It all started when I was 10 years old. My family went on our yearly trip to Clear Lake and I went fishing with my dad and brothers. I caught several bluegills and was excited until it came time to take them off the hook or touch them in any way. I made it very clear that it wasn’t my job.
I did discover that patience is not one of my virtues. Much of the time that afternoon, I sat in the boat looking pathetic. I had practiced looking pathetic for several weeks and was now an expert. I sat in front of a mirror and tried to look as bored as I could. It worked! In fact, when I pull “the look” out from time to time, it still has great success.
From that time on whenever fishing trips were planned by my family, I always stayed back visiting an aunt, friend, or anyone else that would have me for a few days. I slept in a real bed, ate food that was prepared in a real kitchen and had a bathroom.
The only thing that I asked was that they would take pictures of their “Pat-less fishing vacation,” which they always obliged and arrived home with several rolls of exposed film. The only problem was that in those olden days, we had to wait at least a week for them to be developed via the drug store.
Viewing the pictures I saw that I had missed sleeping in a bag on the sand invading the homes of lizards and bugs. The food consisted of the fish that were caught but if there were no fish, it was hot dogs. Not quite my idea of a balanced meal. Bathrooms were non-existent and I didn’t even want to know how they handled that problem. But worst of all, they wore the same clothes every day. I decided that my dad was right: I didn’t like fishing!
My “No Fishing” lifestyle was going fine for the next 18 years. After Pastor Pete and I were married, I learned that he did love to fish; but as a seminarian couple, we could only afford one fishing pole and a couple of hooks. I took this as a sign that fishing still was not to be in my agenda.
Fast forward a few years. Little did I know that I couldn’t avoid my non-fishing life-style forever. Enter my three and a half year old grandson Bill. Bill didn’t just love fishing, it was his passion. From the time he first entered our home he talked about fishing nonstop and things began to change in our home.
My refrigerator began to house containers of worms. I still don’t know why you keep worms in your refrigerator. What lives outside, should stay outside. And then there’s the dirt in that same container. I clean my refrigerator to get rid of what I don’t want in there and I certainly have never wanted dirt in my refrigerator.
But the fun didn’t stop there. I didn’t know that fish bait and people food can sometimes cross paths. You can fry your bacon or put it on a hook to catch a catfish. Corn can be eaten by people and fish. A hot dog makes a great lunch for Bill or for the object of his attention: the fish under our dock. If you are at all creative, you can go to Stater Bros. and find fish bait right alongside the sirloin steaks in the meat counter.
Then there’s the fact that you can use fish to catch fish. I find this barbaric or at least cannibalistic. I understand the “food chain” but when I see it in action in my backyard, it creeps me out.
Bill catches these little tiny fish, puts them on a hook and a huge bass ends up with the little fish and the hook in his mouth. I feel sorry for the tiny fish. They didn’t even have a chance.
Now, years later, I have learned to accept the fact that I have bags of raw fish in my freezer that is marked, “Fishing bait, do not eat.” I don’t understand why Bill thinks that I would even consider that.
I have learned to accept the fact that every one of his 18 fishing poles is his favorite and he has to keep them in his bedroom with him at all times.
I have accepted finding weights, hooks and lures in the bottom of my washing machine. I would prefer money, paper money if possible.
Fast Forward to the present time. This is the year of our 50th anniversary. To celebrate, we are planning to take our family on an Alaska cruise. One request of Bill’s was that he go deep-sea fishing for Halibut, which sounded great to Pastor Pete. Imagine my surprise when the only time to actually leave the boat for a six-hour deep sea fishing trip was the actual day of our 50th anniversary.
And so you ask, “Pat, how are you spending the day of your 50th anniversary?” I won’t answer, “I’m going to Disneyland!” Instead, I will say, “I’m going deep sea fishing!” Maybe I will discover that I really love it but if I don’t I still can do my pathetic look.