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This Woman Decided To Try Fishing One More Time

Updated on September 12, 2012

Looking Out The Window Gets Old

The day started out a little overcast and mild, for mornings in N.W. Indiana, this time of year. A quick look at the weather update said it would be storming and turn cooler by late afternoon. They suggested that there might be a chance of hail to boot. God knows if that were to happen it would strip those blossoms that are now in full swing, right off the tree. She has been setting in the chair watching out the window for days. Life has been hard and painful and good and blessed in all of her many years on this earth. The odds of seeing another spring come and go are getting slimmer by the hour.

The Doctor said that her frail body needed exercise and good nutrition to keep her going. Her heart is old but still has a soft spot for little boys and old dogs. She doesn't want to eat and she naps in the chair a good bit of the day.The newspaper keeps her up on what is going on in the outside world, but her world has grown to consist of the inside of the house. It was a hard winter this past year and we thought sure she would not recover from the pneumonia that hospitalized her two different times for a total of three weeks.

If you manage to live to be 83 and are still able to balance your check book, I guess it is a special thing. She was a strong, hard working women in her prime. She raised two sons and had three but lost the middle son before he saw the celebration of his first birthday. Her own Mother died when she was 7 so much of her own youth was spent in someone else's home. Trying to survive poverty in the wake of a depression, was what most people in the United States were doing.

She took care of me as a child, some times, when my own parents were busy. So bringing her into my home to care for her for six weeks was not a burden to my way of thinking. It was an honor to know that I could do something meaningful for someone who deserved to have security and kindness in her last days. Going to a nursing facility was out of the question in my own mind. I would keep her until her youngest son could take time off work to come and relocate her to his home in Louisiana. That would be when school was out at the end of May.

Watching the flowers grow gets old too
Watching the flowers grow gets old too

Let's Take Aunt Dorothy Fishing

She had stayed up past midnight the night before. Reminiscing is popular with the older folks. The conversation starts with " Remember when" and jumps from one subject to the other. Tears sometimes well up in eyes that have seen so much of life's reality. Then it gets quiet for a time and a sort of uncomfortable nervousness fills the air. It is knowing that some memories are painful and relived as the conversation wanes. The worst part is that you can not stop it no matter how late it gets. You just set and wait and listen and know that sooner or later they will get worn out and call it a night.

I did not want to be the one to wake her before she stumbled awkwardly out of bed on her own. I told my friend that since it was her idea she could go startle Aunt Dorothy awake. My friend said that I should put on some river music. She said she thought about Bruce so I went straight to Youtube and found the song to wake my Auntie by.

they took the children to a safer distance when I stopped the van for a snapshot
they took the children to a safer distance when I stopped the van for a snapshot

A Good Pair Of Outdoor Shoes

The day before she had gone shopping for a new pair of shoes but that was not going to be the one's that made a fishing trip. Why those new shoes were almost made of gold at the price of $187.00 for a single pair. Sure can not be wearing those nice new shoes out in the river mud. Shoes were a special item that were to be cared for. She was born in a generation that took care of new things and lived a very conservative life. It turned out I had to give her a pair of mine for this fishing trip.

She Was Ready To Go

She said she would take a shower when we got back since she would smell all fishy. She had not been to the Kankakee River in so long she could not remember when it was. She talked while we packed the van with extra oxygen bottles and other things that were not normally taken on our fishing trips. The weather was threatening to turn ugly by 3 or 4 PM so we needed to get a move on.

The drive from our place is about 40 miles to the river.That can be hell on somebody who does not get out but, her mood was excited and jovial and a quick trip through a fast food place was in order to save time and ensure some sort of energy. It would not be the healthiest thing to eat but a part of the fun. A large cup of coffee was a must for that extra burst of strength that it would take to be so adventurous.

We ate as we drove and talked about how we would catch dinner. Aunt Dorothy told stories of her son's being boys on the river. The time it took to get there was over before we knew it. There were no people around and that is always best for me. The first turn into the park and I spotted a couple of geese with their little ones swimming right along side. I was happy that my friend had made the suggestion to take my Aunt Dorothy fishing.

