WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Dropping the line

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A cane pole. A length of line. A hook. A worm.

Remember when life was as simple as those four things? Didn’t even need a cork. However, if we thought we needed one, we would either look for one that was discarded along the bank or in one of the rental john boats, or even grab a small twig, break it into a one-inch length, and tie the line around it where we wanted the all-natural bobber to go.

It was a unique time I guess. It always is when looking back and reminiscing. Heck, there were times we would fish with that pole, line, hook and worm where we knew there were no fish. The goal wasn’t always to catch a fish. Sometimes the goal was just to fish. We would stick the butt end of the pole in the mud along the bank. Sometimes we would see a crawfish hole and use it to prop our rod up. Then we would lay back and watch the clouds meander above. I remember thinking about nothing but those clouds many days. How they would flow in different directions, make swirls, disappear and appear out of nowhere. No other thoughts, than about those clouds.

We didn’t worry about whether we were going to get our shirt dirty. Most of the time, we had already taken our shirt off and used it as a makeshift pillow. We didn’t worry about fire ants. Usually, we would see some big black and occasionally, red ants crawl over us. We would either change our marvel from the clouds to the ants and just observe or flick them into the water a few feet away.

We would get up every now and then to check our bait. If we ran out of worms, there was plenty of earth below us to dig a few more up. We would catch a glimpse of a large minnow and then watch them swim around much like one does when looking at an aquarium. Except the minnows seemed more real, and the pond was our aquarium.

We would count how many turtles had they small black glistening noggin protruding the water’s surface. At times, a big terrapin or box turtle would remind us of the old grainy Loch Ness Monster photo because the shell would also rise above the surface, and when laying flat on the ground at nearly the pond level, the view offered a much different perception.

We would gaze for moments on end in astonishment at the water striders and how their legs and feet would not break the surface of the water. It was like the pond was their skating rink. We would see mosquito and dragonfly larvae and wonder if they were baby dragons that would grow big and clash with knights.

We would find a crawfish or freshwater shrimp and be particularly evasive of their claws that we imagined would be as strong as the most mighty lobster. We were kids, after all.

Yes, life was simple. And peaceful. And without real worry.

Everyone could probably use one of those days again.

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