“You Get A Line And I’ll Get A Pole…”
As we slash and slosh in the tub together, Autumn says, “I want to go fishing.” We flop over the edge of the white porcelain, dab at our scales, then dial up grandpa. Autumn tells him of her plans and we set a date to visit the lake and bait our hooks and cast our poles – it happens to be father’s day.
The pole is yellow and green, most likely purchased at Bramer’s, the hardware store on main street that was sadly replaced by Wal-Mart decades after he bought it – my grandpa’s pole. When we got to the bank, Dad got it out and memories crashed to the shore, his fishing hat, his freckled hands, his green tackle box that now hold my tools at home. I catch three fish and can hear the pride in his voice from the other world that now holds him.
We settle in, the scenery like a set from A River Runs Through It. Minutes in, Autumn and her daddy pull a beauty of a rainbow trout out of the lake and we all nearly jump up and down in glee. Not knowing how she will take it all in, I ask her if she wants to keep it or throw it back; “Let’s eat it!” is all she has to say.
Time passes, the sun spreads through my body, melting my every ache, my every anxiety. The pattern of the leaves on the rocks flutter in the breeze as turtles scoot by. A little paint turtle comes to shore and I gather him up, Autumn coos to it as it basks. As we all bask.
The sun begins to fade, Autumn begins to fade. A chill. We pack up, seven fish later and ease our tiredness behind the wheel. Off, down the mountain we go, through the trees, below the circling hawk. To grandma. And a fish fry. The wild, in our blood, on our plates, inside us always.