Time has a way of going on and, the next thing you know a lifetime has passed. Much of my family has passed and I find myself thinking about how much longer I will be around to do. Living is a gift in my mind and I cherish the fact that I could take my Aunt out to enjoy one more try with a fishing pole.

My life has been blessed in so many ways but, this fishing trip turned out to be one of the most rewarding blessings I will ever be privileged to share with anyone. I know that God was taking care of us on this day. All I wanted to see was my sweet, tiny, frail Aunt pull one more fish in, out of the water. MY THANK YOU TO GOD, and to my best fishin buddy for saying let's get going before it rains.

The Ducks Were Entertaining (Geese)
The Ducks Were Entertaining (Geese)

The Current Was Too Strong

We found a spot on the river bank and unloaded everything. Now this was a time consuming thing but the smile on her face was worth the extra effort. I rigged up all of the poles and we set them out in a couple of different rigs as we were not sure of what would be biting or if they would bite at all.

The weather was starting to look promising as the sky seemed to lighten and the atmosphere took on that Good Spring Day quality. It was sure nice out but we were having no luck with finding a fish. I threw all kinds of jigs and lures hoping to find one that would attract something but it just was not happening.

The river current was so strong that my Aunt could not keep her pole with a cork off of the bank. She was getting frustrated and saying things like you girls go ahead and fish and don't worry about me. I am just happy to be here. I will set here and act like I am fishing. That was not why we brought her and I did not want to settle for acting. I told my friend that we needed to go someplace else. We started reeling in all of the lines and packing everything back into the van.

Aunt Dorthy said Oh no! She would just set there and we could go. She did not realize that I was not giving up so easy. I told her she had to go too. That was tough on her because getting into the van meant having to put out a considerable amount of energy. She was getting tired. None the less we got her in and I headed back to a bait store I had noticed on the highway. I figured I could ask the locals and find out the most sure fire place to go.

Down to the bait store we went only to discover that the place was all boarded up and out of business. My friend looked at me and said now what? I was already pulling out onto the highway. I knew of a place to go that was another 15 miles down the road. I had fished it a couple of times when I was in high school. I said well now we are going to Willow Slough.

I had heard that the DNR had renovated this State Park a few years ago and I had been wanting to check it out anyway. We had come this far and I was going to give it all I could to find a fish to catch. I was not giving up and the weather was getting nice and sunny too.

Ready To Catch A Fish
Ready To Catch A Fish
She Got The First One
She Got The First One

The Bait Store Was Open

I decided to stop at the bait store and pick up a dozen minnows just for added insurance and I wanted to see if they could give me any pointers. The Storekeeper said we were crazy to try to fight the wind. It was gusting pretty good but I was feeling very lucky. I was feeling pretty damn determined too. We had all kinds of lures and worms and live grubs but I know that minnows attract all kinds of fish.

We would be fishing off the bank and had to stay in one location due to Aunties health restrictions. This was going to work and I had made up my mind. The park was beautiful and not too many people so that was cool. The best place to fish was out on a levy, at least that was my thought when I saw the scene. I knew I should not drive the van onto the levy but it was the only way to get Aunt Dorthy to the fish.

Here Comes The Law

No sooner than we got a few poles set up and Aunt Dorthy perched on the door step of the van, did the DNR Officer come along. He said "did you know we do not allow any vehicles on the levy?" "You are going to have to move the van back to the parking lot." I looked at him sort of pleading as I explained that I only did it so I could get my Aunt out to a good place to fish. I explained that she was on oxygen and could not walk this far. He said "well doesn't she have a wheel chair?" I said "no". He told me I would have to move the van just the same.

I said "would it be okay to dump all of our equipment out and leave everything and then move the van?" I also asked if I could drive back out to pick them up when it was time to go? He said "NO!" Then he added that it would be okay to do that just this one time. Nice guy I thought, and now we were in business.

The Biggest One
The Biggest One
And She Also Caught The Most Fish!
And She Also Caught The Most Fish!

It Was Well Worth The Effort

She wanted to keep all of the large-mouth bass we caught but I was not going to jail for a fish under the size limit. Aunt Dorthy said that she would hide them in her bra if she had worn one. We laughed hard and it was All Good! We did not bring our dinner home and in a way I was thankful as I really was too tired to clean fish. It was a perfect day and one that I will never forget.

