Word Count 499
MIDNIGHT IN THE YARD
By Nan Ressue
My father’s idea of a vacation had only one option; a fishing trip of course. Two of his three weeks of vacation was spent on fishing trips with his male friends. Mementos of these numerous trips over the years were marked by a bone china teacup presented to see who awaited his return. As the cups accumulated over the years, they were referred to as the Pacification cups. Sometimes, probably when the air was particularly tense, a Spode teapot and some Royal Daulton toby jugs joined the teacup collection and became family treasures.
The family fishing trip consisted of the alpha fisherman, two small daughters and a wife who was a non-swimmer and terrified of water. The first rule laid down by the father was that if you were going to fish, you had to pick your own worms. Preparations required a full day of watering a large backyard with the hose and sprinkler, which the little daughters dutifully moved around the yard during the day so that the ground would be saturated. The earthworms would surface to escape drowning
Worm picking happened at night and required sharp eyes, quick fingers, and a flashlight… Additional equipment included boots, a coffee can half full of coffee grounds and a slime rag. Long, brown red bodies were stretched out nearly full length in the short grass with their tail end still in the ground so they could quickly retract. The process involved bending over, shining the light on the wet grass, spotting your target, pouncing with lightning speed, pulling that sucker out of the ground and plopping him in you can. Mucus accumulations could be wiped on your rag or on the seat of your pants.
We each had our fish pole, a leader, a hook with a sinker, and a bright red float so you could tell where your worm was waiting for “the big one” to swim by.
Probably twenty years went by before I learned you could buy fishing worms for a penny a piece. Little did we know that learning to pluck chickens was on the horizon.