Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Fish Tale

Dear Mom,

I suppose every generation worries that their children's childhood is not as rich as their own. I don't know if it is just a worry that emerges when you become a parent or if it just a symptom of not wanting to give up your own youth and trying to keep things as much the same as you can so you don't feel so old. I hate it, though, that kids aren't able to go out and get lost in the fields like we did, disappearing until the church bells told us it was time to come home. Nowadays you feel like you need to know where they are at all times so you don't have to go issuing Amber Alerts when they aren't home exactly on time. Too much Play is Planned leaving little time for adventure, discovery and imagination.

Last week, the Young Lady grabbed her fishing pole, and after we untangled the knot in the line, she hopped on her bike and pedaled over to the nearest neighborhood lake. She wasn't gone too long when the phone rang. It was the Young Lady calling on her friend's cell phone to inform me that a fish had been caught. (The kids with cell phones thing is a topic for another day, but let's just leave it that if carrying the cell phone allows the child a little opportunity for adventure and discovery then so be it.)

Back to the story...

"You caught a FISH!?!", I cheer into the phone.

"Yeah and we called Boy to come and get it off the hook."

note the hook removal technique

"Wait for me," I shout, "I am bringing the camera."

As I round the corner, camera in tow, I see Boy pedaling furiously on his way to perform the Hook Removal. I could feel the energy. This was an Event worthy of taking the short-cut on your bike. (The Boy rushing to the scene reminded me of the time I stepped on the mouse in Julianne's backyard and the psychic alarm that reverberated through the neighborhood, attracting every neighbor kid to witness the slow and torturous mouse death; compounding my guilt with each new arrival was the inevitable "Who did it?" and fingers pointed in my direction.)

It surprised and cheered me to see a cluster of kids beside the lake, fussing over fishing poles, sharing bait, spying turtles and fish in the water.

I took my photos, started to warn them to be careful and not fall in ..... and then I stopped myself. This was their time to be lost in the fields. No planning and no parents. I quickly and quietly got back in my car and headed for home.

p.s. Yes, those are dangly feather earrings on the Young Lady. They are not lures. Let's just say it was not worth the battle and leave it at that. She loves them.