Wednesday, May 27, 2009

THe Ugliest Fish Ever!

Back almost three years ago now -well coming up quickly that is in September anyway -when I first started blogging and didn't have close to 200 blogs on my reader plus those that I follow now too, when I did posts then often I sent people -my few readers -off to read other blogs that I'd found interesting. Sometimes I still refer my readers off to other blogs now but not nearly as often as I should -especially when it is a specific post I read on a particular day that gave me the idea for a post of my own.

But today, I'm going to send you off to read posts from two of my favorite bloggers!

First off, you really do need to read the post done by Magazine Man -alias MM to his readers -because this piece, done yesterday, (or actually auto-posted yesterday I should say -but that part is rather immaterial, isn't it?) -any-hoo -this post was really one of the zaniest and yet as also happens with his "stuff" super sentimental too! Bottom line is that I absolutely loved it and it had me laughing out loud, snickering in between the loud cackles I was emitting and just enjoying the living daylights out of this post.

I'm betting the family farm here too that you'll like it too! Trust me. Go read this post now, will ya please and then come back here for more information and my actual post today too!

Okay, that post number one that I wanted to point out to you today. Now, here's post number two by my blogger bud, Terri Terri. A great lady from up in Minnesota, working Mom to three young adults and terrific writer and blogger! And it was this post of hers that I read today that inspired me to tell you a story from back when my kids were just younguns. But before you move on to my post, please go read this post of Terri's and then, return to finish up with my story for today. OK?

Now, reading the title of my post above here and having read Terri's post, have you figured out what my topic here is going to be about yet?

Well, here goes with my story to fill you in.

Back in 1981 -in late August to be precise -I had scrounged enough money to take my kids on a bit of a vacation. We went down to visit my best friend from my working days in Washington, D.C. at the lovely conservative, anti-union, rather male chauvinistic oriented non-profit where I had labored for eight years and from there, we picked up one of my best male friends from that time of my life to go have a spectacular supper of one of my favorite foods -hot, spiced Maryland crabs. Then back home for a day so I could mail in my Avon order and after that, off to Ohio, to Cedar Point for a great day in the sun and fun of that terrific amusement park.

From there, we headed west -past Chicago, on almost to the Illinois/Iowa border where we spent, I think it was three days, relaxing and enjoying the great company of my ex-in-laws -my kids Grandpa and Grandma -who lived then in the pretty little town of Stockton, Illinois.

It just so happened too that the day we arrived there was also my son's 8th birthday and Grandpa had made plans that we would all go down to the Old Mississippi River to a "camp"he and Grandma had along that great body of water. Grandpa also had a boat -not a big fancy boat -but a nice boat that seated a couple people and it had an outboard motor on the back. Just a nice fishing boat that he loved.

His plan was that he would take all three of the kids out for a spin up and down the river, show them the water sights ya know that was and then, bring the girls back and he and the grandson would then go fishing out in the Muddy Mississippi!

This was to be Clayton's day to have Grandpa all to himself and also, to be introduced to what was probably Grandpa's favorite form of relaxation too -fishing.

So, off the guys went. And I -having driven all night the night before in order to get to Stockton early that morning, was beat so I crashed in one of the beds at their camp. (The camp being an old, pretty small too, mobile home that was probably among the first ever manufactured.)

The day was hot and muggy -very, very muggy and the camp -well, it was doubly hot and muggy what with the really cramped quarters and of course, no air conditioning. Not even a fan of any type either come to think of it and the windows were just those darned little porthole size things that barely let any air in to begin with. But I was so tired I had no problem going to sleep, heat and all.

Until about 1 or 2 in the afternoon when I awoke hearing this ruckus -someone screaming at the top of their lungs along the path coming up from the river to the camp.

Hmmm. That sounds like my son. Oh yeah, a bit more awake now, I KNEW it was Clate and what the heck was he making so much noise for anyway?

I got up, stumbled my way outside to Grandma and the girls to be greeted by Clate, smiling from ear-to-ear and yelling over and over, "I CAUGHT A FISH! I CAUGHT A FISH!:

And behind him came Grandpa, trudging along, carrying their fishing equipment and also, a string on which there hung two small -actually really small fish -a perch and another fish I was unfamiliar with -don't recall ever seeing one like it here in PA waters anyway but I can't for the life of me now recall what kind it was.

However, along with those two little fishies there was also this other fish -much, much bigger too -hanging on that string that Grandpa was carrying and that fish -OMG -it was by far and away the absolute UGLIEST damned thing I have ever seen from the fish kingdom!

Yeah -a carp! A big fat UGLY Carp!

And my son was absolutely euphoric about having caught that thing too!

By this time, Grandpa had made it up to us at the camp and he was just howling with laughter as he told Grandma and me what had transpired out on that boat.

Seems they had already caught the two smaller fish and the boy threw his line in the water to try for another catch and he got a hit on the line.

