Andrea here, musing about family and some of the little memories that serve as touchstones from past to present, reminding us of fun moments that created connections and camaraderie.
This past weekend, my older brother and his son chartered a boat to go fishing out at the end of Long Island Sound, where it opens in the the Atlantic Ocean—a father-son experience that they have done over the years since my nephew was a little boy. (He is now all grown up!) The plan was for them to fish all day and then rendezvous with me and my my sister-in-law at my house for a fabulous fish dinner. (Yes, there was a Plan B! But it turned out it wasn’t necessary.) And over the fruits of their labor we began trading fish stories that conjured up wonderful little vignettes of growing up . . .
When I was very little, we lived right on the shoreline of Long Island Sound in Connecticut. The beach was a block away and my older brother and I spent the summers playing in the sand and water. He quickly picked up a love of fishing. (My Dad enjoyed it, too, and patiently taught both of us all the little the tricks of the trade, including baiting a hook, which I confess was not my favorite thing.) And so we often spent time on our sailboat casting for porgies and bluefish. I wasn’t as passionate about it as they were, but I enjoyed it, and of course I wanted to tag along!
My younger brother came along and wasn’t long before our father introduced him to fishing and he picked up a pole. Then we moved closer to New York City and were not quite as close to the Sound. We still fished there, but closer to home were rivers with trout. So my two brothers became skilled in fly fishing, and would often hop on their bikes to go try their luck. (The family dog was more interested than I was in this endeavor!)
I drifted away from regular fishing trips—I tended to like more active pursuits. However when my younger brother moved to Wyoming, my older brother and I planned sibling reunion based on backpacking into the Wind River Mountains, where the trout fishing in the mountain lakes is superb.
They had packed in their fancy fly rods and reels. Sniggering at my lack of prowess in casting a fly, they rigged up a simple hook and worm for my and left me at our camp beside a lake while they went to some special place that was perfect for fly fishing. To this day, I never let them forget that they came back with two measly little 12 inchers, while I hauled in a five pound rainbow trout that measured over 20 inches!
This weekend, however, my older brother earned family bragging rights for East Coast fishing by reeling in a humongous striped bass! (My younger brother has become a really avid fisherman and has caught marlin and tuna off the coast of Mexico.) He was quite happy, to say the least! (And it was catch and release, so the fish was soon returned to the deep.)
As we were sitting around laughing and reminiscing about special moments over Cajun fried porgy fillet cooked up by my nephew, it struck us as interesting that fishing was really not a main interest in our lives, just one of those little things that brought occasional fun. And yet in the scheme of things, it figured into some lovely family bonding moments. So we all raised a glass of wine (or maybe two!) in toast to fish stories!
What about you? Did you and your siblings or entire family share an interest in some activity or hobby that has stayed with you over the years—or has been passed down to the next generation? Please share!