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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Fishing (06/07/04)

TITLE: Gone Fishing
By dub W


Gone Fishing

“Gone fishing, instead of just a-wishing;” everyone has experienced a song that stuck in their mind and blocked all incoming messages. “Gone Fishing” flashing though my mind without warning. I grew up with the tune “Gone fishing;” it was the theme song of a local outdoorsman television show. My grandfather watched the show with a certain passion, believing that he could become a World Champion Bass Fisherman, if he ever found the proverbial “number 10 youcatchemforsure blue spinning feather lure” as advertised by the show’s host. Naturally, no sporting goods store this side of the Mason Dixon ever heard of a “number 10 youchatemforsure blue spinning feather lure.” Indeed, about the only bait recommended by the local farm store and hunting/fishing emporium, was a bucket of minnows. On a spring day after a hearty rain, a fisherman or woman could also get a coffee can full of night crawlers. Hence, gone fishing was not a wish for my grandfather, but a vocation.

When my grandfather was not tromping across some neighbors field to find the perfect and secret Bass pond, he could be found on the front row of a little out-of-the way country church. Such as it was, the small one room building served as the sanctuary, meeting hall, Sunday school building, community center, and office for most of my relatives and a few shirt-tail neighbors. My grandfather was the preacher, my aunt was the piano player – an old upright that had been salvaged from a local brothel after a suspicious fire.

Although failing eyesight, my grandfather would sit at a table adjoining the front row of the little church; and pore over a pulpit Bible. After straining to read he often pulled a magnifying glass out of his pocket and examined scripture with the care of a brain surgeon. I, on the other hand, found the church to be a place where I could press my starched white shirt into the back of a heavily shellacked-wooded-pew, then I would quickly lean forward, creating a loud tearing sound in the old church. My grandfather would look over the top of his thick glasses and smile at me. My uncles failed to see the amusement.

At home in our two-story rambling farmhouse, my grandfather would sit and continue to read his Bible. He would speak to people who visited, or move to deep prayer. There was only one channel on the television (only one we could receive), and as a youth, I believed that it only broadcasted news and fishing shows, otherwise the green screen was never illuminated; so, the only sounds of the living room, most of the time, would be the melodious deep voice of my grandfather praising the Lord.

Occasionally, a lost soul would step onto our old wooden porch, and I would hear my grandmother’s voice calling “Willie, there’s someone here.”

My grandfather would rise from his desk and prayerful thoughts, and with a Bible and a cane in hand, he would walk out and sit one of the rocking chairs that lined the veranda. Occasionally, I looked out the window at my grandfather and the stranger, and noted that every once-in-awhile, my grandfather would reach over and hold the hands of the other person on the porch.

When my grandfather would return to the house, and the stranger had left; my grandfather would sit back at his study desk. Sometimes, I would ask about the stranger, and the reply would always be the same; “We were talking about the fisherman,” he would say.

In later years I began to realize who the fisherman was, and I now know, that a “number 10 youcatchemforsure blue spinning feather lure” had little to do with the fishing.

“Gone fishing, instead of just a-wishing.”

Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker 06/14/04
Oh Dub - I felt like I was right there along with you in the church and in the farmhouse.

This was a compelling and excellent piece, and also one of my top picks for this week.
Phyllis Inniss06/14/04
I agree with Corinne. It was like looking at a movie with all the serenity and peace of a farm locale with your grandfather taking centre stage.
Marie B. Corso06/14/04
A wonderful memory of a very special person. A few little things I caught as I read that you might want to polish out.
"Bass" doesn't need to be capitalized in second paragraph.
"Although failing eyesight" should be: Although he had failing eyesight. And leave off the semi-colon after church.
"wooded pew" should be wooden pew. And no hyphens needed here.

Lynne Gaunt06/17/04
You've related some wonderful memories here, and you managed to keep them all from the child's perspective - well done! Made me wonder what blessings I have missed by not growing up with extended family close by. A blessing to read. Thank you.
L.M. Lee06/19/04
what a beautiful memory. i loved the line about the magnifying glass...if we could investigate and care about God's word that much!
Marcell Billinghurst06/19/04
What a lovely story, rich in memories, good word pictures. Very well written,keep writing.
Linda Germain 06/20/04
I would dearly love to read more stories about this Godly man. Is there a whole book in there somewhere? :0)
My ex-brother in law was a big frequent fan of Bass Pro Shops. I may just get out there one day and learn to fish "both ways" (wink, wink...)
Linda Watson Owen07/14/05
dub, this is truly a delight! You will bless many as you perform this at your reading! Blessings, Linda O.
Marilyn Schnepp 06/07/06
Great Read, Dub! Have tried to contact you to thank you for Sgt. Of Arms duty on Boards...but can't find contact; so have been reading your works. Love your style...
Jacquelyn Horne05/30/07
I just love reading these older entries! This is so nostalgic. No wonder it was a winner.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/05/07
This is a wonderful story, the descriptions just right, the narrative building up to the message all along. The character study of your grandfather is just perfect.
Joanne Sher 07/05/07
Love the description throughout this, Dub. Thanks for sharing :)
Catrina Bradley 07/06/07
Wonderful memories, well told. Love the voice. Thanks for sharing, dub.
Rita Garcia07/07/07
A great first. Thanks for sharing this delightful story. :)