Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Fish Tale

Eric was a very gifted ten year old boy, the son of some friends in South Florida where I lived before moving to Satsuma. Although privileged in most respects and highly intelligent, Eric was woefully under-experienced in any kind of physical outdoor activities. His dad traveled extensively and was seldom available for father-son activities. So as it happened, one day his Mom asked me, I think out of despiration, to see if I could do something to coax Eric out from behind his TV and computer.

I mentally shuffled through a list of things that might spark his interest, finally settling on fishing. I decided fishing would be a good place to start as he had expressed some, if lackluster, interest in doing this. So I rounded up some worms and we gathered some equipment from the garage and walked to a dock along an inlet close-by where the fishing is normally good. He watched intently as I placed a worm on his hook; listened carefully as I told him how to watch and feel for the pull and to retract his pole only after a really good pull. He excitedly watched his pole and waited for a strike. To his joy and my relief, he soon had a small fish on the line. I showed him how to remove the fish and place it back in the water.

Then, deciding to go to the next level, I instructed him to bait his own hook with a new worm and continue. Assuming he could master this task I busied myself checking my lines. Soon however, I noticed he was sitting, arms folded--- just glumly looking out at the water with a deadpan expression , his pole and hook lying on the dock.

I said, "Eric, why aren't you fishing?" and he replied, "Mr. Agniel, I think I'm a fisher, not a baiter."

Needless to say, before the day was over, he had learned how to pick up a worm and put it on the hook properly…but not without a protracted struggle and several abortive attempts with handling the worm. Later that evening, he was proudly telling his mother and dad of the fish he had caught and how he had baited his own hook with real live worms. I think it really made his day and incidentally, it just sort of made mine too.

© 2005 David Agniel


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