Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Fish Tale

Around these parts, once all of the plastic eggs have been hunted and collected, it's time to mark our calendars for the next annual event: the Trout Rodeo.  Now, for those of you unfamiliar with such a thing, allow me to interrupt your visions of studly cowboys saddled onto leaping fish.  No, you won't find any tight blue jeans at this rodeo ... more like baggy attire on middle-aged fathers.  Before I loose you, I'll set the scene:  Picture a small tranquil pond set on the side of a misty hill surrounded by verdant foliage.  Families with children large and small draped in rain gear encircle the pond where, as advertised, trout abound.  These speckled fish have been purchased and placed here after living the good life on a farm.  (I have been told that the trout were not grown in rows nor raised in an underwater pasture.)  On this day, only the youngest of anglers will try their hand at catching them.  The adults, supposedly, are to assist the children.

We have been lured here, like all the other rodeo participants, by a flyer stating one magical word, "prizes".  At precisely 8 a.m. a horn sounds and the fishing begins!  We excitedly watch our bobbers, one in the likeness of Snoopy, floating a mere ten to fifteen feet from the shore.  Our Barbie and Spiderman rods ready to burst into action.

A bite!  Oh, the fish got off.  Another bobber dips below the surface! Oh, missed again.  The pond ripples with activity.  Prizes begin to be given away as the first three fish have been caught.  We still have a chance for the largest fish prize.  An hour passses with big fish being caught left and right ... just not by us.  A small girl in long pigtails amples by us to the judges table, her arms weighed down by an astounding five trout!

What are we doing wrong?  What do these people know that we don't?  Quick, change the hook, switch the bait, cast in a different direction!  (I must say that these ploys ring familiar to my own trials in the rodeo of publishing.) 

We have become as miserable as the damp, dreary weather.  My oldest son maons, "Boring."  My twin son suggests by his actions that we should take to netting the fish instead.  My daughter has the bright idea of singing to the fish.  One hour and forty minutes have passed.  "This was supposed to be fun," I declare.   Why am I always saying this phrase lately?

Lost in thought and moaning and netting and singing, no one notices that the Snoopy bobber has gone missing beaneath the water.  The Spiderman rod jerks off its stick propped in the mud where we had abandoned it. 


My oldest son grabs the rod.  We hold our collective breath as he reels.  A fight of epic proportions ensues (or something like that).  Finally, the trout makes contact with dry land.  Score one for us!  Ha little girl in pigtails with her five puny fish.  With our luck now changed, a second bobber ducks under the water and a second trout is caught by my twin son.  And, get this, our winning streak continues as immediately following, my twin son's name is announced as the raffle winner!

Shocked and amazed, I think there must be some kind of lesson here.  Some wise declaration that I could pronounce here on this post.  Is it patience? Or possibly perserverance? Hmm.  On the way home I ask my favorite question, "Did you guys have fun?"  Three yes's make the soggy morning of lows and highs all worth while. 

And the raffle prize, you might wonder, is a battery operated fishing game.  Here's the best part:  It doesn't take an hour and forty minutes to catch these plastic fellows!

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