Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Fish Tale.

It was decided: he would take Levi fishing.


My farmer lives a busy life: full time job by day, farming by evening and weekend and any space in between.

This life prevents much of anything in the way of vacations or excess "play."

It does have some great benefits, too,
if you are a home-body, like lots of animals, enjoy gardening, love tractors and tending to the crops of the different seasons,
and find ways to ignore the things that aren't getting done as quickly as you hoped.

Even doing the simple things people do with their kids can get lost in the busyness of a farm life:
riding bikes, taking trips, playing catch, going fishing...

my farmer used to love fishing when he was a boy.

I could tell it kind of hurt him that Levi has been fishing several times with an uncle that comes by to take him, but never with his dad.

Today was an overcast day with an occasional sprinkle of rain,
a day that field farming tends to slow down and wait til tomorrow.
It was decided that today would be the day of a fishing trip.

I heard the attic door open and the Farmer made his way up the crowded steps of stuff waiting to go up there to be put away
(that never seems to get done).

He found his tackle box in his personal 4' x 4' section of the attic.

He dug his poles out from the shed and tested their structure, making note of what he needed to purchase at the store to get things ready.
After looking online at some local fishing spots, he prepared to head out to pick a few last minute things up as well as a license for himself.

"There are fish in our pond, you know," we told him.

The fishing uncle had given us some fish from his trips with Levi,
and the kids had enjoyed watching them swim away to freedom in our pond.
For several years, they had set a few free each time they'd come back from their fishing trips,
some smaller, some bigger.

A few weeks back as I went up to check on the grape arbor and gather the eggs from the chickens' nesting boxes, I had stopped to look at my pink water lilies in the pond.
I noticed a large number of fish, large and small, looking out from the water at me.  

Still, the waters of other fishing spots seemed to promise the "big catch."

Once everything was in order, we all piled into the truck
(because we all wanted to see the action.)

When we got to the big water, the excitement in the air was thick.
Fishing poles, bucket of worms, and tackle box were ready.

We watched as the lines went out...
 and the lines came in.


Fishing for an hour and not seeing one fish is pretty sad.


We weren't the only ones though.  The others fishing there were coming up with the same results.

A frustrated 11 year-old girl, a hungry 4 year-old girl, and a weary, disappointed 7 year-old boy soon lost interest in fishing in a dark watery world where nothing was happening:...
at least when they fish in the kiddie pool at home with their toy fishing poles, they can see the primary colored little fish that they are supposed to catch bobbing around, waiting to be snatched up by the magnet on the ends of their poles...
even if they don't stick very well.

The Farmer wanted to catch something.
  I could see it really was bugging him that nobody had caught anything, so he kept insisting we just watch while he fished,
(which is not easily doable with the crew I have already mentioned,
especially since the mother who is solely responsible for being the enforcer of cajoling the waning audience's attention had long since lost interest in the fishing expedition herself).

Eventually, the Farmer saw the need to abandon the idea and we all piled back into the truck,
and hungry.

As I entered the kitchen on our return to the farm, I dug out the chicken pieces I had cut up earlier for our meal and then
pulled up Pinterest on the computer to find the recipe I had chosen.
 I started chopping the onions and put the water on to boil when Violet came banging through the back door
"Daddy needs your help outside RIGHT NOW!
He stuck his finger with one of the fishing hooks and can't get it out."

"What!?!  What do you mean he can't get it out?  I've got food cooking here.  What am I going to do if he can't get it out?  I'm not good at those kinds of things!  I don't do too well with blood..." I rattled on as if making her understand would somehow change the situation.

I turned the water off on the stove and set the knife down, wiping my hands and wondering what in the world I was going to do and how I was going to look at the finger without screaming and fainting.
I headed up to the pond and could see him there,  face engrossed in the pliers he had in one hand, pulling at his other hand.

  This was not looking very hopeful.

"What happened?" I asked.  

"It was a big one.  I caught a big fish in the pond.  Levi was reeling it in, but it was big and swimming toward the cattails and I didn't want it to break the line with the hook in it's mouth, so I reeled it in.  I was having trouble getting it off the hook.  It was maybe 14" long and pretty strong.  I put it in the water to try to get the hook out and keep him alive while I tried, and he thrashed when I got him in the water and stuck the other side of the hook into my finger.  He kept thrashing, I kept trying to get him off and when he got off, that hook was buried in my finger."
As he told the story, I could feel my stomach tightening and my eyebrows scrunching on my forehead from imaging the painful scene.
 He held the finger up for me to see:
half the hook had disappeared into his finger.  

