Gone Fishin’

It was likely because I am still spending a fair amount of time coughing during the night, but this morning I slept until my 5:30 am alarm, which is unusual.  Even more unusual is that the next time I woke up it was 6:00 am.  Normally this motivates me to kick it into overdrive to catch up, make up the time, but this morning I decided I didn’t care, I would have a leisurely morning and get to work when I was ready.

When I got in the car I was only about fifteen minutes behind schedule, not bad!  Heading west toward the office I noticed that there were a bunch of people fishing in the lake.  Maybe that’s not all that unusual, but it’s the middle of the week and most people are at work or at school.  For reasons I still can’t explain, I turned my car around, drove back to the little turnaround at the top of the lake and got out of my car to take some pictures.

Sunrise Over the Lake

Sunrise over Percy Priest Lake

An overwhelming urge to skip work altogether and stay and watch people fishing came over me while I snapped a few pictures.  In the distance I could see two men fishing with their boys.  How fun would it be to hang out and learn to fish on a beautiful, sunny and warm March day?! 

Fathers and Sons 2

Fathers and Sons Fishing

Guys dressed in waders carrying tackle boxes filled with gear gave me the eye – no doubt wondering why I was there when I clearly wasn’t dressed for fishing.  Each one received a smile and a “Good Morning!” as I took my little stroll.  Most were too surprised to respond, at least that’s what I told myself. 

 Those Aren't Waders

These are not waders . . . 

Reason returned and I got back into my car and headed to work, now much more than fifteen minutes behind schedule.  Lest you think I shorted the company and didn’t give my full day’s work, you should know that I typically arrive at work forty-five to sixty minutes earlier than my scheduled start time.  Dedicated sounds better than workaholic, right?  Because in that case, I’m just dedicated.

All day long the images from the morning kept returning to me.  Heading east this time, I stopped back at the turnaround to see what was happening.  There were even more people fishing in the water this time – and when I say in the water, I mean literally waist deep in the water.  Wondering about the water temperature, I called the Fishing Information Line and Ranger Ben told me it was a balmy fifty-nine degrees.

Afternoon Fishermen

Fishermen in every size, shape, and color!

Apparently there are all kinds of bass in the lake, your striped bass, your large and small mouth bass, your white bass, and your Cherokee bass. There’s also sunfish, catfish, crappie, blue gill, and trout.  The size limit on all the bass is fifteen inches, which is a pretty good sized fish!  No one I saw had anything that big, but with that many people fishing they must be out there!

Fishing has never been my thing, I have no plans to ever go fishing, nor gear with which to fish, which makes me wonder why it looked so appealing today.  Maybe it was the warm spring morning, the bright sunshine, or just a temporary lapse of sanity, but for most of the day, I wished I’d been fishin’ instead of working. 

What about you?  What appeals to you about fishing?

More Snippets

First an update – Silverstein the cat is much better – he’s not quite one hundred percent yet, but he’s so much better.  He and I became best buds, he liked to lie on my chest, making it really hard to type or read or do anything but pet him, which I suspect was all part of his master kitty plan.

  Silverstein 2

Silverstein 3

Random Opponent 9587 beat me by three points in Scrabble, after having nudged me again.  From now on I will stick to playing against the computer – apparently playing random opponents does not bring out the best in me.

“I’m a stone,” he states, matter-of-factly as we’re eating breakfast.  Three pairs of adult eyes look over, wondering what this five-year-old means.  “Why do you say that, honey?” his mother asks gently.  “I have gray pants and a gray sweater – I look like a stone.”  We chuckle with relief, glad he’s just talking about his clothes and not about his feelings or anything.  Funny how kids are so literal at times.

Quietly he sneaks into my room, tells me he’s come for a cuddle.  It’s a rare treat – he’s usually the latest riser so time alone with him seldom happens.  He’s also the one who’s never still, is always playing, always focused, doesn’t spend a lot of time being mushy.  We cuddle for a while and he tells me all the things that are really, really important when you’re almost four.  It’s been hardest for me to get close to this little guy, not for any reason related to him, he’s smart and funny and adorable, I could just eat him up.  No, because he was born a couple of weeks after a terrible tragedy when I was fragile and broken, wondering if I would ever be able to feel anything good again. Getting beyond it took a while but the love I feel for this little guy today is proof that joy does come in the morning.

When it’s time for me to go, he says, “I wish you could stay until Easter.  I was going to share my chocolate bunny with you.  It’s going to be delicious and chocolatey.”  It won’t happen this year, but I trust that he would make good on that offer if I stayed.  Love that he lives in a world where he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that there’s going to be a chocolate bunny for him on Easter. 

A scratchy throat and a headache turns into full blown sick overnight.  8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30 – each time I try to get out of bed, I fall back asleep.  Around noon, I manage to shower and dress, go to an appointment, visit my Dad for a bit and then, spent, need to take a nap.  The human body is an amazing creation – ingenious, creating large quantities of mucus to flush the body of harmful viral substances.  But God?  Could there be a one and done rule?  Like twenty-four hours and then we’re done?  Sure would like to breathe through my nose again.

It’s a big table, but it’s full, ages eighteen months to seventy-nine.  Picnic food, hot dogs, burgers, cooked on the grill, because it’s spring and it’s what needs to happen.  Potato salad, baked beans, all the fixen’s, but the most popular items are sour cream and onion chip dip and Rice Krispie treats.  Multiple generations mesmerized by the youngest as she scoops copious amounts of dip from her plate, occasionally even taking a bite of the chip or other items she’s been using as a scoop.  How can someone so tiny eat so much?

