The sun is bright. It’s spring time. The water is warming up. You can hear the frogs again.
The man at the coffee shop says the fish are biting again.
The moon is right and the wind is blowing from the right direction. It’s not too cloudy. It’s time.
I don’t know science about fishing.
Got out my rod and reel. Knocked off the dust and cobwebs. It’s been a while. It still works. That’s all I need.
The bait shop is north of town. The owner is a talker. From what I gathered, I was the first customer of the day. It was near closing time.
He’s retired too. He says it’s too cold. And I’m going to waste my time and my money.
The weather and the temperature didn’t matter. I wanted to fish for something.
I bought a dollar and a quarter’s worth of crickets. The bait shop man talked about the football season. It’s half a year away and he’s already excited. He said he hates being retired.
Then he sold me a couple of corks and a bag of fish hooks. I’m ready.
My Dad liked to fish. I think he loved working even more. He told me how he used to fish all the time. Before he got his first job. His grandmother cooked every one he caught.
I had an Uncle who fished every pond in Franklin County. He kept a tackle box on the floorboard of his truck. His rod and reel stashed behind the seat. He could escape from the world with a fishing rod and a six pack. He didn’t need a reason, he looked for an excuse.
My father-in-law loved to fish. He never caught a fish too small to clean and fry in a cast iron skillet. He cut grass to catch crickets. Dug for worms in the flower bed. Seined for minnows just to put them right back in the pond.
“There’s no need to buy a fish when you can pull them out of a pond somewhere.” He said.
My wife laughs at me. Her Dad taught her. She knows how to catch fish. I just try.
So, I went to a pond on the east side of town. I asked permission. It’s been two years. A lot has happened.
The pond is a couple of acres. Beautiful. Serene. Perfect. Hidden behind a knoll and a patch of pine trees. The owner used to come out and feed the fish a couple of days a week.
Things are different now. Everything is all grown up. Tall grass grows to the water. No one feeds the fish.
Someone had been there, then walked away, leaving a minnow bucket, a rod and reel and a chair at the edge. They planned to come back.
I took to the chair. Cast my line far out, into the deep water. I caught a half dozen. Too small to keep.
I thought about all the dreams, the wants and the wishes. How things change forever.
Suddenly, it was dark.
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