Going Fishing With my Pal, Tony

Even Klutzy Grandpa’s get a Pass from a Kid Who Just Wants to “Go fishin”

So my little friend, Tony, wanted to go fishing in the worst way, but he was asking the wrong dude. The extent of my fishing experience, as I recall, was taking my kids to one of those fish farms, where you can’t miss catching a fish and the staff sets you up with hooks and bait and all that. “Sorry Tony, Grandpa Hank doesn’t know anything about fishing.” The eight-year-old boy’s face dropped. “But there is no one else around. You GOTTA take me.”

Once more I tried to explain. “Tony, I can take you golfing or teach you how to play tennis but I just don’t know much about fishing. “Don’t worry, Grandpa Hank, I’ll show you.” After hearing those words, my better judgment told me to suggest we buy an ice cream at Baskin Robbins, or go to the Dollar Store. Anywhere but fishing. But there is nothing in the world that can change the mind of a little kid who knows exactly what he wants to do. And me? I’ve always been a pushover for a girl scout selling cookies or a budding entrepreneur at a lemonade stand. This old leopard wasn’t about to change his spots.

That’s how I found myself at a local pond, with a borrowed fishing rod and a box of lures and hooks and other shiny whatchamacallits. Tony marched along beside me, bubbling with excitement “This is so much fun.” There was no doubt in his mind that the lake would yield several ten pound trout and maybe a bass, too.

We stopped on the pier and laid out our stuff. The moment of truth was at hand. Tony was jumping up and down like a kid who has to take a pee. In fact, I double-checked but no this wasn’t his bladder complaing, he was just over the top with pure unadulterated childhood joy.

Expectantly he waited for Grandpa to perform his magic. He had long ago forgot that he was going to teach me. I managed to get hook on the rod and attached a little marshmallow as bait. Furtively, I looked over my shoulder at a REAL fisherman making a cast. Wow! With just a flick of his wrist, it landed probably 30 ft. away. Can’t be that hard. I gave my own flick of the wrist and my cast landed in two inches of water. Duh! I had forgotten to let the bloody line out.

Far from being dismayed, the little kid lets out a hearty guffaw. The rascal was enjoying my ineptitude. “Try in again, Grandpa.” I tried twice more before Tony said, “Maybe we better get someone to show us how.”So I swallowed my pride and asked an Asian guy who looked like he was born with a fishing rod in his hand. The man was very patient too and did his best to instruct me. I actually did get off ONE fairly decent cast but once he walked away, I reverted to normal AKA awful.

Tony gave it a shot too and managed to drag us some green stuff from the depths. “Look,” he shouted exultantly, “We got some sea weed.” By this time darkness was descending and I said (with some relief) “Maybe we better pack it in, Buddy.” I started to apologize to the little guy for being such a klutz at the noble sport of fishing but, in his mind, our little excursion had been a great success. “Wasn’t that fun, grandpa Hank? I’m gonna show my big brother the seaweed I caught. Can we go again next week?”

A Child Sleeps

Sacred Moments

Abby rested her head on her princess pillow. It was 7:30 and time to wake her for school but the magic of the moment made me pause. It’s not often that a grandpa has an opportunity to see his little five year old sweetheart sleeping. I wasn’t about to hurry along.

Hungerly, wistfully, I took in the scene.I took in the scene. Dressed in her pink floral pj’s, her little bod sort of scrunched up against her blankie, my little toots looked the portrait of innocence. There was no way I was going to disturb her sleep, at least for a while.

So I stood there as the early morning sun glinted through her bedroom window. I was savoring the sight of a child at rest and wondering if there is anything in the world quite as precious. I felt honored to be present in this moment.

My mind jettisoned the clutter of the stuff that fills my head…the OBama-Clinton race, the downturn in our economy, the problems at our Children’s Village, the stroke that recently happened to my sister-in-law, the dental appointment awaiting me tomorrow…all so much fluff that really mattered very little. No, this was life, Abby, my grand daughter lying there in her “big girl bed” before my eyes. Nothing mattered more than this.

God was in the room with us. I was in Church and little Abby was a sacrament.