Since this is MY blog and I get to write about ME ME ME, I begin with a true story of when I was four years old. My parents had taken me to Florida to visit my mother’s mother’s sister and her husband who had retired there to one of those “villages” on a pond. I remember it well. Alas, no photos. I destroyed all the photos I had of my life – there’s no one to share my memories with nor to pass on to another generation. PLUS, it’s one of those techniques to severe attachments.
BUT, I do remember fishing in the pond behind my great aunt’s house. Didn’t catch anything. Heard my first tales about alligators. In fact, my parents took me to an alligator farm and when I leaned over the small fence to pet them, I can still hear her screeching in my mind to this day and getting yanked back and spanked. Spanked! She also had a fit when they took me a couple years later to a now shuttered fairy tale theme park in upstate New Jersey with deer and goats and petting zoo animals roaming around. My parents were not particularly paying attention and when they turned around there I was surrounded by deer and a goat was eating the big bow off my Shirley Temple style dress! Kids used to get dressed up with patent leather shoes and nice socks, and I had to wear a petticoat and fancy dresses and little hats to go anywhere outside of the back yard. The deer and I were fixated on each other and I don’t think I liked the bow. Anyway I digress.
The best part of the trip to Florida, was my parents had us stay in a motel right on the Atlantic Ocean. We ALWAYS tried to get an oceanfront room or lake front room whenever we traveled. We ALL loved water. Living in the desert hurts my spirit sometimes. I have the mountains but I really need to get to the marina each day.
My parents used to go fly fishing at the beach in New Jersey long long long before I was born. They dated for SEVEN YEARS – pretty much from the time my dad got back from Germany and fighting Nazis up until 1951. THEY LOVED fly fishing. Had all the poles and lures. My mom’s grandfather used to take me fishing at Echo Lake Park or Mindowaskin in Westfield, New Jersey. Bought me a child’s pole. I used to catch minnows.
Anyway, we had beach chairs – mine was child size, and my dad was a few feet away with his pole so he wouldn’t kill me when he swung it, and I had mine – I think it was his because it was the ocean after all. Lots of people were fishing. It would have been 1959 and that’s what people did for fun back then.
Well, I ruined EVERYONE’S day that day. I had no sooner grabbed onto the pole and looked out into the waves when a 12 inch plump shiny POMPANO was tugging. I pulled, my dad was behind me and just like in this next video, the fish flew up into the air and my parents and everyone else screamed. My dad helped me get the fish into my pail and I filled it with water and ran off to talk to my new best friend!
I was only four, so I have no idea how long I “played” with what I would later discover was my DINNER! At some point, my mom would tell the tale, they managed to distract me and she gutted my new best friend, and fried him or her in a pan and served up an amazing dinner. After dinner I went to play with my friend.
Have you ever seen a kid throw a tantrum and accuse their parents of MURDER? It was not a good night for my parents and I had my first lesson on betrayal. For me it was like some sick plot in a Shakespeare play where the protagonist is served his beloved’s liver or something.
Never do that to a child. At some point, it’s time for THE TALK and not the THE TALK about sex, but about where our food comes from. And about life and death and survival. Mr. Chicken, and Floppy Ears may end up as dinner some day and little kids need to know that.
I never got a chance to eat pompano ever again. It was very expensive and I have never seen it on a menu. If my book becomes a best seller, I’m going to order one. Great taste. I can remember that about my best friend. He/she tasted amazing!
But back to my initial point. I do not think it was luck. I remember distinctly causing a lot of the adults on the beach to bitch and moan about why they hadn’t caught anything and this little kid did. They did not congratulate me. They were visibility pissed off. I simply had looked into the waves and immediately caught the fish. DID I become the lure? Was it qi? I can do the same thing with deer and apparently, I did the same thing with a juvenile Bigfoot.
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