Ernest Hemingway did it, so on the eve of the release of my second book of essays, I thought I would too.
I went fishing.
I didn’t go fishing in a trout stream or the sea, but instead, I stood on the edge of a hole my husband’s grandfather dug over 30 years ago on his farm with a shovel and a lot of muscle.
Grandpa’s pond offers a guaranteed good time and it is stocked with plenty of fish. The evening was sultry as I baited my hook with a night crawler and cast my line in the water. I waited. I waited and waited and I waited some more. I stared at the bobber. Nothing. I reeled in my line and checked the worm. It hung there like wallflower in a bar waiting for an invitation to dance. I cast my line in the water again.
“What’s going on over there?” my husband yelled from the other side of the pond.
“Not even a bite yet!” I shouted. “How’s it going over there?”
“Our daughter is catching more fish than all of us combined!” he bellowed as he took yet another fish off her hook. “I caught seven so far, Mom!” she yelled.
“I caught six, Mom!” my son announced from his side of the pond.
“Good grief,” I muttered. Just then, my line arched and made a whirring sound. I tightened my grip on the pond. “I’ve got a bite!” I shouted., “And she’s a big one!”
I pulled the pole to the right, I tugged it to the left. I jerked it up. I yanked it down. I firmly planted my feet on the ground, anchoring myself in for a long fight. My husband ran to my side. “Oh yeah, she’s huge!” he said excitedly. “Once, my Grandpa caught a 12-pound catfish in this pond. He threw him back.”
“Really?” I questioned. “Maybe this is the fourth generation catfish!” I paused for a moment as the line grew quiet. I whispered, “Do you think this is the BFP?”
“BFP?” my husband looked bewildered.
“Biggest fish in the pond!” I said.
“I’m going in after her,” my husband announced as he pulled off his shoes and walked into the pond. “She may be tangled on a tree branch.”
“Be careful!” I warned.
My son jumped up and down. “I see it and it’s BIG!” He held his hands 12 inches apart.
“Wow!” I said. “Can you get the fish untangled?” I asked my husband.
“No luck yet,” he answered and then moaned as he held up the line which was now hookless, fishless, and wormless. “She got away.”
Even though I felt dejected, I had already begun formulating my fish story in my mind. My brother-in-law pulled up next to the pond in his pickup truck. “Hey!” I shouted. “I think I caught the BFP tonight!”
“Really?” he said, seeming to be unsure of my fishing prowess.
“It was THIS BIG!” I said as I held my hands apart 24 inches. “And what a fight she gave me. I must have fought her for an hour straight! She about took me in the water with her. She had to have been 15 pounds at least. It was pretty crazy until she got away.”
“Amazing,” my brother-in-law said as he looked at me with newfound admiration.
Ernest Hemingway would have been proud of me.