The round red and white bobber just sat there. It rolled with the ripples and the wind. Occasionally, a dragon fly would use it for a resting spot.
It rarely had any activity so just sat there doing what it was named for. It bobbed. If fishing was slow, Dad replaced the red and white bobber with an elongated white and yellow bobber. They bobbed the same. The dragon fly had little sit on. And, usually the fishing was no better than before.
I grew up with a fishing pole in my hands. Initially, I just sat holding the pole and looking at the water, the trees, the bugs and most everything else. My bobber just sat there….bobbing. I grew a little older and was allowed to get the worm out of the bait bucket. The slimy thing twisted and curled, and in all my little girlness, I said ‘yuk.’ With age came more freedom. I graduated to putting the worm onto the hook. I found that if I whapped it with my shoe first, I could stun it then put it onto the hook with absolutely no resistance. Once I was adept at this task, my father allowed me to remove the hook from the fish. Yes, I grew up with a fishing pole in my hands, watching the red and white bobber.
I watched the bobber. It was on the end of the line hooked to my old cane pole. When we sold the farm, I saw my pole in the corner of the barn. I really wanted it, but what was I to do with? I hadn’t fished since I was a child. Then I realized that this pole represented so much more. It held memories of a little girl getting attention from her dad who seemed to work most of the time and never played with his daughters. Dad and I had something in common as I watched that red and white bobber. We talked and laughed. With each fish I caught, I gained his praise. When I caught none, I received his support. We relived the day of fishing as we dined on that same fish at dinner. It was in those times that I learned old stories of when as a boy Dad fished in the same fishing holes. That old pole beaconed to me that day in the barn….not to take it home. No. It called to me to remember.
As I watched that red and white bobber, I learned about nature. I learned patience. I learned the excitement of the tug on the line and of landing the fish. I learned what it was to be quiet. I learned to listen to the earth. Most of all, I learned to know my father.
Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.