First Day Fishing By Tanya Breed

All summer, our six-year-old son Chris had been begging his dad to take him On his first fishing trip. Tomorrow was the big day, but now Ron had to work And the day was ruined. I could see the disappointment in our son’s eyes. Choking back the tears, he turned to walk away. “Wait a minute, Chris,” I heard myself say. “Can I take you fishing?” “Well, uh, okay, Mom,” he answered as if he wasn’t sure he’d heard me Correctly. “We’ll get up at five o’clock in the morning. Is that all right?” “Sure,” he said with a smile quickly replacing his tears. I should have thought it through more clearly before I had spoken; I hadn’t Been fishing before either. The alarm buzzed at 5 a.m. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been up That early. After eating a quick bowl of cereal, we hoisted the ice chest into The car. It was loaded with sandwiches, lots of drinks and plenty of ice to Pack all the fish we were going to catch. With a list of things we needed, we Headed for the nearest bait and tackle shop to buy a pole, line, hooks and some Worms. Then we were off to the lake. It was a typical August morning with the sun already scorching. We trudged Along the rocky shore carrying our gear and finally settled under a “wannabe” Tree. I explained to Chris that a wannabe tree is a want-to-be tree, because The trees here in Arizona don’t grow very big due to the extreme heat and lack Of rain. He agreed that the small amount of shade was better than none at all. I attached the line to the pole and secured the hook with a knot that would Have held Moby Dick. I was dreading the next step. “Mom, can you put a worm on my hook for me?” “Okay, but you’d better learn quick. This is my first and last time.” All right, I can do this, I thought as I scrunched my eyes shut and quickly Grabbed the first worm that unwittingly wriggled between my thumb and Forefinger. The next chore was putting the worm on the hook. I didn’t know Worms came in different sizes; this one was really skinny. Chris stood back, Partly because of the look on my face and partly because it amazed him that I’d Even dare touch a worm. Chris must have been reading my mind as I wondered how This worm was going to stay on the hook. “It doesn’t want to stay on the hook,” he murmured as the worm kept falling Off. Suddenly, quite by accident, I stabbed the worm. There it hung mortally Wounded and writhing in pain. “Quick, throw the line into the water!” I Screamed. There was no way that Chris was going to be able to skewer these Skinny worms onto a hook without hooking himself. The realization that I was Going to have to put the rest of these wriggling, slimy little crawlers on the Hook for Chris didn’t thrill me, but I soon became quite the expert at “accidentally” attaching worms to the hook. Three hours later and with three small bluegill neatly lined up in the Corner of our ice chest, we decided to head for home. The fish had given up Trying to make a meal from our “slim” offerings, and the glaring sun had sent Them for deeper, cooler water. Ron was still at work when we arrived home. I was relieved because I was Sweaty, smelled of fish, and our meager catch didn’t qualify for bragging Rights. “Mom, are we gonna cook ’em?” “I suppose we could,” I grimaced. The thought hadn’t even entered my mind. The fish were so puny that we’d be lucky to get more than two small bites out of Each one. Nevertheless, I popped them into the pan, and within minutes they Were ready to eat. I put all three fish on Chris’ plate. “No, you get one too, Mom,” he insisted. My plan hadn’t worked; I was going to have to eat one. Chris took the First bite and didn’t spit it out, so I tried a bite too. It tasted just like The fishy lake water, but I forced it down. Ron walked in just as I was taking My last bite. “Well, how was your trip?” he asked. Chris began talking before I could swallow my last mouthful. “It was great, Dad! The water was so clear and smooth, and the sky was Really blue. There were no boats when we first got there so it was real quiet. We could hear the birds singing. Mom and I sat on a rock and watched a duck Swim and make a trail in the water. It was really fun and Mom was the best!” He then told Ron all about wannabe trees. When he had finished talking, Chris turned and hugged me. Was the sky that blue? What singing birds? And I hadn’t even seen the duck. I had been too engrossed putting the worms on the hook to appreciate the beauty, but Chris had taken it all in. “Thanks, Mom. Let’s go back to our wannabe spot again real soon,” he said, his eyes sparkling. How could I refuse his irresistible offer? “Yes, we’ll go again soon.”

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