A couple of weeks ago, Harry came home happier than a fishworm who escaped the tin can.
"Look what I got!" he called out in glee.
I had to contain myself from leaping for joy at the sight of him holding a piece of paper. But hey, I'm game. I took the bait.
"What, Dear Heart? What do you have?" I asked in wifely interest. OK. Maybe I didn't show that much wifely interest.
"I got my lifetime fishing license!" He could barely keep from dancing around the kitchen island.
I left cleaning a dirty toilet bowl for this?
"I take it this is a pretty big deal?"
"Well, yeah. I don't ever have to buy another fishing license for as long as I live. And it only cost me $51.70."
"So how did you qualify?" I asked.
"You just have to be 65 years old," he said.
"But you're not 65 yet," I pointed out.
"I know. But I will be in November so they give it to you if you'll be 65 sometime this year!" he cackled like he just won the lottery.
Oh. Be. Still. My. Heart. We have reached the age where we celebrate being old.
A fisherman off and on his whole life, he certainly has all the equipment. But it's been a while since he has had the heart for it. His best fishing buddy was my dad. They used to have quite the adventures. After Dad passed away, Harry's visits to the local streams have been sporadic.
Now he was a whirlwind of fishing enthusiasm. He dug out all his paraphernalia.
"Do you know I have two fishing vests? And I have four tackle boxes! How did I get four?" he asked.
We eliminated one right off the bat. "That one's mine," I pointed to a small brown one. I have gone fishing a few times with him over the years. My needs are small. A couple of extra hooks, a bobber, some sinkers, a small pliers, a place to put a snack or two and a paperback book is all the space I usually require.
When I go fishing, I don't expect to catch anything. I'm more of a sympathy fisherman. He invites me along because I think he feels guilty about leaving me home alone. I try to tell him I have no problem being left to my own devices, but I don't think he believes me. So every once in a while, I'll feel sorry for him and go along. I'm sure he regrets it almost as soon as he parks me somewhere where he thinks I can get in the least amount of trouble.
I don't know why, but there's something about a quiet place in nature that brings out the song bird in me. I love going through my repertoire of Broadway hits. My most favorite is "Summertime" from "Porgy and Bess." I'm telling you, on a perfect summer eventide, I can bring tears to the fish's eyes. Harry's? Maybe not so much. I notice he can't seem to move downstream from me quickly enough.
He inherited a large tackle box of my dad's. It still contained a jar of salmon eggs. Well, at one time they were salmon eggs. Now it was just a jar of jelly.
"You never want to open it when that happens," he wrinkled his nose as he threw it in the garbage.
He determined he has enough hooks to last him a lifetime.
Three fishing reels were taken to Dunkelberger's, where he had them restrung.
"Why do you need three fishing poles?" I asked in trepidation, thinking he wanted me to go along next Saturday, because one of those poles was mine. An anniversary present some years back. Lucky me. I didn't even know I wanted a new fishing pole that year.
"I don't know. Your dad always said, 'Two and a spare.' I guess you never know if you'll break one or end up with a bird's nest." Bird's nest, I learned, is when your line gets all tangled up. If that happened when I was a kid, I just yelled for Pappy, and with the patience of a saint, he "untangled" my line, or if he couldn't, he told me I was done. Who knew you should take an extra pole with you?
I'm not looking forward to the first day. Harry will catch fish. And he'll catch the limit. So he'll bring home five trout. That's just the first day. I have a sneaky suspicion that he's planning on doing a boatload of fishing ... for the rest of his life, now that he has a lifetime license. I am fortunate that he cleans his catch. But he'll expect me to cook them. I hate fish. I hate handling them, I hate cooking them, I hate smelling them and I refuse to eat them. It's painful to watch him eat them. He doesn't debone them, so he sits there and pulls bones out of his mouth. I could gag just thinking about it!
I don't know why he can't bring home a cow. Or shrimp. I like cooking them. And eating them.
So, for all you fishermen out there, good luck next Saturday. May you all catch the "Big One." Here's a little poem for you.
It's early morn, I cast my line,
I watch intently for a sign.
I feel a tug, then one more,
It's time to bring my catch to shore.
What a fight, what a tussle!
He's using up all my muscle!
I finally catch Big Ole Bubba!
Here he comes, hubba hubba hubba.
He will earn me envious stares,
He's an answer to a fisherman's prayers.
But then with a twitch of body and tail,
My line goes slack. I let out a wail!
Who will believe me when I say?
I caught the big one, but he got away.