Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gone Fishin'

It's usually not a grandma, but a grandpa who passes his love for fishing on to the grandkids. My grandpa passed it on to me. My grandkids don't have a grandpa, so I'm the one who gets to pass this skill, love, passion...whatever you want to call it, on to my grandkids.

I can remember many a day going fishing with my grandpa. He was my only grandparent also, his wife passed away many years before I was born, and my other set of grandparents passed on before I started school. My grandpa and I were very close. I was the only grandchild for 6 years, until my intrusive little brother was born, so grandpa and I were very close.

I remember getting to spend the weekend at his house, which was only about 6 miles from my parents' home, but it was like an oasis. It was an old home, built around the turn of the century, in the heart of the city. The glories of his neighborhood is that there was a store of some kind on either end of this city block, plus the school and church across the street. The candy store up the street was my particular favorite! Around the corner and down the block was a public park with a "draw and fill" swimming pool--they filled it every day and emptied it at night. No need for fancy plumbing or chlorine, it was 2 feet deep in the deepest part, just big enough for a bunch of neighborhood kids to cool off in on a hot summer day. This was "pre air-conditioning" time. I remember sleeping during the summer nights on the screened in porch, since it was beastly hot in the house. But the best memories I have is when Grandpa took me fishing.

We went everywhere to fish. We mostly went to the ponds and small lakes in the city parks. Sometimes we went to the rivers, some which were close and others far away. The most fish we ever caught was during a fishing derby at a city park where we caught 32 2" bluegill and won a prize!

Grandpa also took me fishing for crawdads in the local creek. One day we caught quite a mess of them, and Grandpa insisted on cooking them. He even made me eat one! Another time, we caught a huge one, and I stupidly insisted on taking it out of the container to look at it. The darn thing pinched my thumb till it bled, and in trying to get it off of me, I shook my hand and sent it flying right back into the water, just where it wanted to be!

Today was the day I passed my love of fishing on to my grandkids. I've been planning this for quite some time. Being the cheapskate that I can sometimes be, I didn't want to buy a fishing license--aha--senior citizens of Medicare age don't have to have licenses! Last fall I bought the poles, Cinderella pink and purple for her, and SpongeBob for him. Then this past weekend, I bought the hooks, bobbers,worms and a new pole for me and was all set for the first day of OUR fishing season.

Today was Grandparent's day at the preschool, and after we had our time together at school, they came home with me for the afternoon. She was dressed up in a new dress, which wasn't very appropriate for fishing, but we had spare clothes in the drawer. They used their little practice plugs that came along with the fishing poles to get the hang of casting. We practiced casting down the stairs and retrieving the plugs. They really caught on rather quickly. The cat liked that game.

Then it was time for going to the park, and using real hooks and bait. Boy M thought the idea of touching a worm was gross, so he was glad to hear Grandma would do that for him. Besides, my worms were nightcrawlers, about 5-6" long, and I knew no fish that we were going for would be eating something that big, so we had to disect the worms, a really gross task! But I'm a veteran at this, been doing it for a long time, and I have my techniques that make actually breaking it with my fingers not necessary. Fold the worm in half, put the hook around its body and pull, voila, you now have two short worms! Or three or four, depending on how many fish you want to feed!

Of course, my fears were plentiful, hooks in someone's body, falling in the lake, throwing the pole in along with the bobber and line, actually catching something! But the only trajedy was when Boy M kicked some dirt into the lake, and launched his unlaced shoe into the water! Luckily, the fishing pole was just long enough, so I didn't have to go swimming to retrieve it. If you saw this water, swimming is the last thing you'd want to do in this lake!

So, it all worked out OK. One hook did catch on one child's shirt, didn't do any damage except to smear a little worm guts on the shirt. And the shoe. And luckily, their attention span was short. I think we got one nibble, but that was all the interest from the fish. They actually ended up making some decent casts, and it was all over in 30 minutes with no one mad, no one hurt, and grandma's wish and dream was fulfilled.

I'm hoping we have some more times that we can share this love of mine. It was an expensive trip if it ends up only being a one time adventure! But I don't think it will be. Grandma now owns the SpongeBob fishing pole, Boy M wanted to trade for a Batman pole, his newest action figure love. That's OK with me, anything works for me, I'm not picky. I'll go fishing any day, as long as the worms are fat and the lake looks promising, I'm willing to go, with or without my grandkids.

If I'm not at home, you might consider this, maybe I've GONE FISHIN'!

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