After a week of being missing in action in Mexico, Gabacho returns with his final installment of his “Fishing with Grandpa Joe.” He took advantage of the week off to scribble a ton of notes on his favorite topics: relationships, good books, food, and other semi-criminal activities. Without further adieu, the conclusion of “Fishing with Grandpa.”

IV

Around noon we ate lunch. I still had my line in the water and I had been playing with it all day. I’d pretend I was getting a bite so I could reel it in and cast line into the water again. Grandpa finally told me to leave the line where it was and “stop monkeying with it!” Then, I got a bite. Not one of those fake bites that I had been getting all morning. This time, I really had something. The end of the rod bent down and before the rod and reel went into the water, I grabbed hold and pulled on the line. I did just like Grandpa told me: I pulled back on the line and reeled him in. After a few minutes, I pulled out my fish and he was huge. He wasn’t one of those slimy black bottom feeders with sharp whiskers that Grandpa and Clarence were pulling in. Mine was greenish gold, with a twinge of pink on its tailfins. He was too big for me so Grandpa had to help me. He put him down on the boat seat next to him and took out the hook. The fish lay quietly in the boat, opening his gills trying to breathe. I didn’t even have to brag: everyone knew I had caught the largest fish of the day. Grandpa picked up the fish and said, “Damn carp,” and threw him back into the lake. My moment of glory was over. I didn’t cry but Grandpa could see from the look on my face. When we got back to shore he pulled me aside and said, “Come here, Clunker. I throwed that carp back because them fish is so boney that it aint worth eaten. I can’t even clean the darn thing.” By the time we loaded up the boat, it was too hot to stand in the sun. We headed back to the house, hoping to get a good spot next to the fan.

Over the years, my brother and I rarely spoke about the events at Lake Odessa. But neither of us could forget. Years later when we were at a birthday party the host served “dirt cup cakes,” complete with gummy worms sticking out of the top-soil colored cake. My brother winced a bit and left the cupcake on the table. For my part, I wasn’t too disturbed by the worms, but for some reason I developed a strong aversion to eating Rice Crispies. The milky-white slime that earthworms exude reminded me of the milk in the cereal bowl, and from that point on, I haven’t been able to stomach a bowl of Snap, Crackle and Pop.

Crossposted at B2L2: http://jimmygabacho.com/?p=822

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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