When I was a little girl my Daddy would often take me fishing. He taught me how to cast my line in my grandparents’ front yard underneath the shade of a big white oak tree planted by my Papaw. Daddy tied a washer on the end of my line and made me practice casting into an imaginary lake. My grandmother sat on her front porch swing watching as I cast my line time after time until one of my casts went astray and hit the swing she was sitting on. That washer hit the chain on that swing and whipped around it several times entangling itself completely into that chain. Mamaw let out a little yell and cried, “Oh, Ellis! That child is going to kill me!” My Daddy replied, “Well get in the house woman. I am trying to teach this girl how to fish.”
When Daddy finally took me fishing he went prepared. He loaded up his tackle box, our fishing poles, a can of freshly dug worms, and most important of all he always carried me a snack. Daddy loved telling people about those fishing trips and he never failed to tell them that I was ready to eat as soon as we got to the lake even though he always made me fish for a little while before he allowed me to eat. After catching a few brim I was through fishing and ready to move on to the food. The thing my Daddy liked about this story was telling people what I always brought to eat. I always carried an onion and a leftover biscuit from breakfast. I know it sounds crazy but I ate onions like you would eat an apple and there was never anything that could match my Mamaw’s cold biscuits.
Back then I thought we were just fishing on those summer days but now I see that it was so much more than that. Daddy was making memories for me. He did that a lot. I think that since he only saw me for 30 hours each weekend he realized how precious time was so he made every attempt to make each activity special. He longed to be a major part of my life in the very limited amount of time he was given. He squeezed in as many memories as he could every weekend we were together and all the time I thought we were just fishing.