My Grandfather’s Fish Story

GranddadSome seemingly inconsequential events which occurred when we were young remain in our memories even after our youth has faded away.  Possibly it’s just that some memories age better than others or maybe some recollections, just for a moment, bring a small slice of our childhood back to life.  

My family moved often when I was growing up not staying in any one place longer than a few years.  When I was eleven years old I lived with my parents, my older brother and my younger sister in Yuma, Arizona.  I was confident Yuma was the third hottest place in the universe only cooler than Satan’s home and the surface of the Sun.  Summers in Yuma were unbearable and most of my time was spent indoors.

A few days after the end of the school year my mother asked if I would like to spend the summer with my grandparents in Noel.  I had taken short trips to Noel throughout the years with my family and liked the town, the river and my grandparents.  I recollect envisioning what a great adventure that would be as my head nodded up and down.  I journeyed to Noel on my first ever Greyhound bus ride, but that’s a story in and of itself.

My grandparents lived in a small house in town across the street from, what was then, the baseball field.  My grandmother’s sister, my great aunt, lived in a small room that had been added to the back of the house.  My grandfather was the Noel City Marshall and my grandmother and great aunt operated a greenhouse that stood on a lot next to the home.  All of them were at that time in their sixties. 

My grandfather patrolled the streets of Noel in his old Chevrolet from dusk till dawn.  He usually slept during the day but early one morning he and I went on a fishing trip which had been planned the previous day.  My grandfather said he knew of a pond in Maysville, Arkansas and the bass there were begging to be caught.  My grandfather wore his fishing clothes, which were coincidentally, the same clothes he always wore, consisting of tan pants, a white button down shirt with his badge attached near the left breast pocket and a brown wide-brimmed hat.

We stayed at the small isolated pond for most of the morning.  I spent the time throwing sticks and rocks into the water, after all I knew nothing about fishing as I was a desert dweller vacationing in the Ozarks of Missouri. My grandfather, on the other hand, demonstrated his fishing prowess by catching four large bass.  He was obviously delighted with his accomplishment and while driving back to Noel he told me he had a plan.  The plan mandated that certain aspects of the fishing trip be slightly altered, and a certain degree of lying on my part may be required.

My grandfather said he was going to call a local newspaper reporter he knew and tell him the four fish were caught in Shadow Lake near downtown Noel.  He said an article with a photograph of the fish would be published in the newspaper and upon reading the article tourists would come to Noel, fish and spend money.  The reporter met us at Shadow Lake, my grandfather told his story and an article describing how the fish were caught at Shadow Lake with accompanying photograph appeared in the next issue of the newspaper.

I cut the article and photograph out of the newspaper and placed it in a shoe box where it remained for years until it eventually found its way onto a page in a scrapbook.  Whenever I look through that scrapbook and come upon the article a smile comes to my face as I remember my grandparents, the summer I spent with them in Noel and the fishing trip with my grandfather when he caught the four bass at a pond in Maysville, Arkansas.

Written from a memory about my grandfather, Floyd Fine Sr.

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