat up green Chevy truck. “You bet.”

I was secretly hoping for more of those Cheetos…

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82 thoughts on “Fishing for Something More

  1. Bwahaha! it was the Cheetos all along. It is funny isn’t it how our motivations change. Many arguments come to false conclusions because of that. We often go into a situation for one reason and during the process find that we actually enjoy and cherish it for a completely different reason. I bet your memories are strong about your Grandpa even though you were seeking Cheetos when you started. \Ha! Too funny Victo and too true.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I know how your grandpa feels, being stabbed by a fish hook. We took our little niece fishing once. The first thing I instructed her not to do was, DO NOT pull back on the pole while I’m baiting the hook. The first thing she did was pull back on the pole while I was baiting the hook. I guess she thought she’d have more luck catching her uncle, than a fish.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Reblogged this on Life and Random Thinking and commented:
    I like this post because it shows how we teach our children. I believe always getting what they want is a terrible idea. Thanks for lessons I was taught by my parents, I hope I helped my two wonderful children learn as well. I was blessed with great examples of parenting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d pick fishing and pulling apart worms by a cool stream rather than can in a hot kitchen any day. What a picture. The worms didn’t sound so bad but the fish guts and stuck hook. Ouch… But Cheetos makes it all work while. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ You tell wonderful stories and well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think what I love best are your grandpa’s words, β€œYou can always do things you think you can’t.” This is true of so many challenges we face in life. Words to live by!

    Liked by 3 people

      • No I don’t think it’s practice or maybe it is. When you are raising children you have to do all the discipline, always teaching, caring, school, and the million other thing that go with being parents but, grandparents can play, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. They can talk us into anything, well almost anything and all we do is kiss and hug them and tell them how great they are. And, when they get cranky, we send them home to you. It’s our reward for being good parents. Don’t worry you will get there soon enough, just think how much practice your getting. It doesn’t go to waste, it’s pure joy. :o)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Fishing always makes memories. For me, hooking my eldest daughter in the back while casting, made it a running fishing joke amongst my girls (ashamed look) But they do also remember the shark, the puffer fish and the cowfish we caught πŸ™‚

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  9. Delightful memory and story! Reminds me of my one and only fishing story with my grandfather. It didn’t end well… 😦 (At least not for the fish and for me–a very sensitive little 5-year-old who, for some reason, didn’t understand that catching fish meant killing them. My grandfather scolded me, telling me that “There’s no crying during fishing!” He was the Tom Hanks of his era. NOT!)

    Liked by 1 person

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