The lure of being a fisherman’s grandmother

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Fishing — this is always up for discussion in our home. It’s a constant topic. What kinds of worms are best, what line to use and how to “set the hook.” You name it, we discuss it. Even if we don’t want to discuss it, we do. We are strictly a “catch and release” family. Mainly, because we view the fish in our lake as pets; our personal friends.

My first introduction to fishing was from my father at Clear Lake, above Sacramento. The lake was clear and the fish were plentiful. My dad handed me a bamboo pole complete with a line and a hook and a very healthy worm! I dropped my hook and immediately pulled in a fish. I was hooked!! I was a seven year old fisherman!

But my love a fishing stopped about 10 minutes later. I discovered that I had to just sit there and wait and wait and wait for another fish to take my hook. Waiting led to complaining of which I was an expert. When I was seven, it felt that anything that you have to wait for longer than five minutes wasn’t worth the wait! This was the first and last time my dad took me on a fishing trip. One fish caught and my fishing career was over.

Seventeen years ago, our daughter and her three-year-old grandson came to live with us. He came complete with his clothing, toys and a huge love of fishing. At that time I didn’t know anything about fishing, but I soon learned, while I was sitting at the feet of my grandson, that fishing is about the most important thing you could do with your life.

Now I have a twenty-year-old grandson who loves to fish and does it all the time. The past 17 years, I have made more trips to fishing stores than I can count!

The first time Pete and Billy asked me to go shopping with them in Rancho Cucamonga, I envisioned Macy’s, Pottery Barn, Chico’s and a stop at Baskin Robbins when the day came to an end: a perfect day at Victoria Gardens!

I searched the internet for coupons, printed them and I was all set to save Pete so much money that even he would be impressed! A winning coupon was the “30 percent off already marked down.” I was counting the money I would save when I spent the money that we had saved to spend when we wanted to save! I knew that if I bought something I really didn’t need, but was marked 50 percent off and had a coupon for another 30 percent off not to mention the 5 percent off that I get because I a frequent customer, Chico’s would end up paying me!

But the day didn’t work out that way. We took the off ramp to Victoria Gardens, but somehow, our van didn’t make the right (correct) left turns and we ended up in front of this huge store that flew a flag stating “Bass Pro Shop” along with a banner stating “Grand Opening.” I hoped that it was a Bass shoe store on steroids.

As we entered, I saw boats to the right. This place was a car lot for boat lovers!! Then I looked to the left and saw clothing. This place was a clothing store! I looked straight ahead and saw a large glass tank filled with fish. This place is an aquarium! I looked up and saw tents and ice chests. This place is a camp ground! My brain was now on overload!

Pete and Billy headed straight to the fishing area with Billy talking to every person he saw about poles, bait, reels and line. I stayed back in awe of everything that was available. This store had everything that anyone would ever want!

I considered a boat, but then saw the prices and decided that I should rely on “other people’s boats.” It was cheaper, took less gas, we wouldn’t have to pay the yearly fees, and when it rained, I wouldn’t have to cover it up with a tarp so it didn’t get wet. I still can’t figure out why you would cover up your boat so that “it doesn’t get wet?”

Next, I walked over to the clothing and discovered that the clothing was made for the “outdoor woman.” I had to remind myself that the only time I’m ever an “outdoor woman’ was when I shop in an outdoor mall. I did consider a vest with numerous pockets until the salesman tried to explain to me how it could hold my hooks, jig heads, line cutter, lures, and weights. He was speaking a foreign language.

Years prior, I had learned that my role as a “fisherman’s grandmother” was going to be a long haul and it would be best to just “go with the flow.” So on this day, I determined that a tour of the living possibilities of camping would be wise. Now, keep in mind that my idea of “roughing it” is a Holiday Inn with a black and white TV!

This was the day to consider a tent as a future second home. I found a reasonably priced tent that said it would sleep two. “Sleep Two??!!” NO WAY!! There was not room for two people! Where would you keep your TV and CD player so that when you woke up in the middle of the night, you could watch your favorite movies? And then there’s your electric blanket. Does that run on batteries? Next was the mattress. No way was I going to sleep on an air mattress that is as wide as my crib was when I was 9 months old? And sleep in a sleeping bag? “I don’t do bags.”

Then there was the door. Where WAS the door? I need a door that I can slam when I’m upset. One that I can lock when I want to be with just me. I looked at doors that zipped, tied and “Velcro-ed.” Somehow, loudly zipping up a door just doesn’t seem to have the same effect as slamming a door.

And windows? There were no windows! And the roof and the ceiling are the same thing! I asked about closets…there were none. I inquired about air-conditioning….I received a blank stare. A furnace?……I was directed to an open fire pit.

I was totally despondent that there was nothing in this mammoth store that I would consider to buy until I spotted a small sign with an arrow: “Fudge.” There was not just fudge…….there was FUDGE! Mounds of FUDGE!! Peppermint fudge, marshmallow fudge, white chocolate fudge, and even just plain fudge!

Now, 10 years later, I head straight for the Fudge Shop and make my purchase: complete with a tiny spoon and knife. For me, sitting on a bench eating fudge is certainly more satisfying than a bamboo fishing pole with a worm at the end!

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