To Catch a Fish

Missing my dad today. It’s been 8 years since his passing and I miss him all the time. Thought I would share one of my favorite stories I had written about him.

 To Catch a Fish

This is a story about a little girl, a little girl who just wanted to catch a fish. This is my story, that little girl was me.

Growing up in a small town that rests on the edge of Lake Michigan, along with several other smaller lakes within its borders, one was sure to find the perfect fishing spot. My dad was an avid fisherman and taught us all how to fish. My childhood memories are ones of warm evenings spent with my whole family, fishing at the channel, which at one time connected the smaller Wolf Lake to Lake Michigan.

I’m not sure if my sister and mom actually fished when we went, but they were there nonetheless, probably reading a book or a magazine. Being the youngest after my two brothers, I was a bit of a tomboy growing up, getting caught up playing the things that they enjoyed. So, when it came time to fish with my dad and brothers, I was all in. Well, as all in as I could be at the age of six. I watched in awe as my brothers cast out their lines with those fancy rods and reels of theirs. It was a true art form, and took practice, with just the right movements to send that bobber out into the lake at the perfect spot. It was all in the timing, you pulled back, pressed the button to release the line with a flick of the wrist, you heard the whizzing sound of the line as it would sail through the air. You knew it was a perfect cast, when you heard the ever so slight plop of the bobber as it breached the surface of the glass-like lake, with only a few ripples; your worm on its hook settling in the murky water to wait. Then there was my experience, with my cane pole, and red and white bobber. No skill really needed, I just flung it out into the drink and hoped for the best. My dad always taught us about safety, reminding us how sharp and pointy the hook was, and that you needed to be careful as you cast your line out, so that the hook wouldn’t snag you in the back of the head. Even though I was a tomboy, I was still a little girl, and putting a worm on a hook, was not for me. That was my dad’s job, and I was fine with that, and it was key in this little charade he called fishing.

So, there I sat, with my cane pole and my red and white bobber just sitting there. We didn’t talk much, if we did it was quiet conversation, as to “not wake the fish.” Even when one of us got a hit, we didn’t get overly excited. It was a simple, “I got one.” As we manned our poles yet watched the dance between the fish and the fisherman as it was brought to shore. Sure enough as I heard the ‘got one’ on my left, there was two more on my right. Holding on to my trusty pole, just knowing I had to be next, needing to be ready, yet I couldn’t help but turn my attention to my brothers reeling in their catch. Once the excitement wore off, we sat. Then sat some more. . .waiting. As the sun set and the breeze began to cool, you could hear the gentle lapping of the lake on the shore, and a small voice innocently question, “Hey Dad. . .why haven’t I caught a fish yet.” Which was always answered with some wise fish tale, that only a six-year old could believe.

Then there was the one evening, as I was growing bored with the whole not catching a fish thing, I started looking through my dad’s tackle box. I found a round tin, with the letters SKOAL on it, not sure what it was, I was bent on finding out, and tried to open it. It was a struggle for my small hands, but I figured out that I had to push the top and bottom together real hard and twist to open it. With my fierce determination, I got it opened and the contents of the tin burst out and covered my entire chest. As I looked down, I was coated in what looked like saw dust, and little, tiny, squirmy, white. . .WORMS!! I’m not sure if anyone else heard the scream like I did in my head. Maybe I actually held it in, as to not wake the fish, but I was totally freaking out. Just as quickly as it happened, it was over as my dad rushed over, brushed everything off of me and saved me from the Bee Moths! Or just maybe he saved the Bee Moths from me. With those wormy-like things back in their little home, I went back to my cane pole, and sat. . .waiting. . .and sat some more. This was so much better than being eaten alive by Bee Moth Larvae. Or was it? You see, everyone, except me, knew that there was never a worm on my hook! Honestly, I’m not sure there was even a hook!

