I remember the first time I went fishing as a kid. It was with my cousin Susan and her boyfriend Rob (I think that was his name). We went to Lakeland Park- a series of reclaimed mines turned into a pay to fish park. I caught one fish, a bluegill on my Snoopy pole. We put it in a bucket full of water and brought it home, which I thought was pretty awesome. Then, they brought out the knife. What were they going to do to my fish- my friend the bluegill that I had recently impaled with a hook and forcibly brought from its home? I protested (that means cried in the parlance of a four-year-old) until they agreed not to kill my best friend in the world and instead opted to bring out an aerator so I could keep it as a pet. Forever we would be together. I went to bed, dreaming of the adventures me and bluey (the bluegill) would have. When I woke up the next morning, I ran outside and saw him floating on top of the water… dead. I was immediately hooked on fishing.
I didn’t understand adults at all. Why did they spend so much time sitting and reading and so little time fishing? I would beg and attempt to cajole any adult who would listen into going with me. They were all so lame and wouldn’t ever take me, or at least rarely take me. There was, of course, one exception- my grandpa John. He would take me fishing nearly every day I was with him, which was almost often enough. We would go to the ponds that his car could reach (he was confined to a wheelchair and mobility was always an issue) and sit on the bank fishing for several hours after the day’s chores were done.
As I grew up, I fished less and less- until eventually, I would fish once a year. Then it dwindled further to once every few years. Since I have moved to Maine, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been fishing, and I have been here eight years. I have resolved to do something about that.
This week, I planned on going fishing at least twice. This morning I grabbed my L.L Bean Flyrod and reel, a pair of waders and a few flies. One of my oldest fishing buddies, Ed, was here visiting from back home. We were going to drive to the Sandy River about 10 miles away and fish for a few hours. I was nervous and excited. I was fairly certain we wouldn’t catch anything, but just being out on the water was going to be enough.
Driving down the road, I saw a small flock of turkeys, and a flock of geese- another sign autumn is here. I came down the hill and was passing the fire station when I noticed that my Saab with 210,000 miles on it wasn’t really accelerating. I pulled into the library and called AAA. My fishing trip was over before we even got to the water.