Earlier this month, my 95-year-old Grandpa Jim drew his last breath, and in the days following the funeral, I planted the task in my mind to come up with a defining memory I had of the grand ol' man, and I believe it's finally come to me. While catching a bit of Pulp Fiction, of all things...
I'm not sure of my age, but I'll hazard a guess I was somewhere in the 8 to 10 range. In those days, thanks to time spent with both of my grandpas, I had a particular, well, infatuation for all things fishing. My tackle box was absolutely stuffed with every lure I could get me hands on. The entry for the term for fishing in our encyclopedia at home was tattered. I knew far too many details on every piece of fishing gear at our local hardware store. That sort of infatuation. :)
During one of our many trips back to my parents' home range, Grandpa Jim thought feeding my infatuation was the order of the day, and off we went to some local fishing hole for the afternoon. Excited to catch as many fish as I could, I grabbed my aforementioned tacklebox, borrowed one of grandpa's rods out of his garage, and loaded up what little gear one needs for such a trip into the back of his old pipe tobacco scented station wagon.
For whatever reason, that day the fish just weren't being agreeable. A couple hours in, and with many a lure change gone by, not even a nibble. Sensing my growing frustrations, grandpa reeled in my rod, cut off whatever monstrosity I had attached to my line, put on a simple bobber, sinker, and a worm-threaded hook, and handed me back my rod along with an orange soda. And said to me,
'Son, the point of fishing isn't really to catch the fish...'
The rest of the afternoon was spent quietly watching a bobber bob, drinking orange soda, eating bologna sandwiches, with but a few words spoken in between.
I couldn't tell you whether the actual catching of fish got any better that day. But, it was my best day fishing.
'That's when you know you've found somebody really special: you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably share silence.' -- from Mia in Pulp Fiction
RIP Grandpa... I'll miss you!