But then one day it happened. My dad, knowing he couldn’t keep up this ruse forever, decided that just him and I would go fishing, early one morning. We got out to the channel just as the sun was rising over the horizon. My dad grabbed two rods and reels from the trunk, and his tackle box. With my eyes wide, I realized the cane pole stayed behind. Is it possible? I got a quick lesson on how to cast out. My first few tries landed my bobber with a ker-plunk in the water not 3 feet from where I was standing. Try again. With my dad’s help, I was able to cast out. Proudly holding on to my precious rod and reel, I sat, waiting. . .this time with a smile on my face. It’s going to happen today!! Sure enough, I felt that little tug, and then “Dad. . .I got one!” We both stood, and he coached me as the fish tried to run with the bait in his mouth, “Let him go for a little bit, then reel him in.” I did that a few times, excitement pounding in my ears, mixed in with the whirling sound of the reel as I brought my catch to shore. My dad grabbed the line and pulled it out of the water. There on the end, frantically flipping, was my first catch, a nice little Perch. I finally did it!!

OK. . .so I totally exercised my artistic license on that last paragraph. I really don’t remember actually fishing that day, but I do remember taking this picture, and I’m sure I actually caught this particular fish. I am smiling so broadly not because I was proud of my catch, but those things are slippery little suckers, and it was hard to hold on to.

As we got older, my brothers moved on, and lost interest in fishing. I totally lost interest, and set my sights on gaining some fashion sense, thank God. (Either my dad dressed me that morning, or these were hopefully my ‘fishin’ clothes.’) My dad went on to bigger and better fishing opportunities. Fishing with his buddies on their boats, or going out alone and fishing off the shore of Lake Michigan, which earned him the Indiana State Record in 1983 by catching the largest Brown Trout weighing in at 22 lbs. 8 oz.  A title he held on to for several years.

Today, you probably couldn’t pay me to go fishing. I’ve put my time in, thank you very much. But I’m grateful for the time spent with my family and the memories I have. However, just like any good fish story, the details are subject to over-exaggeration with each telling.

© Carrie Ann 2016

Long Time No Blog

Hello!! Hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. My family had been hunkering down during our stay-at-home orders, and even as things are opening back up, we are still being cautious.  Being that we live with my mom, and since I am self-employed, I don’t want to take the chance of getting sick, and not be able to work, or get my mom sick. I was fortunate enough to be able to continue to work from home with my bookkeeping business.  A few of my clients had to shut down temporarily, but it hasn’t been too bad for me. I was able to enjoy a slower pace for the last few months, so I am grateful for that.  My son Ben didn’t miss a beat with school, I did however enjoy all the funny home school memes that cropped up on social media.  Too funny, though I could fully understand the frustrations from the parents thrusted into it!

As if 2020 wasn’t hard enough, I had recently read an article about the Cicadas 17-year return! I was like are you frickin’ kidding me? Thank God they are returning to the south, being that I experienced them when they were here the last time, I don’t think my nerves could handle it now. So, I have decided to share with you a story I wrote a few years ago that is based on my real experience. Needless to say, the kids and I freaked out when we saw thousands of them all perched on the blades of grass in our yard. They literally just appeared one morning, all of them, all at once! My oldest son filled his super-soaker water gun and open fired on them, and they did. not. move.  The noise is just as I describe and can produce a sound in excess of 100 decibels, a loud rock concert measures in at 120 decibels.  My mom did not believe me when I told her the noise was constant and how loud it was until she experienced it herself.  This went on for weeks, and we stayed indoors for the most part.  So, without further ado . . .

Rhythm is Gonna Get You

I start my day early like I always do. With coffee and newspaper in hand, I step out on my deck to enjoy the early morning quietness before work. My yard is my haven, my sanctuary, the place I retreat to for peace and quiet. My job on the floor at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is anything but peaceful. I stand up, take a deep breath of fresh air, and set my things down on the patio table. Stepping off the deck to check on my hanging planters, I near the grass. Something was odd, different. Yes, it was taller than normal, and at the top of my to do list for the weekend. But as I crouch down, I notice a large insect resting on the tip of a grass blade. As my eyes adjust, there are actually thousands of them, all balancing gracefully on the grass tips.  Unlike flies, they are undaunted by my presence or sudden movement as I step back. Returning to the patio table to drink my coffee, I open the newspaper, my attention drawn to a headline that reads 17-YEAR ABSENCE BILLIONS OF CICADAS TO DESCEND ON THE MIDWEST. Skimming over the article, I peer out at the scene before me, thinking, yep, they’re here. I go to work, without another thought to this unpleasant intrusion upon my haven.

