Gone Fishin’

24 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Bowers Lites

 

Photo from Pinterest

 

My dad learned to fish from his dad. He loved it the best of all recreations. The first fishing trip I recall going on with dad was when we lived in Westcliffe, Colorado. We had a little restaurant and bar on Main Street called Min’s Café.

One early fall, Mother and Dad closed the restaurant and we went up into the Sangre de Cristo Range to fish in a creek. We drove our black 1946 Ford two-door car to about 9,000 feet elevation. We took a tent, fishing gear, and an aluminum set of pots, pans, and flatware that all fit together in a cozy kettle.

It wasn’t far, so we arrived early in the day and found ourselves in a high meadow. Dandelions with their green leaves grew all around, some of the flowers were yellow, and some were dressed in white fluff. The air was cool and fragrant. Grasses along the creek had begun to change colors. As soon as the tent was set up Dad took my brother and I down to the creek to start fishing. Our poles had two hooks each so we’d have a chance to catch more rainbow trout and more browns. Dad thought that since I was such a big girl I ought to be able to thread the worms he’d brought along onto the hooks. They were wiggly and squishy and I didn’t like doing it one bit, because I knew it had to hurt them. Dad was proud of me for doing it, though, so I was proud, too. He wanted us both to learn to enjoy his favorite sport. Dad and my brother went to fish further up the creek. Mother was resting in the car after a long week of working in the café. Feeling lazy, I released the fishing line into the creek in a quiet place and propped the rod against the bank with rocks. I then crawled into the tent and picked up my Nancy Drew mystery from the library. Reading was already my favorite recreation. Before I got through even one chapter I heard a commotion outside and crawled out of the tent to see what was going on. Dad and my brother were waiting for me. Holding up my fishing pole to show me that I had caught a fish on each hook. Wow, was I ever satisfied with my talent for fishing. Dad took them off the hook for me, thank Heaven. We put them in the creel, then Dad and brother went back to fish for our supper. Mother was ready to pick dandelion greens and wanted me to help her. I had never heard of such a thing as eating dandelion leaves before, but she said said Auntie Elvira had taught her in Camp Fire girls when she was younger.

After we picked a batch of green and started them cooking in the kettle, mother gave me a bar of soap and told me to wash my hands. I got down as close as I could to the water and put my hands in holding the soap. Whoosh, the creek took it, and it was gone. I went back to tell Mother and she was understanding about it. “Oh, well,” says she, “we’ll just have to wash our hands with sand.”

Dad had brother and I watch him clean the fish so we’d know how to clean our own next time. I’ve never had to do it, but I can see clearly in mind mind’s eye how he slashed it from the bottom of the belly to the gills and pulled out the guts. It was pretty cool and then after it was fried in cornmeal in a skillet over the camp stove dad taught us how to get the bones out. We started at the tail, got hold of the inner skeleton and pulled all up together. We then pulled that from the side and had two clean sides.

During supper, my brother kept casting bright-eyed glances at my dad. Did they have a secret? What could it be? I would find out one way or another.

As I was finishing my canned peaches for dessert I looked up and saw that gentle snowflakes were wafting down. I’d never seen it snow in summer

Later on when no one was looking I got my brother in a headlock and made him tell. Did I mention he was younger and smaller?

Anyhow he talked. He said that after he and dad had caught a few, they sneaked in and put a couple on my hooks. “That’s what you get for readin’ when you’re supposed to be fishin’” my brother said. He then ran away. I gave chase, but I never caught him. Did I mention that he was swifter a well?

 

 

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