Fathers with sons or daughters, mothers with sons or daughters, husbands and wives...fishing is a family affair! I have to admit when I was asked to take a son with his 85-year-old mother, I was skeptical. It’s tough to fish all day. Bass fishing requires a lot of casting. At 85, man or woman, it could be a long day! I anticipated having to do a lot of extra work, helping her to the back deck, making casts and other extra work. I agreed to book a full day, 8-hour trip.
Miriam was a bit shaky coming aboard, but settled in like a pro. She bundled up and buckled her Mustang auto-inflatable PFD for our first boat ride, a short but brisk flight in my Skeeter. She loved the boat ride, grinning from ear to ear as we idled to our first fishing spot. Her son, Richard, was very attentive, but not overbearing, as we handed her a rod. Mom had a smile on her face when we started casting. With a bit of coaching she made many well placed casts.
Richard encouraged her on every cast, reminding her how to work the bait to be more effective. Cast after cast, she hung in there and started landing several bass! She vocalized her excitement calling to her son, "Ricky, Ricky, I have a fish!" Reaching over the side, I landed her bass, lifting the shiny fish for her to admire. Her face erupted in joy as her son accompanied her to help her hold her catch. We repeated this experience several times, taking a lot of photos to add to their decades of fishing memories.
I really didn't know what to expect. But I did think it was going to be a fishing trip with Richard and mom was just tagging along. But it wasn't like that at all! What impressed me was the solid relationship between mother and son. These were two fishing buddies who told fish stories the entire trip, reflecting on the big ones hooked up over many decades and the young boy who had become a man; a man who still genuinely enjoyed the company of his mother. Time on the water spent with her son as a child has paid off in quality time spent as an adult.
Once in a while Miriam made an errant cast or snagged her bait. She would apologize. I’ve never heard someone apologize before when making a mistake on my boat. We told her it didn’t matter. Everyone makes a few errors when they fish. In fishing we always have “do-overs”! Even though she never took a break, Miriam showed us that it is always time to stop and smell the roses, or watch the osprey, eagles and blue herons grace us with their various demonstrations of flight and grace. Richard showed me there is never a better time than now to spend time on the water with those closest to you. Miriam showed me you're never too old to fish!
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