It is the twenty-third day of our quarantine and I thought I would go fishing. I am using an old Mepps spinner on a junky fishing rod.
So far, I haven’t caught anything but a sunburn and a 7UP bottle. About a hundred yards from me, I see an older man fishing alongside a little boy. I wave at them. They wave back.
And I am catapulted backward a hundred years.
I was a kid. I was sitting between my old man and my grandfather. There was a lake before us. Dark green water. Lots of frogs.
My grandfather was country people, just like everyone’s grandfather was. We held fishing rods. Mine was an el-cheapo from Kmart. My grandfather’s was bamboo, with Dacron fishing line.
Granddaddy sat on a rock, holding his rod. He was a stoic. War makes men that way. He was tying a spinner onto the end of his line. I remember this with startling clarity because his hands were so old. I marveled at how those fingers could be so
Daddy whispered into my ear, “Guess he's done with worms, he means business, by dog, that’s a Mepps spinner.”
By dog. We really talked like that. We also said things like, “I’ll be dogged,” and the ever popular “Doggone it.” These were beautiful words. Like cuss words, only you could use them around company.
It’s funny what you remember. His fishing rod was made of reddish bamboo, his reel looked older than an Egyptian sarcophagus. There was no telling how old it was. It didn’t look like the crummy kid-rods all my friends all had.
My Pocket Fisherman rod, for instance, was basically a piece of refuse. If you caught anything over ten ounces the rod snapped in two, you fell in the water, got bit by a water moccasin, and you died right there.
He wore one of those hats that looked like it…