Grandpa said when this fish hit, it was so strong that the reel just started spinning like crazy -faster and faster -and he was worried at first that Clate wouldn't get his thumb out of harms way quickly enough and would end up with his thumb being broken by the fish pulling and running with the line and that reel just going what seemed to my son like "a kazillion miles and hour, MOM!"

Ok, got the thumb tucked under and safe and Grandpa began to try to help Clate land this huge fish. Did I tell you before it was ugly? Yeah, ok -did that.

He said it took them a good 20 minutes, at least, before they finally landed it in the boat.

And then, he said that Clate leaned back in the one back corner of the boat, exhausted and told his Grandfather, "Let's go home now Grandpa. I'm all fished out. It's Miller Time!"

To this day, I'm not sure which part of that story tickled the living daylights out of Grandpa more -the reel almost doing the kid's thumb in, the 20-plus minute fight with the fish or the comment of this 8-year-old of it being "Miller Time!"

Grandpa looked over at me and asked, "I wonder where he got that 'Miller Time' bit from?" Hmmm. Don't look at me as my beverage of choice back then was good old Genessee!!

By this time, Clate began to tell Grandma his plans for this fish too.

"You know what I'm gonna do with this fish, Grandma? I'm gonna have my Mom freeze it real, real hard and we'll take it back home with us and I'll have my Mom get it mounted then too and we can hang it on the wall in the living room!" were the plans he had lined up to deal with that fish -or rather that I would do to deal with it!

Upon hearing this, Grandpa grabbed Grandma by the elbow and said, "Eileen! Quick grab a shovel and dig a big old hole out behind the trailer before the kid gets any more goofy ideas!"

Probably was a good thing too that they did take that carp and bury it out there cause I can't possibly imagine drivin close to 800 miles back to home here in PA with a thawed out and very UGLY and by then, a very smelly carp stuffed somewhere in the middle of all the other paraphenalia we already had crammed into that little old Chevy Chevette I drove back at that time.

After we got back to Pennsylvania, my son couldn't wait to tell his Uncle Tom -his Dad's brother -about his fishing expedition on the Mighty Mississipi with Grandpa. When he finally got around to telling his uncle about that ugly old carp, Uncle Tom gave him a look and asked the kid if he had a clue how you go about cooking a carp to which of course, the boy answered no, and wanted to know how you would do that.

Uncle Tom's instructions were that you got a big old pine board, put the fish on it, into the oven at about 400 degrees and baked it for a long, long time and then, when you took it out of the oven, you threw away the fish and ate the pine board!

Yeah, my good old ex-brother-in-law always had something good to offer in most every conversation, don't 'cha know?

Although this vacation was one of the best times my kids and I had together when they were youngsters, sadly this was also to be the last time they saw Grandpa though as a year later, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and then, in April of 1985, Grandpa died of a massive heart attack.

But I cherish the memory of that fishing trip and how much the kids enjoyed being there for that short period of time with their grandparents -who they barely knew and rarely had a chance to get to see them. I'm so happy that I managed somehow to take them there for their Grandpa to spoil them just a little bit over those two or three very short days we got to spend with him and Grandma and it definitely made for a very memorable 8th birthday for my son!


Hammer said...

That is a great fish story.

My kids want to go fishing so bad. I think I'm going to take them to the coast this year and let them try.

Mary said...


I enjoyed reading this story and visiting your friend's blog.

Don't little boys just get so excited about catching a big old carp. We also have suckers here and they put up a real fight too.

We catch and release but I've been known to bring carp and suckers home, dig a hole and put them under the rose bushes. They make great fertilizer.

Take care. Hope all is well with you and yours.


terri said...

I loved this story! It reminds me of some of the best (and most simple) times I've spent with my kids, just relaxing at the lake at the small family cabin.

I can picture Clate and his excitement over the carp. It probably didn't matter WHAT kind of fish it was. It was just the excitement of catching something so big. You should have seen all the kids AND adults last weekend when Kacey caught her carp. Every one of them was excited over the fight the fish put up and the size of it once the kids hauled it in. They were all WELL aware that it was a garbage fish, but that didn't stop them from being excited about it.

I'm sure your story is a special one for Clate. What a blessing that the last time he spent with his grandpa was full of fun and happiness.

Woman in a Window said...

Jeni, what a wonderful story, right down to the eating of the pine board. And yes, how lucky you all were to have that special time. I find that no matter where I go through blogging I'm always taught something (or retaught...I'm not a quick learner) and this is a story I'll think of often - enjoy time as it's always passing.

Thanks for your kind comments my way from time to time. I don't know why it's taken me so long to come over here. I rather like it here!


Betsy said...

Such a good fish story! And thanks for recommending your favorite's always great to find a good one!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Great story! And thanks for the links! Happy Thursday!

Dr.John said...

Loved the story. It brings back memories of my grandfather and the times I spent with him. Thank you.

Linda said...

There probably aren't too many things better than spending time with one's grandfather and it sounds like Clate had the chance to learn that firsthand in this fish story!