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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #1677882
A young boy tries his hand at fishing and his father learns a lesson.
Number One One Seven


“Dad, wake up dad, we have to go.”  I heard my son calling me from the half opened bedroom door.  Lifting my head from the pillow and looking around, I shook the sleep from my brain. 

“Dad, come on, we have to be there by six for sign-in.”  My seven year old sons voice was louder, more insistent.

“I’m awake, I’m awake.  Give me a minute.”  From the warmth of my bed I looked around the room, the window was still dark.  “What time is it?”  I asked the dark room, it didn’t answer.  As my mind awoke I remembered it was Saturday, the fishing tournament was today.  It was my son’s first day of fishing, ever.  My son told me about the fishing tournament, all of his friends were going and he wanted to try for a prize, the biggest fish prize.  I tried to prepare him for disappointment by explaining that he had never been fishing, he didn’t even own a fishing pole.  But one hundred twenty two dollars later he had everything he needed to enter the free tournament. 

“There’s no time for breakfast dad, we can’t miss sign-in.”  He told me when I walked into the kitchen.  His small hand gave me a cup of coffee as he made his second trip to the car to stow his gear.  When he returned he threw the car keys to me and said, “Come on, we have to go.”  I stumbled out to the car and I admit a small part of me hoped the car wouldn’t start.  After all, it was only 5 am.  He talked non stop as I backed out of the driveway, and made the dark drive to Silver Mountain 20 miles away.

“I woke up at 2 this morning dad, I practiced casting in the driveway, I hit the trash can almost every time.”  His excitement made me happy the car started.  I knew I’d be hearing from the neighbors about his practice session. 

“Now Jason, you have to calm down if you want to do a good job fishing, it takes patience.”  I was trying to give him advice about something I knew nothing about. I didn’t even own a fishing pole.  I was happy this tournament was for kids ten and under. 

“I know dad, but I’ve been reading about how to fish, and I’ve been practicing. I know I’m gonna win first prize.”  The excitement in his voice was contagious; his blue eyes were never more alert.  I thought I’d get involved in his excitement instead of trying to calm him down. 

“Well, you do have some great equipment, you have as good a chance as anyone.”  I saw his smile broaden at my sudden confidence in his ability. 

We arrived at the sign in desk in plenty of time.  Jason’s chest swelled with pride when I pinned his entry number to his shirt, number one one seven.  A few minutes later we heard the bull horn blast, signaling the start of the tournament.  As Jason ran to the rocky stream with his fishing pole and a tackle box full of sure fire fish catchers, I went hunting for a hot cup of coffee.  Talking to some of the other parents I learned that the Recreation Department workers had gone up stream early this morning and loaded the stream with fish, and they should have made their way down stream by now.  I went looking for Jason and found him sitting on a rotting stump, his toes in the cold water; he was casting into a calm area of the flowing stream.  Sitting next to him on the stump I could see the concentration on his face.

“How’s it going, buddy?”  I whispered to him.

“Its going fine dad, you don’t have to whisper, the fish can’t hear us.”  I could see that he was already an old salt at fishing. 

“Catch anything yet?”  I asked, not whispering this time. 

“No, but I’ve had a few good nibbles, they’re out there.”  His excited eyes bored in on the spot that contained the big one. 

“Maybe I’ll leave you to it, I’ll find you later.”

“Okay dad, bye.”  He was engrossed in the business of fishing.  Standing where I could watch him, I realized the one hundred twenty two dollars was money well spent.  I watched my son reel in a flopping fish and put it in his basket.  A while later he caught another one.  I had to chuckle when Jason gave advice to a friend about how to catch fish.  I thought, he has only caught two fish in his life and he’s a fishing expert. I was proud of him.  The bull horn blasted twice, signaling it was weigh in time.  I walked with Jason to the weigh in area with his two silver trout in his basket; they were small, but they were beautiful to Jason and me.  He went alone to the weigh in table; after all, it was his catch.

“Dad, not bad, one pound, six ounces combined.”  His smile told me all I needed to know.  We waited for the announcement.  Jason was calm; I asked if he was okay.

“Yeah, I’m fine dad, why?”  He looked at me like I was crazy, something that has been happening a lot lately.

“I just thought you’d be nervous about winning.” 

“I’d like to win, but I had a really good time, I caught two fish, and Randy didn’t catch any.”  He looked at me like I should understand so I acted like I did.  The announcements were being made.

On the ride home I asked Jason if he was disappointed, he said he had fun and third prize, a fishing hat, was okay with him. 

“Who’s Randy?” I asked.

“Randy likes Samantha, a girl I like. Even if he gets Samantha, I caught more fish then him.”

I smiled like I understood, but then, I think I did. 


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