By Tom Pinsoonneault
Several years ago, my friend and neighbor Rick Buxton of Orwell and I decided to take the neighborhood kids fishing. It really didn’t seem like such a hair-brained idea or recipe for disaster at the time. The ladies thought it was an excellent idea! They offered us all kinds of encouragement and support and even helped load the cars. Rick and I should have been suspicious.
I did say “cars”? We needed two and very easily could have commandeered another. In all: Rick and his wife, Barb contributed four kids, I had three and our next-door neighbor, Linda, added three plus the usual stray neighborhood kid. The ages of the children ranged from 5 years to eight and they were really excited! The need for earplugs and seatbelts should have been an indicator of things to come. But we got the hero send-off.
The ladies waved good-by and as we slipped out of sight. A scene reminiscent of King Richard and his knights thundering out across the drawbridge under flags and banners with the ladies of the court waving them on towards their mission of mercy. Meanwhile, back on planet Earth and reality the ladies of the neighborhood were most likely laughing and taking bets in terms of how long Rick and I could survive in this children’s crusade!
I remember when, just a week before this adventure and lesson in fishing, I was in Bennington visiting my parents who were living at the senior citizens apartments on South Street. They, having been avid fishermen all of their lives, were shocked to know that I had never really taken their grandchildren fishing! My former classmate, Cheryl Galipeau would tell anyone that time with your grandchildren is “precious”. Hmmm. Not sure if “precious” is the word I’m looking for here. So, upon my return to Orwell I proposed the, previously mentioned, idea to Rick.
The fishing hole, a pond formed by a dam just across Route 22A in Orwell was only one mile from the castle. We were headed for the grassy slope that flows down to the pond. It would be a relief not needing to contend with the usual obstacles offered by fishing the Metawee or Branch or other rivers. More importantly, I am ever thankful that videotaping was in its infancy as the unloading and unraveling of the kids and fishing gear was a sight to behold and a possible candidate for funniest home videos!
Eventually (and who’s watching the clock), Rick and I lined the kids up along the bank of the pond with baited poles in hand and poised to cast! Following the first mass cast-in (an impressive sight) the air filled with fishing lines, sinkers glistening in the sunlight, red and white bobbins and worms filling the sky there seemed to be one massive PLOP! as everything seemed to hit the water at once, even a complete fishing pole and all its accessories!!
We spent most of the ensuing time unraveling fishing lines that must have been magnetized to attract other lines once they hit the water. The ladies never mentioned or reminded Rick and I about the attention span of children at this age of development. They were otherwise distracted! Eventually we collected everyone, reloaded the cars, secured everyone and headed home. Only occasionally do Rick and I reminisce about “the day we took the neighborhood kids fishing”. A remembrance usually triggered while observing a youngster with a fishing pole in hand. I am willing to bet that somewhere in Orwell in someone’s closet there remains an untangled kid’s fishing poll to this day!
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