There are moments that rattle your memory bank from it’s hibernation. Yesterday was one of those moments for me. What started out being all about the boys, quickly took a different direction.
A silent auction. A fishing experience with yours truly and very generous parent.
I work at a small private Christian school where a silent auction is held annually. Teacher aren’t required to offer up “experiences” but many do. A spa day with Mrs. Hancock. A day of cooking with Mrs. Barringer. A day with “crazy” Baney. The folks that I work with are some of the coolest, most generous people you could ever meet.
This year being my first year , I was apprehensive about throwing my hat into the ring. What would I offer? What if no one bid on my experience. Doubt and fear almost kept me from doing it. I did however hurl my hat into the ring with a much different outcome than I expected.
Auction item offered? A day of bream fishing and lunch with Mrs. Peters. A good time guaranteed of course.
The teacher experiences were part of an online silent auction. By the end of the night, my little bream extravaganza would wind up going for $500!
The recipient of the bream bonanza went to one of the coolest kids I know. A little quirky, highly intelligent and witty to boot. He and his family no longer hold student teacher status in my life but are now friends that I will cherish for a lifetime.
Shannon and I tried several times to schedule the event. Ever changing Texas weather and bouts of vertigo kept thwarting our plans. You know that big picture that people always refer to? I like to think of my “big picture” as a painting. A work in progress. The one that you never quite see completed but when another stroke of the brush adds detail you realize, said detail was added with an elegant and deliberate flick of the wrist, by the greatest artist of all. I noticed added detail today.
James’ choice of friend for the day was a good one. Joseph can be described as shy and kind hearted. Both boys having come out of their shells since the inception of the school year.
7:30 rolled around and two sleepy-ish boys arrived at my house.The red chevy was loaded with rods, a fish basket and extra tackle, just in case. Back of the truck holding my tools of choice for a day of slayin’ bream, inside the truck: two boys, a teacher, some worms and donut holes.
Our adventure would begin about two miles from my driveway. In reality, it began in August when school started.
Truck parked in my usual spot, rods and other trappings in hand, to the bank of the lake we went.
The added detail of our “painting” was breathtaking. The lake, smooth as glass. A gentle breeze and no humidity. A deliberate flick of the wrist. He is a very talented artist indeed.
With worms threaded on the tiniest of hooks and corks adjusted to just the right depth, the search for the illusive bream commenced. OK, so bream are not illusive by any stretch of the imagination but it’s my story to tell. Dubbed illusive they are! Truth be told, those little sunfish will inhale hot dogs, corn and moldy bread, sometimes before your bale is closed and ready to go.
Before our lines were in the water I made it clear that this was a friendly competition in which I was determined to come out victorious.
Withing seconds, my little redheaded adversary had landed his first of many. Pretty sure we caught every bluegill along the bulkhead, the ones lurking among the lily pads and the stragglers that were hanging out by the floating dock.
Our basket becoming heavier and heavier with bream, grins on faces and a teacher. Unbeknownst to my little buddies, their presence and the scene unfolding knocked on the door of my minds eye. I could hear the voice of my son, “mom, look at this one, its’ huge.” Casey hollering back, “good job Bubba.” I had to choke back tears several times as I remembered.
Throughout the morning, not only was there fishing, there was conversation. My favorite topic of the morning? Worm reproduction. I’m still unsure of the the process.
“Mrs. Peters, I’m beating you.” Mrs. Peters, I’m still ahead.” But once the sun warmed the water and the fish stopped biting James and I ended up tying. Joseph caught a few as well.
James unwrapped the rope from the cleat and heaved the basket of spoils onto the freshly mowed lake bank. Both boys, proud of their accomplishments. Teacher, full of pride.
After a few photo ops we released the bream to live another day. Catch and release often proves to be intensely satisfying.
During the manumission of the bream, we tried our hand at a few slo-mo videos. Pretty cool outcome, if I do say so myself.
Tummies grumblin’, we loaded the truck with Chic Fil A in mind. Food and more conversation kicked off. This time, not worm reproduction but talk of favorite movies, girls and the upcoming school year. James and I had already established that Tombstone is one of the best movies of all time. He quoted verbatim my favorite line uttered by Doc Holliday. “My hypocrisy knows no bounds.” The words spoken when Wyatt Earp placed the ranger badge on the chest of the ailing Holliday.
Food inhaled and our day big day coming to end, my heart still longing for the days that my kids were sitting across the table from me after a day of adventure. Only difference is we would have been sitting at McDonald’s.
After we bid our farewells, I sat in my car in parking lot for a bit. It hit me. Those little fishing buddies of mine where deliberate flicks of the wrist by the painter of my life. The strokes that created their presence in my painting were added at just the right moment. Added any earlier and my painting would be off in color. A true artist knows how to layer the colors bringing the masterpiece to life one deliberate stroke at the right time.
The day started with an obligation and hopes of showing the boys a good time. The day ended with the teacher learning from the students.
I am sure the boys had a great time and made some memories. I was reminded that our paintings are a work in progress. I took my mind on another visit of days gone by. Days that I long for. Memories that made me smile and put a lump in my throat.
Truth be told, I was the auction winner this day. A day that I will cherish for as long as I can recall days such as these.
“Fishing is not an escape from life but quite often a deeper immersion into it.” Harry Middleton