Growing Up in the Midwest


Fishing with Dad

Look at where Jesus went to pick people. He didn’t go to the colleges… he got guys off the fishing docks. Jeff Foxworthy

As I glance at the pond from the stile I recall the times I caught fish. So many memories of bass, bullheads, bluegills, carp, catfish, sunfish, and spoonbill catfish…I can’t remember fishing without a result.

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My First Bullhead

The Farm Ponds

From the top of the stile of my childhood home, straight north of me is a pasture where my sheep often grazed, where Dad played catch with me and where he hit pop flies before bedtime, and where we screamed with glee as we flew kites. The small pasture about the size of a football field declines to a ravine that was dammed up to form a small pond about a hundred yards to my left that provided a limited amount of water for frogs to croak and spawn or a place to ice skate in the winter. My sister and I tried to ice skate there by stuffing paper into the toes of our parent’s skates still stored in the garage from the years they lived in Denver, Colorado, during the Second World War while Dad was working in a factory for the war effort.

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Most of the year this shallow pond was covered by algae and served as a supreme breeding ground for mosquitos. The dam also served as a drive for vehicles to pass over the ravine that was formed decades before by erosion. Four larger and much prettier ponds beyond my view provided a source of water for our livestock regardless of where they might be on our farm. Dad stocked all of the ponds with catfish, bass, and bluegill—all of which fought a vicious tug-of-war before I drug them ashore.

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