fishing. (a post for my grandad)

In the summertime, I got to spend a lot of time with my Gran and Grandad.

Before school started back, my sister and I would head up for a week to spend some extended time with them. Meaning, more than a weekend visit. It was sort of a “spoil the grandkids for a week” sort of situation.

We’d go out to eat and watch movies and swim. It was a paradise for me.

We would get new school clothes for the year and I would have everything set out on the bed, so when my mom came back to pick us up, we’d be able to show her our new threads. And can we talk about how exciting it is getting new shoes as a kid? It’s just the best, right?

We were lucky.

Because it was so hot, my grandad and I would go fishing early in the morning. We’d stop at a Burger King or McDonald’s and get a few biscuits. He’d get coffee. I’d get a coke. The usual. There’s just something so nostalgic about fast food breakfast.

We usually hit up this catfish pond a little ways outside of Jackson. It was a typical sort of joint. A seafood/catfish house off the main road which made lunch and dinner. Behind it were two big ponds stocked full of catfish. Easy fishin’, y’all.

It was a “you catch/we clean” sort of situation. You pay by the pound, so on and so forth.

One particular afternoon, I was killin’ it. Catfish after catfish I would pull up. My grandad would bait a line, I would toss it in, he’d bait another line until we’d had our fill. Come to find out, we almost didn’t have enough cash for the day’s catch! One more fish and we’d be doin’ dishes!

And it’s so funny to think about. In the days where you didn’t have debit cards. Once you were out of cash, you just didn’t do any more things.

But, I was on a roll…and he didn’t want me to stop.

matthews_schliske_11

My grandad passed away my senior year of high school.

And today is his birthday.

I’m choosing to celebrate his life and his goodness. Because the truth is, we all know people never truly leave us.

I remember the first thing I ever wrote in college was about my grandad. I wrote about his hands and how excited he got from watching basketball and how he would rub them hands together, toothpick in his mouth, actin’ so giddy.

I loved it.

It made my whole family cry and I tear up thinking about it.

And now, I have this fishing pole standing behind me. A hobby that I’m working on. I’m a little intimidated and I’m having trouble getting it ready for fishing.

But it’s okay. That’s why it’s called a hobby, right?

Somehow, this memory is embedded deep down. That feeling of pulling up a fish. There’s just nothing like it. It helps me feel connected. Those memories are good as gold.

Yes, today I’m celebrating life and goodness.

And hoping for the day I get to pull another fish out of the water,

thinkin’ about them hands,

and gettin’ all giddy.

 

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