One of the things that I love to do is fish. I used to love to go fishing more so with my grandaddy rather than my grandma as a little girl because I got to get in the boat – yet, I enjoyed those moments with my grandma just the same. But it was nothing more exciting and daring than being surrounded by a body of water in this tiny boat with a life jacket on. It was something about being up close and personal — taking a risk, yet knowing neither of us could swim [face palm]. At the lake, (or sometimes parked on the side of the road if my grandma spotted a fishing hole), they would use different type of bait on their hook. My grandaddy would mainly use minnows or special types of fishing lures, depending on what type of fish he wanted to catch. My grandma would mostly use minnows too, or use fresh worms that we had dug up from behind the house before we got to the fishing bank — or even liver-cheese on her hook. Either way, we both would catch fish! Some of the fish would be kept to bring home. And others (although still good fish) got thrown back in the water!
Along with those super tiny bream a.k.a. brims that got tossed back in the lake was the garfish. If you’ve never seen a gar, it’s a long-nosed/mouth creature with sharp, unsightly-looking and intimidating teeth. I have never been able to remove any fish from my own hook, but this is one fish that I DEFINITELY wouldn’t even attempt to release from the fishing line. It looked JUST that mean and vicious to me! And if you’ve ever tasted any of this fish after it has been cleaned and fried, it has a chewy, “mature” taste. Sometimes my grandparents would throw the garfish back because they just didn’t feel like fooling with this “challenging” beast of a fish. And I was always tickled at my grandma because she often used some “choice words” when trying to get this seemingly headstrong, stubborn and willful fish from her fishing line! After finally getting it off the hook, she would simply throw it back in. However, it didn’t stop them from fishing. And they continued to see what else they could catch and simply “kept it moving.”
In thinking about this garfish and the adjectives used to describe it with a quick google search, I thought about how I allowed, based on what my grandma ‘nem said about this fish to shape my young mind back then. In my head, the gar was mean. It was tough-skinned. It was feisty. It appeared hard to control! And who in their right mind wanted to put up with a “rough-around-the-edges” gar? Until this day, I have never experienced unhooking this fish, nor can I accurately describe what they felt in their hands as it tossed and flopped. I was merely a spectator being influenced by someone else’s words and what I had heard about this species of fish. And quite honestly, my perception of the gar will probably remain the same until I personally experience attempting to remove one from a fishing line myself.
SO…why am I even writing about this anyway when fishing season is clearly over, you may ask? Well, what I am JUST now learning after all of these years is this: Sometimes my grandparents weren’t really interested in truly catching any fish — at least not that one. Although that gar was still good fish, they just didn’t want it! The pure enjoyment alone for them was seeing whether the fish were still biting when they went fishing. Being entertained at the idea of “fish biting” that day was good enough for them! I am just now getting that all fish, although perfectly great fish, ain’t intended to be caught. For them, sometimes it was just for sport. It was for entertainment purposes only. And you know what? That’s okay!
Well, if you’ve gotten this far into this post, you’re probably rolling your eyes in exasperation and asking what’s with all the simile talk already?! Great! I’m glad that you stuck around! My point is this: However you are perceived by someone will remain true for them until they are afforded the opportunity to experience something uniquely differently with you on a personal level. I only experienced the taste of this mature fish after it was skinned, cleaned, and served up with some french fries as a child. Yet, my perception of this unruly, untamed creature is still etched in my mind based on what my grandma ‘nem said about this fish. In terms of interpersonal relationships with others, sometimes you will run across people who are just like my grandma and granddaddy. You will stumble up on the kind of folk who are simply entertained with the idea of “fishing!” It’s their pastime; it’s their sport. It’s strictly entertainment for them. They may bait their hook, but it’s only to see if the fish will be biting that day. The seemingly unruly, intimidating, and rough-around-the-edges gar is still fascinating; however, it isn’t as appreciated as other fish in the lake. It requires more effort to get off the hook because it fights you and might bite you if you’re not careful. It demands a certain level of respect if you plan to unhook it and take it home. It automatically comes with a warning that says “handle with care.” Although the outer skin of the garfish is intriguing and peculiar-looking, it almost seems like it can’t be trusted, so it gets tossed back in. Why? Because grandma ‘nem said to watch the gar. But hey, what does the garfish care? All it knows is that it got to live another day and ain’t trying to convince nobody of nothing!
Nope, I wasn’t attempting to appear “deep” or even parallel this blog post to some biblical lesson. But I will just close out and say, “He that hath ears, let him hear.” (wink)
Until next time, I am reminded that I am simply Godzgurl, Made in His image, and Living Life His way.