I grew up fishing with my dad. My first catch was on a bright yellow Snoopy pole with a bobber. The red bobber plunged beneath the muddy surface of our pond, and by the proud smile on Dad’s face, I knew I’d won some prize.
I was fascinated with the fish; his bulging milky eyes called to my curiosity. Piper was equally excited about the prospect of fishing with her grandpa. When I proposed the road trip to Florida, Piper immediately said yes. She was not so game about the actual fish part. She lasted about two minutes on the boat before boredom sat it. “I want to go back,” Piper said just as the boat pulled away from the dock. And in the same breath, “Where’s the fish?” Fishing, apparently, took more patience than Piper could muster. (Tune in tomorrow for On the Road Part 4: Grandpa’s Guest Blog)
She didn’t join our fishing trip the next day, but she was waiting at the dock when we returned. We didn’t disappoint. My brother and nephew caught huge catfishes and hauled them in. Piper still wasn’t that interested until it came time to do the fish cleaning deed. “What’s that knife for, Mom?” she asked, innocently. I warned her about what came next. Piper has been raised vegetarian, so unless you count a tofu steak as a kill and I don’t, cleaning a fish for the frying pan was a foreign experience.
“You may want to go inside, P. Grandpa is going to get the fish ready.”
“Ready for what?”
“Ready to eat, honey.”
“The fish is hungry?”
“No, Grandpa is hungry. He’s going to cut the meat off the fish. You probably don’t want to watch.”
Piper looked at the table. She saw the fish, the knife, the hose. I waited for the tears.
“Cool. Can I watch?”
And she did. Every gruesome second. She couldn’t get enough. I had to keep scooting her back from the blood.
“Now what?” Piper asked as she watched the fish fillets in the pan disappear inside the house.
“Now we watch the sun set, Piper.”