I Don’t Like Worms and Snakes

img_0716-1The song actually goes “I don’t like spiders and snakes” but it wasn’t that kind of a weekend. My grandkids stayed with me last fall for 5 days while their parents went to NYC. Nana had to switch gears and make school lunches, drive them to school at 7 in the morning, be on time to pick them up in the afternoon. Then it was time to check their homework, find fun stuff to do until dinner, cook some kid-friendly food, make sure their teeth were brushed, and tucked into bed. We were all ready to face the next day with a smile on our faces!

The first two school days quickly flew by and now the weekend was here and how could I fill their hours without the TV droning on and on, or watch their faces buried in their tablets?

Their little voices woke the dogs, who told me it was time to start our Saturday at 6 am. We quickly ate breakfast and took the dogs on a walk. I was amazed to see how well they controlled my crazy Tasmanian devils. I got this wild idea to take them fishing after seeing a picture of a big mouth bass that a friend’s grandson just caught a few days ago.

We started our adventure with a trip to Walmart, our eyes glazed over, not knowing what to buy. I saw an older bearded guy looking at lures and thought we must need some of those too. I moved towards him and asked him what we should buy, the kids looking at me like I was nuts…asking Santa Clause for help.

He gently guided us towards hooks, bobbers, weights, and LIVE RED WORMS to go with our Disney Princess pink fishing rod and the Spiderman red one. I also picked up a small tackle box to hold our new goodies in. We were ready to go, but needed to know how to put all this stuff together. I laid everything out, except for the box of worms chilling in my fridge (yuck).

I watched YouTube videos of how to tie the line onto one of those shiny red hooks. Carefully I wound the line, slipped the end back through a space, pulled and tightened the line and it worked! Next the weights and bobbers and we were ready to go. I filled the little box with finger nail clippers so I could cut the fish off the line if we caught one, gloves like nurses wear and the mysterious box of worms. We were off….fish beware!

15 minutes later we were at our neighborhood pond, the kids anxiously ready to try their luck. One last YouTube to watch…how to put a worm on a hook. Please understand that this was like asking Nana to scale a mountain bare-handed, while riding Old Paint, singing “She’ll be coming round the mountain”. I slipped on my gloves, carefully dug around in the dirt and knocked this huge red worm into the worm box lid. The kids eyes were wide open, my grandson saying “poor Nana.” I had to do this, I was the heroine of their story. I poked and the worm crawled away, I finally had poked three holes and wrapped it around the hook. Number two worm was just as hard for me. But my Nana ratings had gone up 1,000%.

I showed them how to cast their lines into the pond and we quietly waited. They were unbelievably patient. Before long my grandson’s bobber was jerking around, not under the water, but something was on it. He reeled it in with anticipation and I was filled with dread. How would I get the fish off so we could throw it back in the water? A strange creature from the blue lagoon was on the hook, eating the worm. Could it get any worse? Sure it can! A black and yellow striped snake slithered by. I wanted to drop our $75 of supplies into the lake and run away, but I stayed calm (on the outside) to keep the kids from freaking out. They were thrilled by the sight of the snake and the crawdad. I was not.

After what seemed like an eternity, the crawdad jumped off the hook as the kids practiced their casting. We weren’t having fish for dinner, thank God, but we had plenty to talk about during dinner and all evening during mini golf later on.

It was such a hit, that we tried another pond in Boulder the next night where a young dad showed me how to put the juicy worms on (still yuck). We excitedly told the gas station attendant about our adventure when we took a quick break, and he sent the kids off with free Icee’s and a customer wished us well on our fishing expedition. The kids had met many nice people this weekend who shared our enthusiasm for this new sport they were learning. They didn’t understand how Nana knew these people and why they were so nice to us. I explained that when you ask for help, most of the time people are happy to come to your rescue. All you have to do is ask politely, smile and say thank you.

As I watched them looking out onto the water tonight, their little bobbers swaying, I could hear the ducks splashing in the shade of the trees. The sun was shimmering through the leaves in the late afternoon and all was perfect with the world.

There will be many repeats of this day, I am sure, but never will there be one quite like this. Nana had conquered her fears and showed the grandkids the same kind of fun that she had shared with her daddy so many years ago.

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