It’s amazing, the things we recall that happened in our yesteryears. Many thoughts of childhood for me tend to center around food. Having a grandmother that grew up on the coast of North Carolina was a large influence in my life. She could cook country food, and I mean anything from fried chicken to black eyed peas & cornbread, beans, greens and everything in between. I don’t believe I could pen a better meal in one of my novels than my grandmother could produce on her stove.
When it came to seafood, she was adept at preparing shrimp, fish, crabs, oysters, clams, soft-shelled crabs and a multitude of aquatic fare. Her family earned a living off of the sea and we could count on the freshest of seafood along with the pinnacle of preparation.
My dad introduced me to good cuts of steak; the ribeye being his favorite and lobster, thankfully, another of his specialties, and you would not believe how much of a difference cutting your own potatoes for french fries makes.
To think, this post originated from the thought of two apple trees I remembered from my childhood. They were no more than fifty feet apart. One was a golden delicious which ripened in late May. It was a tasty way to start off the summer.
The second tree was a red apple; I’m not sure of the species. It would ripen in September and its fruit would rival any apple flesh that ever passed these two lips.
To say the least I had a wonderful childhood in many ways, including dining fare.
Have a great week, May God bless you and keep you, and don’t be afraid to try something different in your diet!
As I sit here working on a new novel, two of the main characters find themselves floundering in a life-and-death, watery situation. The water, having nothing to do with their deadly conundrum, revolved around a fish. Now, the fact that this large disgusting fish was something they were actually attempting to catch set my mind working. You see, I love to fish and have been doing so most of my life. As a kid, and I mean a kid of 14, possibly 15, I found myself standing in the Chickahominy river from April until October.
The river was a short walk of probably three quarters of a mile from my back door til I could get a line wet. This in turn, lent itself to an amazing amount of fodder I could use in writing sessions, especially short stories.
Many smaller backwater tributaries flowed from the main river. I frequented these when I wanted to fish by walking down the middle of one of these canals casting to each side. In this way, I missed nothing due to brush along the bank. The down side came one day after I caught a Pike (Chain Pickerel). I ran this string with a sharpened metal end through the fish’s gills and out its mouth, pushing it through a ring attached to the other end of the stringer.
With the fish secured, I tied it to my belt loop and continued my angling adventure. Several minutes later, I felt a subtle bump on my rear end. I paid no attention until this continued with more repetitions. Turning to see what had the audacity to interfere with my concentrated attempt to procure my quarry; boy, did I see it. The one who dare mess with me while fishing, was the fish I had just caught. I figuratively jumped out of my skin, afraid I was being attacked by something new to this world.
There is one other scenario worth mentioning. I was standing ankle deep in a similar scenario, working my way to deeper water. A small head breaking the surface, flicked a forked tongue at me, waylaying my journey. I fled to the bank, happy I was not chest deep and noticed the serpent followed me to the bank. Upset with this creature interrupting my angling, I found a tree limb; brought it down across his head numerous times until at last my hunting knife removed his slippery head. This in turned allowed me to resume my trip into the river and complete my day of fishing. As you have probably noticed, neither man, beast, or serpent interrupts the time I allot to fishing.
So goes my antics as a young lad. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed sharing.
Take good care of yourself. May God bless you; keep you in his grace and may his countenance shine down upon you! Have a great week!
When I think back to my most fond memories, I would have to say they involve a rod and reel and a young man twenty-eight years my junior, my son Eric.
We would make a yearly (and occasionally bi-annually) sojourn to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, namely the island of Cape Hatteras. Not only would these trips include serious hours of not catching fish, but soon became gourmet outings also.
We would rent a motel for a long weekend. The one we normally chose had a front porch that would enable us to grill. We would stop by the store and purchase enough food for a specific dinner each night. Lunch would be simple, usually hummus, tapenade and chips and we would seek out a local restaurant for breakfast.
Here’s how a typical day would begin: We would sleep until we decided to get up. No alarm clocks allowed. Then it was off to the restaurant for multiple cups of coffee and wonderfully greasy eggs, assorted breakfast meats, hash browns and possibly a pancake or two. Then back to the motel for some serious reconnaissance.
We would walk to the shore and check out the conditions, then return to the motel to suit up and gather together our gear. Once we were armed with chest-waders, sand spikes, fish-finder rigs and numerous other tools of the trade, we staked our claim on the beach.
After our base camp was established (sand chairs, sand spikes and a cooler), we would retrieve our chunks of bunker we used for bait. We then employed pre-tied, homemade fish-finder rigs, affixed them to the line, attached a sinker and threaded the bait to a circle hook.
Once we surveyed the surf and determined where the troughs were in between sandbars, normally a 100-yard cast or so would be sufficient. Now it was time to wait. We would pass the time by watching the calming waves, talking about anything that entered our minds or even reading a book.
Occasionally, the rod would bend double and we knew the chase was on. Depending on the species, it was usually no more than a 20 to 30 minute fight. Sometimes, a youngster would take a nibble and a 45 second fight would ensue.
At the end of the day, we would take our catch, clean it, bag it in water to prevent freezer burn and then toss it into the freezer.
That night, we would prepare a gourmet dinner, find something good to watch on TV, and eventually go to sleep and ready ourselves for the next day’s hunt.
A weekend was never enough. It had to be a long weekend (Friday to Monday) and occasionally we’d slip in an additional day if possible.
Catching fish is probably my favorite past-time. But that’s not what these trips were about. They were about a father and a son spending true quality time together. A child is a gift from God that is to be treasured, nurtured, corrected when necessary, but most of all loved.
My son is my pride and joy and a wonderful blessing in my life. And oh yeah, it was on one of these trips that he suggested I try my hand at creative writing.
So just remember: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll sit out in a boat and drink beer.