I have such fond memories of my childhood days when Dad would take me fishing on Lake Erie. Mom stayed home because the smell of the fish and the movement of the boat made her sea sick. In fact my sister had that same problem and stayed home for most of our fishing trips. I felt bad that they missed out on the experience and joy of fishing. Since, I was more of a “Tom Boy” the fishing smells or the motion of the boat didn’t seem to bother me.
Oh how beautiful Lake Erie was way back then. I loved to look at the sun dance merrily off the clear blue water. In fact, when we wanted to take a break from fishing, we would jump into the water and go for a swim. My sister and brother loved the swimming part more than fishing though.
I remember going to the bait store with Dad just like it was yesterday. I was Dad’s “little buddy” and loved to go with him anywhere he went. I loved the bait store where we picked up our minnows to catch perch, because, I got to see all those weird looking creatures in the jars on the counter. I also enjoyed hearing the fish stories that were told by the local fishermen.
At the time when I became Dad’s “little buddy” my brother was at the age where he would rather hang out with his friends. So it was usually just Dad and I enjoying that fantastic boat ride to find our favorite fishing spot on Lake Erie. How proud I was to be the one chosen to accompany Dad on his fishing trips.
Dad taught me how to harmonize when I was very young. We used to sing on the boat together over looking the lake while we waited for the fish to nibble on our bait. I still remember the exuberating joy I felt so long ago at the first tug of the fishing line. Dad taught me when to tug back just at the right time. I caught a lot of fish with Dad and was so proud to have something to bring home to Mom come suppertime. Although, there were times when I wanted to keep the fish for pets! Dad understood that and let me keep the catfish for a few days because they always lasted the longest.
I remember how Dad used to let me steer the boat and what he used to say about lining the bow up with an object far off in the distance to get to our destination. Wow! How exciting it was to be far out on the Lake away from everyone and feeling so much in control when steering the boat myself. It was a little scary but nonetheless a very powerful feeling!
Sometimes my Dad would even let me bring a friend along because he knew how important friends were in a young person’s life. My best friend was Charlene. In fact everyone would say there goes Judy and Char, and, they would mockingly repeat our names over and over again. I didn’t care if the whole world new she was my best friend.
Dad even taught me how to bait the hook and later how to fillet and clean the fish. Funny though, as I got older I don’t like handling the bait anymore! I have a husband who does that for me now! Chuckle!
Well, after I got married and moved away Dad had to sell his boat because he didn’t have enough friends who wanted to go fishing with him on a regular basis. My Dad is very much a people person and hates to do things all by himself. I feel sad that I moved away from our home town! Though I try to visit every month, life still would have been better if I would have never left my home town.