Fishing is fun while planning it, while doing it, and maybe best of all when remembering it.
My oldest brother passed away yesterday, and while I was sitting with our family and remembering and telling stories about him I realized that nearly all of my favorite memories of my brother come from fishing trips we went on.
Of the many that came to mind, the last trip we went on is the freshest, and as usual my brother made the trip memorable in his own inimitable style. The summer before last we waded down the river to the guinea hole and fished for several hours. We caught an abundance of fish, releasing most of them. We had decided ahead of time to keep enough bluegills to make a meal.
Bill was waist deep when he hooked a large bass. He was fighting the bass hard when he stepped on a slippery rock and went completely under water. Only about six inches of his rod tip was showing. I watched and waited to see if he was going to need assistance standing back up. The rod tip slowly grew into the entire rod, then his hands appeared above the water - still fighting and reeling for all he was worth. Slowly his head emerged, hat still on, and then he stood up. During the entire episode he never stopped fighting that bass - and caught it. I laughed so hard I nearly fell in myself. He just gave me a big grin but didn't say anything.
We went home, cleaned the fish and I fried them up the way our grandmother used to. That was a fantastic meal, filling us with more than just the fish. I sorely miss my brother already, and will be replaying so many memories over the years as I think about him.
If there is a moral to this, and if there is a purpose to life, then I think it is that we should spend as much of our time as possible with our loved ones. Spending that time doing something we love to do is so much better than simply visiting - but visiting is better than not visiting. Fishing is perfect for this. My memories of Bill are filled with wonder and humor, and warmth. I have the memories of an older brother taking the time to go fishing with me, his snot-nosed-brat little brother. Then as time marched on and we both matured the relationship changed to two adults with a shared history, still going fishing, and enjoying each others company even more.
If we hadn't taken so many fishing trips together, what would I have now?