Little did I know that this would be the day from hell.  I lost a boatload of money for one of my biggest clients, I’m lucky I didn’t lose my job.  Damn, I haven’t made a rookie mistake like that in 17 years.  My boss is being generous, he requests I take a mandatory vacation.  One to clear my head so I can get back in the game.  I’ve seen it happen to many of my colleagues, never thought I’d be one of them.  I stayed alert, stayed sharp, but this unexpected turn of the market came out of nowhere, I wasn’t the only one who lost big.

I spend the first 45 minutes of my drive home in silence to decompress.  The last leg of my trip, I crank up the tunes until I pull into my driveway greeted by the sweet sounds of nature that my overpriced mortgage affords me.

I pull up and turn off the ignition.  I pause, it isn’t quiet.  What I hear is something I’ve never heard before.  It is a loud hum, a buzzing kind of sound, yet it is very melodic, it isn’t made by one, but rather a legion.  The sound reverberates from the trees, the volume ebbs and flows like the swell of waves coming on to shore.  I notice my grass is no longer covered with insects.  Just like the article said, they retreat into the trees and make a lot of noise, this won’t be so bad.

I walk into the house, expecting to be hit with cool air, but I’m not.  I don’t hear the central air unit running and check the thermostat.  It’s set on 68, but it reads almost 83 as the indoor temp.  Just what I need, I’ll deal with that tomorrow, I’ll just open some windows.

All evening, and well into the night, the cadence of the cicada’s musicality serenades me.  But finally, by about 11 p.m., as if some great maestro waved his wand, it stops.  The silence is deafening.  Good I can get some sleep.  Oh, there were a few interruptions throughout the night, occasionally one rogue cicada buzzed just to be heard, like a petulant child.  But for the most part quiet.

The next morning is a different story.  With the rising of the sun, the cicadas awoke, somewhat discombobulated.  There was no melodic tune.  It was more sporadic, creating a cacophony that I thought would make my ears bleed.

I make several calls trying to get a heating and cooling guy out today, no such luck.  It won’t be until the first of the week. It is what it is, I move on with my day. I go outside to cut the grass, first checking to be sure none of the insects are still there, all clear.  With the lawnmower humming, I begin my trek across the yard.  The cicadas must be drawn to the sound of the mower, they begin to swarm around me landing on my arms and back.  They don’t bite or sting, they are just annoying, so much so I have to go back inside.  As the sun begins to set, the dissonance turns into a melodic lullaby.

Several days pass, the constant sound makes me irritable and fidgety.  My best friend and colleague calls and texts several times, leaving messages just to check on me.  Each time the phone rings or pings with an incoming message, I feel like I could jump out of my skin.  I don’t return his calls, my text replies are brief. I’m not in the mood to talk to anyone.   It’s as if the cicada’s rhythm controls me.  During the day, I’m agitated and unable to focus, but as the evening comes to a close, the lull calms me.  A Google search of these annoying invaders gives me an article that says they are good to eat, even includes a recipe, hmm.

The following afternoon, I fire up the grill and prepare myself a nice meal.  Just as I prepare to dig into my barbecue feast, my phone chirps with an incoming message.

Dude, haven’t heard from you, what’s up?

Nothing

You OK?

Fine

Thought I might stop by

No, don’t

Why not?

Not a good idea. Stay away.

The next thing I know, he’s pounding on my door.  “Martin, it’s me Greg, open up.”

