The pond

On Saturday, we woke up early to go fishing. Leaving the house I saw a weird car parked next to the neighbor’s house, a guy got out, went up to the door of their house and dropped something off. A newspaper, I think. There’s an older lady who lives there and I think she gets the newspaper. The only one on our block.

We packed the poles into the trunk of the sedan and headed south to the large area of the military base which is open to the public. We turn off the state highway a few blocks before a lavish Indian casino, the reservation here abuts the military base, and onto a gravel road where we kick up plumes of dust. It’s sunny but cool, the day will reach 95F, but the morning is still in the 60s.

I delivered newspapers when I was a boy. Every day of the year I woke up at 4am, wrapped every newspaper in a rubber band and put each paper into a plastic bag. I then put on my paperboy bag and walked the three miles of my paper route, delivering newspapers to local soldier’s families in the frosty Alaskan darkness.

In two years of delivering newspapers I took one day off. It didn’t matter if there was two feet of snow, I put on my mukluks, an extra pair of socks, and delivered the newspaper. This was 1984, people only got the news a few ways, and newspapers were still a big part of the way that people got news. I don’t know if this daily practice made me the way I am today or the way I am made the daily practice easier but I almost never missed a day. Just one time, when I was sick. My mom had to do the papers for me. She told me she would never do it again.

I used the money from the paper route to play video games mostly. Dragon’s Lair, Joust, and Donkey Kong were the favorites. I’d spend hours after school in the arcade, putting my quarters into those games, playing the stupid pattern of Dragon’s Lair over and over until I beat the game. I don’t even remember the final video that you get when you win. I think I quit playing it after I beat it. Then wake up the next day to walk several miles in the snow (yes, uphill both ways) before school to earn a few dollars to play video games.

Fishing trips are almost always more about the adventure than the fishing. If I caught anything I wouldn’t keep it. The idea is just to put some chairs up, throw a line out, and do nothing. Maybe look at birds or frogs or whatever is around.

On Saturday the adventure part was looking for a lake I had gone to when I was six or seven years old. This is complicated by the fact that I don’t know the name of the lake, I don’t know where it is (other than a general area), and I don’t really know how to get there. I do know that it’s in this particular forest and that it has an old picnic table very close to the water’s edge. And I know that because I stumbled on the lake about 10 years ago when I was looking around in the forest for a place to go dirtboarding. So, I know it’s there, I just need to find it.


I don’t have an answer. It’s not going to be great for fishing. I’d be surprised if there was a single fish in the entire pond. I guess I want to take Avie there because it’s a place where I went when I was a kid and I think I’d like to pretend that there’s some continuity to our lives, that one life leads to another. But I think it’s more for the adventure of the whole thing than anything else.

On Saturday we found a couple of ponds (thanks to the fishing app on my phone!) and threw the poles in for a while. Fiander Lake looked most like the place to catch something, but we didn’t. We did, however, see hundreds of baby frogs. They were all over the roads and gravel around the lakes and whenever we walked somewhere or the car got near a patch of them the ground would suddenly lurch and hundreds of little frogs would start hopping all over the place.

I told Avie that there’s a way to tie frogs up for bass fishing. He said no thanks. I laughed. I wouldn’t have done it, it always seemed cruel to me. Plus, I don’t really care about catching a fish, especially not a bass.

I guess we will try again this weekend. Maybe we’ll find this mythical pond. If we do, I promise to take a picture and put it on here. Then you ALL will know how awesome this stupid little pond is.



  1. Good luck finding it. Any story that starts: “we woke up early to go fishing….” usually ends well!

    1. I have some new ideas for how to find it! I swear I’m going to make this happen.

      Also, there are tons of lakes around here plenty of places to put a pole out and not even try to catch anything.

  2. “It’s ok to fish, ‘cause they don’t have any feelings.”

    I used to wonder if he was really talking about fishing.

    Nice article.

  3. Ahhh…the nostalgia of the paper route! I think we’re around the same age, as I also spent most of the money I made on Dragon’s Lair, the rest on donut holes from Winchell’s. Fortunately for me, I lived in an area where I could at least carry the newspaper bags on the handlebars of my bike. Another great post!

  4. Lovely, gentle read.

    I’ve done all kinds of fishing but not the stress-free kind. On the East coast, I’ve trawled for lobster, and dug for clams (not really fishing, I know) and caught river trout and salmon. On the West Coast, I’ve gone on sailing ships for big fish but never in a relaxed way.

    I envy you, your child, and your own Walden Ponds.

  5. When my kids were younger, they followed me to the nature parks.

    Nowadays they think I am mad going outdoor to get bitten by mosquitos and what not.

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