I grew up trying to outsmart fish. More often than not the fish outsmarted me. But one lives for those few times when I was able to outwit them and extract them from the water with a bit of line and a barbed hook. After my dad died, I took some solace at a local pond catching fish. It was he who taught me to fish, he who fanned the flames that grew into a love of fishing, he who watched my son land a 13 pound Northern Pike at the spry age of 13 on his very first trip to Canada with the men.
It’s been a few years since I have taken the time to fish. Life has a funny way of rearranging priorities. Mine were rearranged when we had a bad accident driving home from fishing in the Canadian wilderness. Everyone in the car was hospitalized but me. I was the lucky one. I only lost most of my expensive fishing gear along with my drive to fish the Northern lakes.
I see these people on the pier fishing and I feel a twinge of envy. I also flash back to that horrific day when our car veered off the rode in the middle of the night and came to an immediate full stop when we crashed into the embankment on the far side of a small creek in a remote area of Wisconsin. None of us died but our lives were altered that night. My son suffered broken bones which required him to un enlist form the Marines. He never reenlisted. My uncle, a man who never missed the Canada trip over decades has opted out since. It may have been the accident. It may have been that my dad, his best friend and life long fishing partner, had died the year before. Most likely it was a combination of the two.
Yes, it’s funny how life changes when you least expect it. Thankfully, I have memories I can bask in, memories that root me to the past, memories that give me purchase to move into the future and create new memories.