Oh, well. At least I wasn't as grimy as my kids! Ben sported a line of dirt in the crease on the back of his neck; sweat dripped from 8 year old Will's buzz cut; and Sam's damp shorts told the story of a toddler who went wading. Even Ellie's pig tails drooped on either side of her head after our fun in the sun.
Sweaty, grimy, and tired we headed home.
In my mind I replayed Will's excited voice saying, "Mom! I caught a fish!" He looked so proud holding up his fishing pole with that little 5 inch sunfish on the end of the line. I'm glad I took the extra 15 minutes to go back home for my camera. That's a memory I want to keep for always.
Unexpectedly the country song playing on the radio broke through my thoughts, "Every day I drive to work across Flint River bridge, a hundred yards from the spot where me and grandpa fished."
Suddenly my memories leaped back nearly 25 years. Our bait cans full of newly dug up worms, my little brother, Stephen, and I loaded all our fishing gear into the back of Grandpa's old 1970s Chevy pick-up truck. We quickly followed our gear onto the truck bed, sat on the wheel hump and held on tight as Grandpa drove the short mile down the dirt road to Flint Creek.
We couldn't have been more excited. Fishing with Grandpa was always a highlight of our summer! After pulling our gear out of the truck we found a promising looking spot along the creek bank. Then we both pushed a hook through a wriggly worm and carefully cast our lines into the waist deep creek just like Grandpa had taught us.
Minutes passed as we not-so-patiently watched our red and white bobbins bounce along the top of the creek. Finally, my bobbin dipped below the waterline! I gave a hard jerk and reeled the line in as fast as my 8 year old arm would go! Grandpa stood next to me grinning from ear-to-ear and encouraging my efforts.
Finally I held up my fishing pole so the little perch dangled in the air. Grandpa reached over, grabbed the fish and pulled the hook out of its mouth. "She's a beaut," he said as he positioned the fish on the stringer.
I grinned at Grandpa and he grinned back at me, pleasure and pride beamed from his face.
With tears in my eyes, I smiled. Casting wasn't the only lesson Grandpa taught me that day. It just took me almost 25 years to understand. You don't have to be the one holding the fishing pole to enjoy catching a fish. Especially when the fisherman you're watching is only 8 years old.
What special fishing or Grandpa memories do you have?