Sunday, October 13, 2019
Indelible Marks :: Personal Narrative Writing
Indelible Marks There was a small fish house, thick with the paint of a thousand whitewashes, sinking into the soft earth near the lake. The roof sagged a bit after a lifetime of carrying the crystalline blanket of Minnesota winter. Inside was a wooden counter-top, its surface cold and glossy after witnessing the murder of a million fish. Their life and blood was ingrained in the counter-top, preserving forever the memory of each fish. Perch, Bass, Bluegill, even Northern Pike had come to know death in this small room. Their colors could be seen reflecting in the wood of that counter-top. At night, the small light would cause the wet counter-top to shine like scales flashing against the sun. It was a place of beauty, and a place of horror. I was young, perhaps six or seven when my dad taught me to clean our catch in the small fish house. We never knew what we would catch, but we persistently threw in our lines anyway hoping to hook a keeper. I loved fishing. It was the battle with the fish that intrigued me. Each cast reeled in a new experience. I went in blind with only a hope that what I'd catch would be something I wanted. During the fight with a fish, I never knew if it were a prize Northern or a hefty Bullhead. A big Northern meant dinner, but a fat Bullhead just meant another smelly carcass on the beach for the ants and raccoons to take care of. Dad taught us to fish for Northerns. We were camping that trip, just my brothers, Dad and I. Dad got one of those great big green surplus army tents that you could park a motor home inside. He hung a Coleman lantern in the middle, and at night we would talk and play games. Every night Dad would check me for ticks, little black and red bugs that would embed themselves into your skin and drink your blood. Dad said that if you let a tick get under your skin, it will just sit there and eat away at you. We all loved the lake, especially my second oldest brother Garrett. He could fish with the best of them, and would keep everything he caught. For him, nothing was too big or too small to take to the fish house and add another stain to the counter.