I suddenly felt very queasy and had to turn around and walk away to get control of the world that seemed to suddenly be spinning.

"Well, thanks for the help," he said.
"I've been trying to get this thing out of my hand for a while now, and I just can't get it to budge at all."

Honestly, hearing that surely didn't help me.

"Ooowwweee-ooooo, what are we going to do?" I squealed and fretted.
I tried to look at it, and felt my head spin again.

I knew I had to do something, but this wasn't what I am good at....
at all.

I am not nursing material,
not even good at putting on bandaids.

I told him I was going to get the teething gel to help numb it up while we worked on it.
Good ol' teething gel: 
see, that represents the sufficiency of my nursing skills.

I ran into the house and flew to the computer and typed in
"How to get a fish hook out of a finger," because I was just hoping there would be some kind of internet secret that would make this all go away...

 "Repeat these words while handing teething gel to husband: 'hook begone,'
and hook will instantly leave embedded finger."


Clicking on a link called something "the art of manliness", I was taken to drawn images of a fish hook sticking out of a finger and the best way to remove it.

"Okay," I panted, "I can handle this black and white sketching where there isn't any blood,
no puckering flesh on the helpless hand."

I yelled out the door for him to come inside and look at the pictures on the Internet.

He mumbled something more about the wonderful help I was and meandered down toward the house, eyes still looking at the finger that was unwilling to cooperate with our good intentions.

I pointed to the computer screen as he looked and then ran into the bathroom to get some dental floss (it said to use string to help pull out while pushing down on the tail end of the hook. 
String, when your brain is spinning out of control, comes out as dental floss.)

We worked together,
 but nothing was budging,
his hands were shaking, and I was ready to do what I do so effectively when trauma strikes my heart with fear:
bawl until somehow it could be fixed without my having to watch any more of the horror of it.

"I'll call my dad," I finally decided.  He was a medic in the army, so whenever medical issues come up and my Farmer isn't around, he's always the one I call to come remedy the situation.

"He's a half hour away," my Farmer reasoned.  "Am I supposed to sit here and have this thing sticking in me til he gets here?"

  I didn't care about the details, I just wanted help, so I picked up the phone and poked in the numbers.

The phone rang twice with no answer.

Then I heard from the bathroom,
"I got it out."

Oh, how wonderful those words.

Do you have any idea?
The sun came out again.
I could hear the kids voices outside again.
The dogs was barking, but I didn't mind.
"You got it?  How did you do it?"
I grabbed a cup and put some Epsom's salt into it and got some hot water heating.

"I just pulled it out," he replied.

That was plenty of enough detail for me.

As he soaked his finger and told me about the size of the fish and how he didn't want it to die,
I suddenly saw the humor of it.

We'd gone to "the fishing spot" and spent a long hour watching the still water;
we came home and he threw the line into our back yard pond just for fun;
 he catches such a big fish that it returns the hook to his own finger
as he worries about it dying before it gets off the hook because of the loss it would be to our little pond.

Sometimes, living on a farm, you can start to let yourself feel stuck with the invisible "ball and chain" of responsibilities, the many faces that look to you for food and water each day;
and then hearing of others' adventures abroad can seem grand, alluring, glittering with "better."

I am sure that they are fantastic memory creators, these adventures around the world;
no doubt about it!

But magnificence and memorable adventures don't have to be far...
they could be a stone's throw from your back door,
a few steps from your everyday path,
a hand stretched to touch yours across your own table
(even if that hand is stretching across wanting a hook to be removed from it).

"I think that's enough fishing for a while,"
I teased my farmer as I headed up to the barn to do the farm chores while he soaked his sore finger.
"It might be too dangerous to fish in that pond out there."

I smiled even though I wasn't sure he was too agreeable to the humor at the moment.

We'd created a story we all would keep:
a lasting memory filled with sites, sounds, predicaments, drama, pain, laughter,
and a big fish.

My farmer must not have thought it was too bad either.
He's been up fishing at the pond nearly every evening that he can spare a moment since.

"The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich,
and he addeth no sorrow with it."
Proverbs 10:22

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love your comments!