Best Fishing Trip

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Published on: Mar. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

it had a name. Someone once told me it emptied into the Little Niangua River, but to me it was just the stream that ran through the farm. With a couple of deep holes filled with crawdads, some sunfish, frogs and a few turtles, it was a virtual paradise to a boy adventurer.

Momma contributed to our family income by working as a waitress at a local cafe. Most of the time she dressed in a starched white uniform and white shoes. When not in working clothes, she wore conservative dresses or a suit. For our fishing trip, she donned a long skirt that hung down to her ankles, brown, flat-soled shoes and one of Grandma's sun bonnets. In fact, I think the entire outfit was Grandma's, except for the long-sleeved work shirt. That was Grandpa's. It was the only kind of shirt he owned.

The old wagon tracks wound past the orchard and tomato patch to the big oaks that formed a shady canopy down to the water. We stopped from time to time for Grandpa to cut a fishing pole from a bush or sapling.

When we reached the creek, he tied twine to the poles, making each line just a little longer than the pole. First he tied on a piece of corn stalk. A little farther down he tied in a bent nail, and at the end, a hook. He put a big grub on my hook and showed me how to throw it in the water.

"Now then, Son, you're fishing," he said.

We sat on a flat rock ledge that hung over a shady pool fed by a small waterfall. I saw fish under the surface, but they seemed very small. We spoke softly and watched our floats, waiting for the moment when they would plunge out of sight. We sat so quietly that birds drank at the edge of the water a short distance away, and a little turtle climbed on a nearby rock to get some sun.

I caught the first fish. It was a bright, silvery sunfish that fought hard while I jerked it from the water and onto the rock. Grandpa assured me it was big enough to keep and took it off my line.

"Now we need a stringer," he said. He walked over to a sapling and cut off a forked branch. He cut one side of the

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