Deciding it would be a brilliant idea to take a scalding hot shower to kill off my virus, I waste no time getting to it.  Dizzy and nauseated, I take a little rest on the bathroom floor after drying off and dressing.  Contemplate the wisdom of driving for eight hours back to Nashville.  Realize and accept I don’t really have any other options and keep going.  Mom’s already worried when I don’t eat breakfast, so I don’t tell her about my little rest period post shower. 

On Easter Sunday, I stop by to say goodbye to my Dad in the Care Center.  We hug, he tells me to be careful driving.  Because it’s what we always say, I tell him I will watch for deer.  Holding the tears back until I get to the car, I cry just a little bit, so thankful that today, this Easter Sunday, when I’ve already received the most precious gift from God, that he also gives me the gift of my Dad being a Dad and telling me to be careful.

Driving, driving, driving.  At some point, my odometer rolls over one-hundred thousand miles.  It should have been commemorated, but instead I’m focused on alternating between turning on my heated seat to ease the sore muscles in my back and turning on the air conditioning as the temperature climbs to seventy-nine degrees. 


Waiting my turn for the Sunoco ladies room, I croak out Happy Easter to the guy wearing the I Love Jesus hat.  It takes him a moment to figure out what I said, but he returns my smile and tells me to be blessed.  Thought it might be creepy to take a picture of his hat, so I opted for the Sunoco sign instead.


Have I lost weight or have I just worn these pants too many days without a washing?  The scale shows a number that I haven’t seen since high school.  Secretly I’m thrilled – not because that number has been a goal for me – it’s a perfect number for an eighteen-year-old, a ridiculous number for a woman my age.  Thrilled because once I finally do feel like eating again, I can eat A LOT before I have to start exercising even the smallest amount of restraint!

  Spring in Nashville

Finally home again, looks like spring happened while I was away.  So excited that I have a space right in front of the building so I don’t have to walk to far when I carry seven trips worth of stuff in.

Good Parking Spot

Will my housemate still come home after her spring break trip if I tell her I’m sick?  Seems better to just let her find out when she gets here . . .


The last week hasn’t been conducive to thinking about any stuff whatsoever, let alone getting coherent sentences on a page.  Instead, life seems to be happening in snippets, some of which I’ve shared below.

Hours in the car, driving, driving, driving, a route I can do in my sleep.  It’s not necessary, but the GPS is on so there is visible proof that I am moving forward, making progress, getting closer to the destination.  The back seat is full of stuff but empty of someone to share my chips with, to make me laugh, to pant on the back of my neck when I dare to inch the thermostat up to a comfortable temperature.  The walks, playing ball, the way Hannah is just so happy all the time, I miss it more than I thought I would.

  Hannah in my Chair

Doesn’t look like she’s missing me . . .

Little girls in pink and white dresses, faces beaming, innocent and confident in their beauty, so much more so than we bigger girls who spend much more time primping, yet never quite feel beautiful.

Tiny seedlings pushing through the dirt, the combination of seed, soil, water, and sun creating a miracle capable of sustaining life. 


Watching Dad and the speech therapist interact, refraining from giving a fist pump of victory when he correctly sorts the hearts in a deck of cards and and is able tell the correct meaning of various idioms.  Surprised by how much I want him to succeed, amused by his sarcasm, the way he uses it to cope with all the things over which he has no control.

Applying mascara, I contemplate which takes more energy, faking fine or being real.  When I look into my own eyes, I see no answer there.  Seems prudent to stick with faking fine.

A co-worker shares that his father is dying of cancer after being in remission for several years.  He smiles and empathizes with me, with all of us whose parents are aging, whose lives keep changing.

My efforts at helping are met with anger and harsh words.  A short list of my infractions is delivered. Do better I must, Yoda’s voice says in my head, an attempt at comic relief to hide the hurt I feel and the bewilderment about how I’ve lost my voice in this relationship. 

Seeking distraction in a game of Scrabble, I accidentally choose random opponent instead of playing against the computer.  Despite a rack full of vowels, I’m in the lead. Apparently too much time goes by before I get back to the game and I get a ‘nudge’ from Random Opponent 9587.  Really, a nudge?  Spurred on by my own immaturity, I vow to win by an obscene margin.  Game on!


Yes, that’s my bingo

While reading about lazy pirates who don’t do anything, he gently rubs my hand.  For the last year he’s talked about my hands a lot, wanting to know if they look the way they do because I’m old.  Yes, I tell him, that’s why they look this way. And I love that he’s perfectly okay with it.

Sharing a room with Silverstein, a much loved but very sick cat.  Sleep eludes me with him by my side, his paws kneading me, his too sharp claws catching on my flannel pajamas.  I know – I know – that cats will purr in distress, but with each purr I convince myself that he is getting better, he’s going to make it.  “Get well,” I whisper, “I am over my limit on the number of sad things I can endure right now, please get well.


Playing outside with the grandkids, pushing them on the swings, helping them load buckets of dirt into dump trucks, burying treasure and marking it with an ‘X.’  Holding their hands while they play the dangerous game of running down the slide.  The two-year-old birthday girl bursting into tears when I say it’s time to go inside.

 Selah on her Birthday

Before the meltdown

Lying awake, listening to the thunder, watching the lightening illuminate the room.  A thunderstorm in March in Michigan? 

No point in crying, it doesn’t help, the stuff that doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. As I think about how much I hate that saying, I notice that my cheeks are wet, tears slipping down without my permission.

Still awake at 2:00 am I quietly sing, Come, Lord Jesus, Come, then stop when I remember how few people I’ve shared the good news with, how much I suck at evangelizing.  It would be selfish of me to hope for Jesus to come now and make everything right when there’s still work to do here on earth.  I switch to singing Amazing Grace and finally sleep comes.