On the Road Part 4: Grandpa, Guest Blogger

In case you need to catch up on the road trip…

On the Road Part 1

On the Road Part 2

On the Road Part 3

And now…a guest blogger, Grandpa:

Fishing is a game of patience.  Grandparents, especially Gpa’s, are known for patience.

Even so, fishing with Piper is a challenge.  Piper is, well…energetic.

She is known for an attention span that sometimes approaches 15 seconds.  This amount of concentration is only achieved when you quickly get to the point of the activity.

This does not always happen with Piper.  Armed with my best Gpa plan, I helped Piper get ready.  This involved putting sunblock on all exposed body parts and outfitting her with a hat. This took more time than she thought the whole trip would last.

Piper promised to listen to me, stay seated in the boat and at all times wear her lifejacket.  We set off in the boat down the cannel by our house.  Within 50 feet I spotted an alligator on a log.  Thinking this would interest Piper, we motored over to take a picture.

She studied the six-foot reptile mere feet from our boat.  “He’s not a big one is he?” she asked.  It’s hard to impress a Piper.  Always has been.

As we trolled into the fishing area, her hat blew off into the water.  It did not faze her a bit.  I trolled over and used the net to retrieve her hat.  By then, she was lapping the deck, forgetting about the plan to stay seated.  Just as I casted the rod toward the lily pads, hoping to grab her attention with a bite, Piper said she was ready to go home.  “Uh..we’re too far out on the boat to go back, Piper,” I said.

“I can see Grandma standing on the dock right over there.”  It’s hard to fool a Piper.

So we trolled back to the cannel by the house. I casted the rod, caught a fish, and quickly handed the rod to Piper.  Although happy to reel in her first catch, she refused to touch the fish. She had another idea.

“Let’s eat it, Grandpa!”

“Only if you touch it,” I said. “We’d have to clean it first.”

Piper thought about this, but she had another idea. “Do you have a cheese stick? I’m hungry.”

We took some pictures of Piper and her first fish.

Then we set the fish free and returned the Piper safely to Grandma.

On the Road Part 3

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.”