Thursday, July 05, 2007

Kill the mommy

Well, I’ve been surreptitiously reading the blog for awhile now, usually under the guise of the missus (I like that kind of ambiguity). So, tonight I took the plunge, did my homework and figured out how to resubscribe to this here service. Fancy.

We spent a few weeks in Arkansas over June, visiting the in-laws and hanging out with phosphorus folks at a conference. Twas our first great American road trip, with all kinds of firsts. One of the highlights:

Kendall and Clayton caught their first fish, in a pay-by-the-pound catfish pond. Kendall wielded her Barbie pole with great skill, landing a 4 pounder, then, after apprising her success, ran off to the swing set for more exciting action. Clayton pulled in a 2 pounder on the Superman rod he received for his birthday from Hannah and Cam (now named the “Spiderman” rod, as Clayton has eyes for Spiderman only). We left with but four fish, which suited the family fine as few of the in-laws eat ‘em. The kids quickly named them: Daddy Fish; Mommy Fish; Older Sister Fish; Younger Brother Fish.

At home, when I announced it was time to kill the fish, Clayton wailed in protest. This can only go badly I remember thinking. I extrapolated to a much older Dirt family of rabid, anti-hunting vegan children. All because I killed those catfish on that fateful evening in Arkansas, June, 2007.
So, it was with some trepidation that I allowed the kids to join my father-in-law and me in the ritual of impaling the catfish on the quickly fashioned filet board (paint splattered 1x8 with a rusty 10 penny nail protruding from one end). I started with Daddy Fish, since he was by far the biggest and undoubtedly the one for which the kids held least sympathy (if their sentiments toward fish families paralleled their feelings for their own parents). They were fascinated even as I completely butchered the butchering job. In the end, five small filets from the Daddy fish were piled where two should lain. It was the dull knife, honest.

The kids were even more fascinated when I pulled out Daddy Fish's entrails and poked at its sacks of roe. “I guess this one was a mommy, not a daddy” I pointed out. Were the children's eyes wide with amazement or were they wide with disgust that we had killed a beloved mother and certainty that they would only eat at the Moosewood from now on? With that inadvertent blunder, I decided to make the adventure a little more participatory.

“Which one do we kill next kids?”

“Kill the mommy” blurted Kendall.

“Yeah, kill mommy” cried Clayton with all the enthusiasm of a young carnivore reaping the rewards of his first fish.

And kill the mommy I did.

Ain’t that sweet?


Kelly said...

NO! I don't think that's sweet...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the story Mr. Pete. My kids were disappointed that we did not kill the one fish we caught last week at Decker's pond (a 6 or seven inch bass). Alas, there were no 4lb mama fish in our haul.

Mr. Bill

Safari Jim said...

Great story Double D! That elicited some much needed laughter. I'm starting to wonder whether you Cornell boys were required to take creative story telling/writing as graduate students, since you can spin some really good tales. I think you guys need to think about writing a book. :)

Grousers' Jim Tantillo said...

awesome fishing Dr. Dirt, and kudos to the little dirty ones. Condolences to the missus doctor dirt.

Louie Sap said...

Kendall caught a whopper! Gotta get me one of them Barbie poles.