“Fishing Buddies,” column for August 7, 2012

I’m a fisherman’s daughter and proud of it, but I will tell you this: I flat-out hate to fish.
I hate the hooks, the bait, the sitting and waiting and most of all, the not talking. The only parts of fishing I don’t hate are the fish I never catch.
My sister, who loves to fish as much as I do not, knows this about me. She must know it. I have told her countless times.
“Sissy,” I say slowly, as if trying to talk to a strong-willed stump, “I’d do anything in the world for you, more or less, pretty much, but hear me on this: I … don’t … fish.”
She nods, as if to say, “Yes, we all know you are … different.”
Different? I’ve been called worse. But knowing what I am does not stop her from trying to make me something I am not.
What else are sisters for?
When we were little girls, five years apart, our daddy would take her fishing, leaving me at home because, she said, she was his “boy.” I was just his “baby.”
They’d come back sun-burned and sleepy-eyed to gut and clean and batter and fry a big mess of whatever they had caught.
It all tasted like fish to me. I never acquired a taste for it. But for years, before I got anywhere near the sharp end of a hook, I was sure the act of fishing had to be the best thing anybody could ever hope to do.
When I told my mother that, she said my daddy felt the exact same way, which was one of the reasons she divorced him.
Imagine my thrill, when I was 8, to hear my dad say I was big enough to go fishing, just the two of us, without my sister. I don’t know where she was or why she couldn’t go. I didn’t care. It was going to be the best day of my life. And I could not wait to brag to her about it.
Have you ever noticed how the anticipation of a long-awaited event sometimes has a tendency to outshine the reality?
Fishing was not fun. It was dirty, smelly, and get this: I was not even supposed to talk!
My dad didn’t seem to have much fun at it, either. We went home without a nibble, which at least spared me the whole gutting, frying, eating mess.
I blamed my sister. Clearly she had tricked me. It’s a wonder we still speak. I tried fishing a few more times over the years, with much the same result. Finally it dawned on me. I didn’t need to be my daddy’s “boy.” I was happy just to be his “baby.”
Yesterday, my sister tricked me again. I was in town for a short visit. She wasted no time.
“Cree called,” she said. Cree is 11, her grandson. I wish you could see him. Talk about cute. “He wants to take us fishing.”
I shot her a look that said, “You know I hate to fish.”
She shot me one back that said, “Yes, but you love Cree.”
I couldn’t argue with that. Next thing I knew I was holding a pole, hoping I wouldn’t get a bite. Cree had dug the worms. My sister baited my hook. It was still and quiet. No need for talk.
I smiled at the two of them, Cree and his fishing buddy. I thought of my grandbabies in California. What kind of buddy would I be to them?
Moments later, my niece and her 8-year-old, Logan, joined us on the dock. I wish you could’ve seen them. Talk about cute.
Logan loves to talk. I don’t know where she gets it. The talking did not sit well with her cousin Cree. But my sister, their “Mimi,” handled it like a pro, quieting one, getting the other to be patient, being all things to both children at once.
That’s what grandmothers do. It’s like fishing: A dirty, smelly job, not always fun. It takes patience. Faith. Perseverance. Snacks. A well-stocked ice chest and a cushion to sit on ….
But to some, it’s the best thing anybody could ever hope to do.
What? No, I didn’t catch anything. Maybe next time I’ll bring my own fishing buddies.


  1. NortonsMITTY says

    Wow! Stop the presses! A woman hates doing something where she can’t talk. Who knew?
    Really nice article though. Just couldn’t resist the softball.

  2. Cute story, and my daughter is happy to know she isn’t the only girl Logan!

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