We ate our sandwiches that we had packed into the cooler that morning, on our way back to the house. Aunt Dorthy dozed off about half way home. She had to be spent because I was feeling pretty tired myself. The traffic was heavy as we got close to home and the drive was a silent affair.

We ordered dinner out that night and it was a hot shower to wash the smelly fish off before retiring to a nice warm bed. I went to give her a kiss goodnight and I had a couple of questions I wanted to ask her. I said "Aunt Dorthy, did you have a good time today" She replied "you betcha" with a great big grin. Then I asked if she was tired and she laughed and said "you damn right I am".

When I bent over to kiss her good night I looked her right in the eyes for a long, serious gaze. I said "Aunt Dorthy I want you to know that it was an honor to take you fishing today". I meant it with all of my heart. Thank you to God.

Fishing From The Bank

There comes a time when getting in a boat and trying to fish is just not possible. When your body is worn and just going to the bathroom becomes a major chore the thought of getting into a rocky boat is out of the question. There are fish waiting to be caught off the shore and this hub link tells you all about it.


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    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana


      I thank you for the comforting comment, But we were fishing, just going about it from an elderly stance!

    • Bruce Elkin profile image

      Bruce Elkin 

      10 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

      Very heartwarming story about love, caring and fishing without fishing. Love to see pieces like this published here. Very good!

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana


      I think there is something you understand about this fishing story that goes beyond the words in black and white. Thank you for reading and commenting. C.S.Alexis

    • larrybass profile image


      10 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

      Beautiful, just absolutely beautiful C.S.!

      You Rock!


    • funnebone profile image


      10 years ago from Philadelphia Pa

      Great stories..the photos bring it to life..thanks

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana

      I am happy, and lucky to be able to share! Thanx Angela.

    • Angela Harris profile image

      Angela Harris 

      10 years ago from Around the USA

      What a great story and a day I'm sure that is cherished by your aunt. It is heartwarming to know that there are still people that care so deeply about their elderly family members. Your aunt reminds me of my grandmother. She was a spunky woman. I commend you for not giving up. Your stubbornness created a wonderful memory for you, your aunt, fishing buddy, and now many people online as well. Thank you!

    • commentonthis7 profile image


      10 years ago

      this was a beautiful and wonderful story

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      This is a wonderful inspirational story with pictures. Thanks for sharing!

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana

      I have always asked as many questions as possible from all of my older relatives. It is sad to think that this family is down to 3 of 14 and only this one to find out any more answers. I was blessed with a bunch of Aunts and Uncles. Thanks for reading this In The Dog House.

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 

      10 years ago from California

      C.S. Alexis,

      This was such a touching, awesome story. I am glad you took the time to make your aunt's day special, and in turn, you too were uplifted. That is how it is supposed to work, and you have portrayed that so beautifully in this Hub. Make sure while your aunt is still living to ask all the questions you have about family history, to be recorded for future generations... this is information you will never be able to reproduce once it is lost. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana

      Thank you for commenting compu-smart and Sally's Trove. Hook line and sinker was what I had in mind! The DNR man was actually very nice. He could have been a real pain but he had a soft spot I could see, yes, in his eyes. Thanks again.

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      What a beautiful story, CS. There are older people in our lives, and although they may need us, we need them more.

      Bully for you about going head to head with the DNR officer. That's what they are supposed to do, bend the rules for an extraordinary circumstance. I think he might have had a smile in his eye...and maybe he will some day have an aunt who needs to go fishing.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Tony T 

      10 years ago from London UK

      This article (Beautiful story) caught me hook line and sinker!! i loved the story and can relate to many parts of it.

      Good job all round!!

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana

      And life is a beautiful thing with so many beautiful people to share with, Thank you for being one of those futonfraggle!


    • futonfraggle profile image


      10 years ago

      This is a beautiful story and your aunt is a beautiful woman. Thanks for sharing!

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana

      Rob you are a heartwarming soul yourself! Thank you for reading this story. Sending Light,


    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 

      10 years ago from Midwest USA

      One of the most heartwarming stories I've read in a long time. Thanks for sharing a little of your world with us. Blessings!


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