Fishing & gardening with Grandpa

Fishing with Gramps

Do you fish? A common question among men. Fishing for me isn’t the type of fishing grown men do today though. Fishing for me was a cane pole, digging for worms, blue gill in a five gallon bucket, and cigar smoke wafting along the bank of some pond. Grandpa loved to fish and during the summer months when I’d see his pickup truck pull up in our driveway in the mid afternoon it could only mean one thing “do you want to go fishing?” And of course, I always did. And armed with simple cane poles that once belonged to his dad-for I never remember gramps with a spinning rod-we would pull blue gill after blue gill from the ponds in the area or from one undeveloped channel at the Lake of the Woods. And even more dangerous than a kid armed with a fishing hook at the end of a pole, is a kid sitting on the wheel hub in the back bed of a pick up truck driving through the country on back roads. Grandpa also had a small john boat with a coating of pale green paint on the exterior….occasionally we would haul that to a pond or the lake, but as gramp’s got older, it kept its place leaning against an old fence row. That was my fishing experience growing up. No fishing experience I’ve had later in life ever measured up to that experience so, do I fish? No-it’s just not the same.

my Great Grandpa with his cane poles that later I used

Gardening with Grandpa & Grandma
Truck patch & rock gardens. One of my first memories of Grandma was creating a two or three tiered “rock garden” in the lawn between their home and our mobile home. Grandma was thrifty and ingenious and no doubt saw a fancier rock garden in some magazine and figured she could do justice with one of her home-grown varieties. And so it was created, with rocks from the fields and plants of some sort, I am sure. As for the truck patch-grandpa created a giant garden in the field behind his barn. Add a little horse manure to the lowlands and it became an impressive garden at that. Potatoes, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, and pumpkins-of the enormous variety-and we would help with it all. Surplus produce of course abounded and we would sell it from the back of his truck at the truck stop.


jimgrey said…
Simple fishing is the only kind for me, too. My grandparents lived on a little lake near Dowagiac, Michigan. We'd fish from the pier or from Grandpa's boat. We had cane poles too, but did use simple reel poles most of the time. We dug up the worms from the yard. One Saturday, my brother and I fished 100 blue gill off that pier. Grandma cleaned them all that night, and fried them for breakfast the next morning. That's one of my favorite childhood memories.

I still have those reel poles, but I don't know what became of the cane poles.
hoosier reborn said…
I sure wish I had that cane pole-not sure what happened to it, but I remember it being that carmel-gold color bamboo!
Bill Trussell said…
I just found your blog through one of my email bluegill alerts. Your post brought back so many memories. I can certainly relate to everything you have written about. I was raised up on a small farm in Choctaw County in Mississippi. My Dad and Mom raised 5 boys all on this little 100 area farm. We cultivated 30 areas of bottom land, where we raised corn, and a little cotton. We used the corn to feed the livestock. We raised everything we eat vegetables, meat, and fruit. In other words we lived off the land. We had a 3 area pond down from our house that my brothers and I fished along with our parents. My dad taught all of us boys at an early age to fly fish, and I never forgot how. We spent many a weekend at the pond either swimming or in our little wooden boat on the water fishing. We live in an old wooden framed house which had a huge hallway down the middle. On one side of the house there was the sitting room with a fireplace and it was also used as my parent’s bedroom. Next to that bedroom was a small bedroom and down from this bedroom was the kitchen with a little eating area. Across the big hallway way was two other bedrooms. I can still see all the rooms as if it were yesterday. We used a huge drum at the end of the porch to catch rain water to wash our clothes. We got our drinking water from a well out back and later on we had water in the kitchen. We never had a bathroom in this house, the outhouse was out back. It was years after we moved up the road into a much better house that we had indoor plumbing. I was in the 9th grade when we got our first bathroom. The very next year we got our first telephone. We thought we were really up town then.
As I told you we raised everything we eat, so we had a large garden at the back of the house. With the chicken house next to the garden and a small blacksmith shop next to it. We smoked our own meat in the smoke house out back. The hams and bacon were really good in the winter. My mom was a superb cook and she would make some of the best fried apple pies and apple pies you ever put in mouth. There was a large barn to the left of the house where all the livestock and corn crib house were located. The pig pen was down from the barn. It was all there and we knew no other life. It was a hard life but we really never knew it. We enjoyed living out in the country and never went without. Sure we didn’t have money but I would not have traded that experience for a more privileged life. It taught me values and to always appreciate everything you are given in life. I will never forget that way of life. I went back to the old home place last year and of course nothing is left but the corn house, but I can still all of us still there and living and farming that little farm. Thanks for sharing your post, If you would like to visit and join up with my blog the link is I am going to join your blog because I feel you and I relate and I know I will enjoy your post. By the way one of my favorite movies is Hoosiers. I played basketball all through school, my dad and mom never missed a game.
hoosier reborn said…
Thanks for stopping by my blog. You packed some great imagery into your comments, and it doesn't sound too unlike my mother's experience growing up (their first bathroom was installed in 1962!). I've already visited your blog and look forward to more.

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