You learned to be careful when you opened up a container of cottage cheese from the refrigerator at the lakes. Chances are it held red worms or nightcrawlers. Since those summers, I've never been good at fishing with anything more sophisticated. Artificial bait just doesn't seem quite authentic to me. Real girls use worms!
I logged so many hours fishing with my grandfather that, lying in the bunk at night, a red and white bobber floated behind my eyelids. The image was burned into my brain. By about the age of eight, I was filleting my own catches and Grandma would fry up fish for supper after dredging them through milk-and-egg then cornmeal. We always kept a slice of Wonder bread nearby in case stray bones became lodged in our throats.
This summer my six-year-old daughter caught the fishing bug and proved to be a capable fisherwoman. She caught this bass from the neighborhood pond and hauled it in herself.
The photo of me was taken the summer after I turned six but, given the size of her catch, my daughter is proving to be a better fisherwoman than I. (At least I was better at losing my teeth!) She still makes me take her fish off the hook, and I'm no where near letting her fillet her own catch, but I'm sure one day she will.
I know her Great Grandpa Wilson would have been so proud of her. I can hear him say, "Mia, that's a dandy!"