for the moment 2
My Fish

My very first memory is of a big collie sleeping with a cast on one leg, and me trying ever so hard to step over it without touching, or disturbing the dog... I didn't make it. The next memory, my fondest (and not so distressing) is fishing with my Dad. I grew up fishing. We always lived near water, and we always had a boat.

We were standing on a bank somewhere in southwest Louisiana, fishing for our supper. I was four years old and stood patiently holding my cane pole waiting for my fish. Dad had his two rod and reels going. One, using the traditional red and white bobber, resting on the igloo cooler; and one in hand maneuvering the lure. Dad had fishing down to a fine art.

A tugboat went by setting off some great waves that leaped up over the bank stopping just short of my feet. I took off my fishing cap and waved it at a guy standing on the boat. He threw me a big red apple, which to my surprise also landed just in front of my feet. I wondered what a man with an arm like that was doing on a tugboat instead of a pitcher's mound.

Apple eaten; I tossed the core over near the ice chest and noticed a huge dark colored snake. (When your four everything looks huge.) I quickly decided I wasn't going to be a sissy and whine about a snake that was probably just curious as to what we were doing anyway. The next thing I knew, I was being lifted up in the air and a shovel halted the snake a few inches from where my foot had just left the ground. Then before I had both feet back on the ground, the warning began about the dangers of rattle snakes. "Never kill animals except for food", Dad said, "and, make sure you stay away from the dangerous ones. Give them plenty of room to travel their path."

The sun was beginning to set as Dad put another of his catches in the ice chest. Just as I was beginning to wonder when my fish was coming, I was pulled to the ground and heading towards the water at a rapid pace. My Dad was shouting to let go. I kept a death grip on that pole as I shouted back, "No, it's my fish!" Realizing I wasn't going to follow his orders, Dad dropped his rod and reel, grabbed me by the waist of my pants and hauled in me, the pole, and a six foot alligator gar.

Back home, we each cleaned our own catches as we sang the shrimp boats are a coming  song. Mom, the super trooper, came up with a recipe to make that gar not only edible, but actually good. Our neighbors came over to join in the feast, and we celebrated far into the night in honor of my first fish...

by snowhawk May 14, 1997

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