F is for Fishing

Obviously, I’m skipping letters in this A-Z challenge. Oops.

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F is for Fishing.

I love fishing trips—spontaneous and planned. The “let’s leave the dirty dishes piled high in the sink and not mow the unsightly lawn for one more day” brand of spontaneity. Because it’s more important right now that we go fishing. It cures boredom and restlessness and bad days. It connects boyfriend and girlfriend and now husband and wife. Because our best talks were in our boat. And outside of it—in the actual lake—because one balmy summer night while coyly dangling my feet in the water, he dared me to jump in.  
I catch fish. This southern girl can bait her own hook and finesse a fish and take the fish off and is not afraid of minnows and worms and slime and stink bait. But I enjoy more than the excitement of a bite. I bask in warmth of sun. I exhilarate in cool refreshment of evening. I am calmed by the cure and quench of water, rocked like a lullaby.  
“F” is for fishing with friends on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons, the guys cleaning and filleting while Lyss and I discussed, with flour on our noses and hands coated in Kentucky Kernal, about what it meant to be the women of these men. And we danced to the sizzle of bass and blue gill. And we all feasted on tomatoes and asparagus casserole and golden fried fish and corn on the cob. And then we left dishes to go on a jeep ride. The stars. The love, the lightning bugs. The not caring about anything. Else. But the fish. And the vibrant memory. And the family you find in friends and lovers. And that fullness of life.  
Dale Hollow Lake. Realfoot. Okeechobee. Fly fishing in Gatlinburg. The Shale Pit. Rivers and lakes I don’t remember names of. The farm ponds. The fun drinks and scent of sweet cigar. The old sweatshirts when the wind turns breezy. The freckles sprinkled across my nose and cheeks from sun. Picnic tables and dinner prayers in the dark, bowed thankful faces illuminated by citronella candles. The faces of favorite people.   
And when we feel far away, either from home and friends and family or from one another, we grab the dog and the rod and reels and tackle box, we leave behind the un-mowed lawn and dirty dishes, and we explore new places to go fishing, to demonstrate the perfect cast, to dangle toes in water, to find the peace in water and one another.

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Do you have any favorite fishing memories? What does fishing mean to you?