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the river

10/12/09 The River


Almost every summer evening after 6:00 PM when Dad arrived home from work, we would quickly eat supper. Sometimes it would be pancakes and sometimes it would be fish, mostly Northern Pike. It's the Pike that we quickly at supper for -- because that's where we'd go next: the Missouri River to fish.

We piled into the car, Dad, Mom, Bill, and me with all the fishing tackle and poles.

Dad would drive to a new place, or we'd go to a usual place.  Anywhere we set up, the story would be the same, mostly.

Bill and I would hit the sandy beaches downstream from Mom and Dad, who set up their poles and ours and sat it their chairs sipping coffee waiting for that bite.

Bill and I would build sand castles, mounds of sand surrounded by the rivers we would create.  Sometimes, we'd dig deep holes and capture all the new toads we could find, throwing them in the holes to watch how they would climb over the top of one another to escape.  At the end of the evening, we would pull them all out and let them be free.  Mom made sure of that.

One time, when I actually was watching my own fishing pole, the pole dipped: once, then again. I grabbed the pole and waited for another by the mysterious creature at the other end. Another Pike, no doubt.  When it tugged, I pulled back and began the reeling in of my catch. As it tugged and I reeled, my dad stood by with the net. But when I yanked that last tug and saw what was on the other end, I screamed and dropped the pole. It was a young sturgeon, and they are the creepiest "skeleton" fish I've ever seen.  Ugh!

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