I’m in no rush to open the door. My greeting lacks any enthusiasm “Hey Greg.” I flop back down on the couch.

“Dude, what the hell? Ya look like shit.”

Looking down at my clothes I can’t remember what day I put them on. I scratch the stubble on the side of my face.  Hmmm I should probably shave.

“Martin!” Greg abruptly says so loud I’m snapped back to reality.

“How can you stand this noise?” He rubs his hand down his face.

“You get used to it.  It’s not so bad at night.” I stand up but forget why and look around trying to remember what I was going to do.

Greg must have noticed my restlessness.  “I’m getting you out of here. Find your shoes I’ll grab some of your clothes, you can crash at my place for a while. Why is it so friggin’ hot in here?”

“Air conditioner is broken.” I scan the room for my shoes.

As I lace up my tennis shoes, Greg comes back down with my gym bag full, “C’mon, let’s go.”

We are only a couple of blocks away from my house, when I notice a change in the air.  The noise, it’s gone.  When I get to Greg’s house, the first thing I do is take a shower.  As the hot water streams down my body, I feel like I am waking up from a dream.  The events of the last couple of days run through my mind like a bad quality movie.

When I’m dressed, I walk into the kitchen. “Let’s eat,” Greg comes in from outside, with a couple of steaks on a plate.  The delicious aroma causes my stomach to grumble. Makes me wonder if I did in fact eat barbecued cicadas.  Nah, I couldn’t of.

© 2017 Carrie Ann

Happy Easter!

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Matthew 28:5-6:

“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”

Happy Pi Day!

Taking some time today to share and update one of my older posts.  With all that is going on in the world, just wanted to get my mind off of things and do something I miss and enjoy . . . blogging.  Enjoy these fun facts, have some pie, and be well!

First…what is Pi and why the funny symbol?

The number π is a mathematical constant representing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It’s an irrational number, meaning that it can’t be represented by a common fraction.  The decimal places never end, and they never settle into a permanent repeating pattern.

π is the Greek symbol for the letter “p.” It was taken from the Greek word for “perimeter.”

Now some fun facts about Pi:

The value of pi has now been calculated to more than two trillion decimal places.

The world record for memorizing the value of pi was set by Chao Lu of China in 2005. He correctly recited from memory its first 67,890 digits.

It took him 24 hours and four seconds at a rate of 47 digits a minute without food or toilet breaks.th

He had planned to recite 93,000 digits but made a mistake at the 67,891st.

If you write “3.14” on a piece of paper and hold it up to a mirror, it looks like the word “PIE”.  (so yeah, I actually did this…it’s a bit of a stretch, but you can see it…kinda sorta) 🙂

Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day: March 14, 1879.

The first six digits of pi (314159) appear in order at least six times among the first 10 million decimal places of pi.

You only really need 39 decimal places of pi for computing the circumference of a circle – your error will be no greater than the radius of a hydrogen atom.  I think we all know an atom is pretty small.

Things like this with numbers just fascinates me.  I think if I really applied myself, I could be a real math geek, LOL.

Now for the good stuff…PIE!!

Here is a delicious easy pie recipe that can brighten any day!

Ingredients:ca0fc804-2e04-4bcf-a559-5817b2246374
2 envelopes  DREAM WHIP Whipped Topping Mix
2-3/4 cups  cold milk, divided
1 tsp.  vanilla
2 pkg.  (3.9 oz. each) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1  baked pie crust (9 inch), cooled

BEAT whipped topping mix, 1 cup milk and vanilla in large bowl with mixer on high speed 6 min. or until soft peaks form.

ADD remaining milk and dry pudding mixes; beat on low speed until blended. Beat on high speed 2 min., stopping occasionally to scrape bottom and side of bowl. Spoon into crust.

REFRIGERATE 4 hours or until firm.

HAPPY PI DAY!!

Links to the info about Pi:

http://www.9news.com/story/life/2015/03/13/pi-day-facts-figures-irrational-number/24710313/

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/top10facts/384163/Top-10-facts-about-pi