“I worry about kids today not having time to build a tree house or ride a bike or go fishing. I worry that life is getting faster and faster.”                                                                                                –  John Lasseter

My father was a hunter and fisherman.  When I was about 11, I decided that I wanted to go fishing with him.  We started out going fishing after dinner and then tried Saturday morning fishing.  We had a few interesting situations while fishing that summer.

My mother’s favorite color is red.  Since she did all my clothes shopping, everything I owned was red—solid red, red striped, red plaid.  You name it, it was red including my sneakers.  The benefit of this is that all my clothes matched.  The downside of this is that bulls like to chase you. 

Dad had waders for walking down streams fishing for trout.  I would walk along the stream bed because I only had my winter boots or my sneakers (red, of course) to wear.  Occasionally, I would encounter cows, horses or goats.  They were curious and would come near and sniff.  One evening, while fishing in the Poestenkill Creek, I found myself in a “pretty kettle of fish” as I entered a pasture with a bull. For anyone who thinks that bulls charging anything red is a myth, I will show you a scar to prove you wrong.  The bull saw me, dressed in red from head to toe, and came charging.   I didn’t get gored, but I did cut my knee open when I ran into the stream and fell.  The bull was satisfied with that.  Dad laughed hysterically. 

Next came fishing on an early Saturday morning in Vermont.  Again, my boots became a problem.  Dad waded down the swollen stream and I walked along the shore with my winter boots on. The grass and weeds were high and filled with morning dew.  Walking along the stream, my pants got very wet.  Dad decided to build a small fire near the stream and dry me out.  We could only find a few wet sticks to build the fire and Dad explained that the fire would be very smoky.  It sure was.  I was almost dry when we saw about twenty men came over the hill with brooms, rakes, hoes and fire extinguishers.  Dad said “Oh, Oh! We are in trouble now!” The only thing I could think of was this must be what it feels to see the enemy coming over the hill before a great battle.  The fire fighters must have seen us at the same time we saw them.  They immediately turned around and went back from where they came from.  Dad thought they probably thought there was a grass fire and since they saw there wasn’t, decided to leave.  “We got lucky.” Dad said.  

After these two incidents. I decided to try Bass fishing in a boat.  Dad decided to let me row.  My father was no fool, but this turned out to be not his best idea. I was like a “fish out of water”.  I managed to row us around in circles despite my Dad’s instructions on the proper way to row a boat. As a sailor’s daughter, in my mind, I was a failure.  In order to be able to fish that day, Dad had to “cut bait” and take over the rowing. 

I never went bass fishing again.  As a matter of fact, after that summer, I never went fishing for anything again. I had “bigger fish to fry”—boys.  

This story was first published in the New Authors Journal, Special Issue, 2022, vol. XIX, Number 2, page 14.

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