I remember the feeling of the blue leather seats, the push button radio and the air vents pushing the faint smell of aftershave. The radio played a cassette of Mel Tillis. My grandfather pulled up to a pond at the front of a development.
His tacklebox was in the tailgate of the small pickup truck. He’d hand me a finishing rod and set up his own. The summer mornings were on the crux of haze, the insects just starting to make their way into the air and circling us.
We’d start directly down from the truck. There was a small island in the pond and I remember throwing towards it thousands of times. I remember the sound of the lures hitting water, an amplified drip, the tension of the line and the fight of the small fish we’d find every now and then.
I remember watching him work his way around the pond.
Like any kid, I’d get bored. My mind would wander about the surrounding houses. What were people doing? How were they living? I’d imagine crazy movie scenarios.
And I’d watch him fish.
And I realized today, it wasn’t about the results.
For a man who had seen the Depression, fought in WW2, experienced multiple eras and generations, the point was the quiet. The point was the few hours he’d had with his grandson.
The point was to stand in it. The rhythm of the casts, the sounds of the morning, the birds flying overhead and cars passing in the distance. Patsy Cline in the car on the way home singing about being Crazy For Loving You.
That kid, that me twenty-five years ago, didn’t get it.
I’d kill for a walk around that pond right now. To drive by early one Saturday morning and see his truck parked there, tailgate open, and see him standing by the water, the rod moving in a smooth motion and the sunlight reflecting off the line as it settled in the water.
We’d had no noise, no barrage of news, no cell phone on our hip.
We’d had time. And peace.
And a moment that would only live on in memory, as the best do.