Best Fishing Trip

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Published on: Mar. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

August afternoons in Missouri are always hot, and this one was no different. I was 5 years old, and our country was at war with Japan. My daddy was off building the Alcan Highway, and my momma and I were visiting Grandpa's farm. Someone suggested we go fishing. I had never been fishing, but I was all for it.

Grandpa wasn't a serious fisherman. He was a farmer working to scratch out a living from 80 acres of rocky hills with six milk cows, some pigs and chickens, and a team of mules. He didn't have time for hobbies. Relaxation for him consisted of smoking a pipe and whittling.

Like all farmers, Grandpa was resourceful. So, when someone observed that we had no fishing gear, Grandpa winked at me and opened his big tool chest. He rummaged inside for a minute and came up with a ball of stout brown twine.

"Here's our line," he said. Digging deeper, he extracted a Velvet Tobacco can that rattled when he shook it. He grinned at me and dumped about a dozen rusty fish hooks into his big hands.

"We don't have any bobbers!" said Momma, but Grandpa was a step ahead of her. We walked into the barnyard where he picked up a couple of dry corn stalks. With his ever present pocket knife, he cut a few short pieces of stalk and said, "There you go. Bobbers."

"How about sinkers?" Grandma asked.

Grandpa went back into the tool chest. He found some big nails which he bent into a circle with a pair of pliers and a hammer. "There's our sinkers," he said. "Now all we need is bait."

Grabbing a potato fork, he led me to the manure pile behind the barn. On the way, we stopped at the junk pile and found a can. A little digging at the edge of the pile produced some skinny red worms and fat white grubs, which Grandpa said no perch could refuse.

"How about fishing poles?" I asked.

"Don't worry about that," Grandpa replied, "We'll get them when we get to the creek."

Prancing and skipping like a racehorse approaching the gate, I went with Grandpa and Momma down the old wagon road to the creek. It took about 30 minutes to get there, but it seemed like forever. That creek and I would later become close friends, but I never knew if

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