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Monday, February 6, 2023

Real Life – A fish story


I’ve never given much consideration to fish, or so I thought. After looking over my husband’s photos from a recent angling trip, however, it appears I must correct myself.

Fish figured prominently in my upbringing, just not always in the most positive way. As a consequence of being born into a Catholic family, I am sorry to report that being required to eat fish sticks, Howard Johnson’s frozen fried clams, or the occasional helping of too-fishy halibut on Fridays, did little to endear the species to me. 

On the other hand, in the 1960s, presenting goldfish as birthday party favors enjoyed a brief surge in popularity. This phenomenon likely related to the ubiquitous presence of Woolworth’s Department Stores at that time — the wares of which included small pets of both the finned and feathered varieties! I returned home from one such party with my orange prize swimming merrily in a plastic bag.

Snorkeling in Lake George, NY, we kids were also exposed to fish. We occasionally bumped into sunfish while swimming, and even undertook on occasion some rustic fishing adventures aboard our green metal rowboat. Fashioning rods from sticks tied with kitchen string, we attached a lead sinker above a bent safety pin, onto which we would stick an earthworm. Not surprisingly, these sojourns generally passed the time yet resulted in little success.

We did catch a large mouth bass once. He must have been quite hungry, and not very smart, but this temporary excitement was inadequate to spur pursuit of the sport in earnest.

In 2014, however, Piranha fishing on the Amazon sounded appealing. Involving an early morning departure and tight quarters, my husband passed, so I went alone. The solitary, chronically unsupervised child who attended did not bother me much, but the frenzy of toothy predators we hauled in was unnerving indeed. More a novelty than a delicacy, our catch disappeared as dinner.

The memory, and my own personal fish tale, lives on. (c)

Patti Koltes
Patti Koltes
Real Life © by Patti Koltes. Contact her at pkoltes@gmail.com.