Ron takes the girls fishing whenever he can on Sunday mornings in the summer down by the river. They catch trout and catfish, though mostly sunnies which are hardly worth it so they throw them back, though Lynnie cries about not putting bandaids on their cut lips.
What do you say to that? thinks Ron. We all come up with something about how fish don’t feel pain when how the heck do we know? We want that to be true for the sake of our children. Worms, too, sticking them wiggling on the hooks. They don’t exactly look painless. But they squirm wherever they are.
Other than these disturbing questions, fishing is a peaceful time for Ron and the girls. Lynnie fishes from the bank. Franny likes to balance on the rocks in the water in the sun, her red curls falling softly over her eyes.
“Put some sun screen on, you’re burning up,” says Ron.
“I already did, you just can’t see it.” Of course why should she listen? She’s nine.
Meanwhile, Lynnie has lost interest in her fishing rod as she has caught a frog.
“Can I keep him? Can I put him in the extra bucket?”
“We can play with him here, but we can’t take him home. Our house is too small for frog jumping and not wet enough.”
She happily starts covering the frog with grass.
Ron leans against the tree and watches the shallow river roll by. He loves these fishing days with the girls, listening to the birds, the water, the wind rustling the willows, the occasional “Look, Daddy,” and giggles. He cannot imagine a more perfect moment in life. He cannot know that years from now this would be the last memory that would pass through his mind before he would peacefully take leave from life for good.
published 13 November 2013