Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Cruel Acceptance of a Casual Invitation

I do not know where I first heard this phrase, but it is on my list of top favorite sayings. It seems to capture so many different possibilities and the associated consequences. As we were trying to decide what to do with our Sunday after receiving a phone call from a virtual stranger asking K to make good on an oblique reference to fishing our pond, this phrase echoed through my mind.

I guess we could have said, “no.”

The caller explained that his brother is getting ready to ship out to Iraq within the next couple of weeks, and they were trying to get in as much fishing as possible before then. How do you say no to that? (She says - looking at the six slumbering, snoring dogs scattered across the living room.)

When they arrived, we showed them to the pond, gave them as much advice and pointers as anyone can give about what I regard as unfathomable: the inclinations and proclivities of fish, and went on to try to salvage the day’s projects. The pond is one of the many amazing features of MisFit Farm. It appears to be remarkably well-stocked with something for everyone. We have pulled 15” crappie out of it, bass ranging from hand-sized to 6 pounds, a flathead catfish that was over 40 inches and well beyond 25 pounds, and the best part of all, there is a mess of bluegill, perfect for a day fishing with smaller children, as long as the worms hold out. Kids can spend an entire day dropping in a line, and plucking bluegill out of the pond, squealing with delight at each catch.

Brandon, the soldier, caught the big catfish pictured here. It is a big one - weighed in at over 20 pounds.

I happened to be by the goat barn working on digging a trench for a French drain when I heard a commotion by the pond. I came out from around the corner of the barn just in time to see him dancing around, fishing pole pulled to a bend, line taught and swirling, and Brandon, the man who will leave the verdant Kansas Spring for the sands of Iraq soon, laughing, whooping, and exclaiming to his brother, “Ooooh, it’s a big one. I’m gonna need help here. Help me here. Lord amighty it’s a big one!”

Although I am not inclined to sentimentality, I was reminded today of our shared human-ness: that a grown man who has been trained for battle-testing is as delighted with the simple act of catching a fish and a day with his brother in the sun, as any child who has accepted our casual invitation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The quote is from Flirting with Disaster - I don't know if it was original to that movie, though. It sounds sort of Oscar Wilde-ish.