Oh, how I loved the opening day of fishing.
It meant spring and an early morning wake-up on the last Saturday of April every year.
My sisters, father and I would meet W and his sons in the dark up in Boscawen at their farm.
Poles in hand, our fathers would drive us up to Franklin, to wet a line just as the sun was coming up over the horizon.
We always got skunked. In fact, I never remember ever catching a fish of any size on that day. But we did have fun … and we ate pancakes … lots of hot pancakes and syrup at a little hole in the wall diner.
Our little souls didn’t have as much patience as our fathers did, and after a couple of hours of not even a nibble, and someone getting their feet wet, the dads called it as done, and we were on our way to breakfast.
When we went anywhere with W, it was more about the fun and the food than it was ever about the actual reason for the trip, and fishing was no exception.
W and my father grew up together, their parents bonding in the newlywed days before their kids were born. My grandfather was the local large animal vet, and all he had to do was go across the street to care for the small herd of guernseys owned by W’s parents.
I remember the day that this little, incidental polaroid picture was taken. How warm the sunshine felt on me, in the back of the little cream-colored Toyota pickup truck. The old milkhouse was to our left, where just inside, sat an old-styled refrigerator for the raw milk. Customers would stop to grab the glass-bottled pints that Duffy had bottled the night before.
I remember where this picture was posted for years, after this day. In the old farmhouse kitchen (which was behind us and just out of the picture), posted on the cabinet that was placed behind the door when it opened. I can still smell the smoke from the old fire-stoked oven that Duffy cooked with — and the cigarettes that she used to smoke. I can even hear Henry’s little poodle yip when we entered as if he had never seen us before. “Henry,” Duffy would say as she scooped him up to shush him.
On the back of the tailgate, there was a feeling of contentment. It was about the four kids being kissed by the late April sunshine and having the kind of fun that was felt in the purest of ways.
We were simply brimming with anticipation. Wondering about all that was in store for us and looking to W for the next adventure of the day.
It was pure. And this picture, far from incidental.
To be back on that day, in April of 1985.
For a moment, this week, I was.
Thank you, Adele.