The year was 1987 and I was wearing a sweater adorned with the logo of my beloved Florida State Seminoles. My grand parents lived in a small, rural town in Florida that was abutted against the St. Johns River. Now, the Saint Johns River, lest we forget, is one of the only rivers in the world that flows from south to north. Pretty incredible fact despite the fact that it has nothing to do with this story.
When I was just 5 years old, I like Brandon Walker, really loved worms. Not just worms though. I was a cricket fella. My hands were tiny little magnets to the necks and legs of crickets. I would rummage through the tall St. Augustine grass looking for both crickets and grasshoppers. By the time I was done, I had not only major jar full of worms but I could also have up to 60 crickets and grasshoppers in a cool whip container.
I know what youre thinking. "How in the sweet, sweet fuck could he keep that many crickets in one container?" One word. Practice. I loved catching bugs and I was damned good at it.
This time was different from my normal bug getting. Usually, I'd grab those bugs just to have a good ole time alone. For me, getting bugs in a bucket was like doing a 600-hundred piece puzzle for olds. I enjoyed it. It was like solitare but not card related at all.
"Son," my grandfather called out with his deep, manly voice.
"Yes, papa" I would say in my trademarked French accent.
"Grab the pole. It's time."
Tears filling my eyes, I knew what he meant. He meant to grab the pole and that it was time.
But what did that mean?
I had no idea what it meant so I just grabbed the pole and stood there with my hands in a bucket of crickets and a pole between my legs.
"Get in the truck," my grandfather said. He had no idea that just a short 32 years later, my beloved truck would be stolen from my driveway. How could he have possibly known? He was but a simple man who worked at the Cracker Jack Factory like his father and his father before that. That's not saying we believe in reincarnation or nothin. I just mean he, his father, and his grandfather worked at the same Cracker Jack Factory. Wouldnt that be wild though if reincarnation were true and you came back to the same family just as your own dad? Would that mean your mom is your sister and wife? Hard to say. That's a story for another time.
I grabbed the pole and got in his truck. It was 1984 Datsun. Very nice! The interior was a soft brown and the radio wasn't anything special. As far as I can remember, it didn't even have Bluetooth capability. LMAO what a piece of shit.
We drove up the long and winding road with nothing on the radio, probably because my grandfather forgot his iPhone at home or something. As we arrived to the docks, I then realized why he wanted me to grab a fishing pole. It was because we were going fishing. Incredible.
"I'll get the poles, son. You just grab the cricket container and worm jar."
Now weeping, "Papa, I forgot those at home. I'm so sorry, papa" I said in my French accent.
"There there, my child. I have another bucket in the back of the truck. Find some crickets and we'll get started."
Within a matter of moments, my bucket was full of crickets once more. I went running to the dock and said, "PAPA! I HAVE LES CRICKETS" I screamed in my typical french accent as I ran towards the water. He laughed and called me a pussy.
I laughed, though hurt, while feeling between my legs. I was confused at the insult. I still had a wiener. That's an insult that has stuck with me for the years and it's one of the reasons I joined the Marine Corps. I had something to prove to my grandfather. I wasn't a pussy. I was a strong boy with a strong passion for bugs, namely crickets and worms.
Putting the hook into a cricket, I once again wept. I did not like to kill but I did like to eat. The two go hand and hand unless you are a vegan or some pussy shit like that. I wasn't. I do eat vegetarian most days now so maybe my grandfather was right. Something to explore later.
As the cricket lay lifeless on the hook, I tossed the slacked-line into the water. Only the bobber remained above the water's surface. The bobber was as classic as a glass-bottled cocoa-cola. A red and white ball danced on the water while a bass nibbled at the cricket on the hook. After getting a taste, the bass couldn't help herself and swallowed it whole. The bobber darted below the surface and my fishing pole arched like a cat's back. I pulled and reeled with all my might.
"PAPA! Help me," I said with my beautiful French accent.
Chuckling through his sweet tea and vodka stained breath, "it's just a bass, you pussy. Reel it in. You're a man now."
I wasnt a man. I was only 5 years old. I was a 5-year-old French boy with nothing but one bass, one bucket of crickets, two containers of worms to his name, and a heart that stung with grief about being a pussy. I forgot to mention that I had another jar of worms in the deep freezer. I wanted to see if they came back to life. They didnt. Much like my eyes didnt come back alive after my grandfather called me a pussy 3 times on the first fishing trip I ever took.
Anyway, here's Wonderwall.
PS. I caught the fish, grilled it, and got mercury poisoning. Needless to say, I had diarrhea. It was unrelenting.
PSS. this blog is the result of a periscope. thank you.