Baiting the hook

Sierra has a junior-sized Shakespeare fishing pole. It’s pink, of course. She got it for her birthday from Grandpa Dennis – my father – who I suspect spends Sundays fishing because it is as close to religion as he can find. I suspect that is why my grandfather used to fish on Sundays, too.

So we dropped lines and we told the kids to watch the poles and they ran all over the place and we didn’t catch many fish. We certainly didn’t catch anything we could keep. “That’s why they call it fishing,” my dad said. “Instead of catching.”

Sierra was determined, though, despite her distraction.

She’d grab minnows out of the bucket and show them to Isaac, giggling as they flopped, accidentally squashing them as they tried to get away. (Isaac just screamed.)

And then she tried to cast the pole, and with our help she did it. And then she ate some scones and her brother ate some scones and we realized how posh we had made this little fishing excursion. She ran up and down the dock. She checked her bobber once. Twice. Then, distracted, she went back to the minnows.

And then she baited her own hook.

She grabbed a minnow, pushed it onto the hook with full concentration – no squirming or squealing or shuddering. Just a four-year-old girl and a hook and a minnow acting as if they had gone through this dance a million times before.

The sun was hot out there. My grandfather would have been proud. Maybe the heat came from his smile, recognizing that this girl – this granddaughter he’d never had a chance to meet – was already beginning to follow in his footsteps.

In other words, just another Sunday in the church of the outdoors.

This was lovingly handwritten on September 11th, 2011