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The Slice: The fish are only half the story

There might be people who actually enjoy fishing.

More power to ’em, as Briscoe Darling used to say.

But you have to wonder if, for some anyway, the real attraction is being up and out early in the morning during longest-days season.

There is something about going somewhere at dawn in the summer that seems like a self-fulfilled promise.

Maybe it’s the quiet. When the except-for-birds silence seems palpable, like something you could reach out and grab by the fistful, the scrunchy squeak of an old pickup’s doors heralds a happy embarkation.

Perhaps you are going somewhere with your grandfather. Or maybe you are that grandfather, the one who now knows that the scent and flavor of a perfect morning can linger in your memory forever.

“Do we have everything?”

“I think so.”

“OK then. Let’s go.”

So you’re off. And now wide awake, even the youthful chatterbox knows this isn’t the time for jabber.

Listen to the gears being shifted. Feel the contours of the road. Gaze out the window at the still city and hushed countryside, both revealed in slanting sunlight.

“Do you think we will catch anything?”

“We’ll see.”

It’s a funny thing about a morning spent with someone special. In the moment, it all can seem so mundane, so ordinary.

Only later, sometimes much later, do you realize you had been given a gift.

Some of us will always remember certain conversations. We will later tell stories about heartfelt revelations, corny jokes and matter-of-fact family lore.

But it’s also possible to recall simply being together. You might remember the smile-creases in a tired face or the tang of a particular brand of aftershave or pipe tobacco. Or the warmth of a big, rough consoling hand gentle on your small shoulder.

It’s easy to take summer mornings for granted. There will be a new one tomorrow. And the day after.

But never another quite like today.

“Do we have everything?”

“I think so.”

“OK then. Let’s go.”

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email “Estimates of our teacher’s age ranged from 100 to a million,” said Mike Storms, recalling fourth grade and the nun in charge of his class.

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