My earliest memories are filled with all the great things that life has to offer: family, food and fishing. Fishing? Yes. Don't look so surprised that I'm a country girl! Some of the best lessons I've ever learned came with a crappie jig. I'm sure at the time my parents didn't even realize they were lessons in life and living. They were just on the look-out for the best crappie in Lake Brownwood. The more hooks they had in the water, the better their odds were! But, believe me when I tell you that lessons were plenty on those trips.
Oh, they weren't all profound lessons. For example, I learned that vending machines don't take pennies. I sat in my dad's sweltering red and white Ford and counted out one hundred pennies. Fifty for me, fifty for my little brother. It must have taken us hours to insert all those pennies into the coke machine. We wanted a grape soda. I'm sure we went back to our parents with tear filled eyes and told our disappointment-filled tale. I can imagine we were so happy when we received four shiny quarters. Our soon-to-be- purple lips were probably in a permanent smile as we went back to that machine!
Some lessons have grown on me. Patience, dedication, and trust. You have to wait for fish. Sitting quietly (and not falling off the dock) are hard tasks for young children. I often find myself, even today, struggling to wait for things. (Note: I blame this on technology. At my age, I'm used to things being instant. Thank you, Internet, drive-thrus and ATMs.) This doesn't mean the lesson didn't 'take'. It just means I'm human.
I also learned to stay committed. You have to leave the line in the water. If you keep reeling and reeling and reeling, how will the fish have a chance to jump on my hook?? Again, still struggling. I know that the best things come with hard work and a healthy dose of patience. While my reward is no longer The World's Best Fried Crappie and fries, I still enjoy things that I've had to work and wait the hardest for.
Oh and then there was trust. Trust. Life's most important (and probably hardest) lesson to learn. I can recall a less than stellar fishing outing. No one had caught anything for hours. Finally, with tempers running thin, we all reeled 'em in one last time. I was horrified the next day when we are all told to 'Get in the truck!'. What?? We were going back? How could this be?? Surely, we'd fished all the fish that were to be fished in that lake! Ugh. So, begrudgingly, I climbed myself in the truck full of resentment and attitude. Guess what? My folks were right. We caught record numbers that day. How does this translate to my adult life? I have to be willing to trust someone else in all the decisions that are to be made. Usually this falls on my husband. Not everything that we do is my first choice. Yet, when I have him and my Brood of Pretties with me, nothing seems quite so bad. I trust in him and his knowledge of what is right for our family. Certainly, South Carolina wouldn't have been my choice, but here we are! And do you know what? Quite to my surprise, there is life beyond Texas and it isn't so bad! (Make no mistake, however, Texas will always be home. But I'm thankful to be a part of this amazing culture for a short while.)
Now that I'm a mom, I'm constantly looking for ways to teach my own Brood of Pretties these lessons. I'm sure I could sit them all down, tallest to smallest, on the couch and just TELL them. It wouldn't be nearly as effective or fun. I guess the old saying is true: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Soon, we will begin exploring all the creeks and tanks here in the Low Country. I'm not sure which prissy little beauty is going to touch a night crawler first. Surely one of them will trust me. . . even the most slimy and scary things can yield beauty and deliciousness.