by Glenn Christensen II

A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
Forever flushing round a summer sky.
Castle of Indolence.
-- Washington Irving

"So, Glennie, are you going to get up now?...a bit of a pause."

"Glennie, Grandpa is going to catch all the fish with out better get up."

That was how my grandmother always woke me up. It wasn't mean and yet it held a force of unimaginable authority in its tone.

I lived to be there as a child and as well when I was an adult and I have never forgotten the charm of that wonderful place. No matter where I might be or what my life is like, the giant house in Tillamook, Oregon will never be forgotten.

This particular morning was at the start of the fishing season and this would turn out to be a most memorable one for me.

I had heard her the first time around, but in my sleepy head, the fuzz would not allow me to move. It was 5:30 in the morning. Although I did not move I was excited. Today was the day I would get to fish all day with my grown up fishing license and share the company of a man I respected as well as cherished. I had done a lot of fishing on my own but wondered how it was that he always came home with a big one and all I ever caught, well most of the time, was some poor beggar that was castoff half way home into a bush to rot, or used for crayfish bait to pass the time when fishing was no longer interesting.

I rolled slowly at last to the throw rug that covered the floor and reached for my jeans, and as I did so my pace quickened and excitment tightened my stomach. My shirt was on so fast I buttoned it wrong two times. I do not remember what shoes I wore that day but I remember how wet and cold my feet were by the time we got home. At last I was ready, and came in to the living room, went on through to the kitchen, and sat at the breakfast table with my Grandpa McCoog. He had been up all ready for some time and was drinking his coffee and cleaning his creel.

My grandmother set me up with a bowl of shredded wheat and some orange juice, but my concentration was on the creel he was cleaning, and the thought of getting out that door to start our walk down to the river.

"Better eat Glennie," he said. "Going to get awful hungry down at the river if you don't." I responded as soon as the words left his mouth, and hastily gulped down my food - first the orange juice of course. He was always right. I could remember many times when I had gotten up to go crayfishing and had forgotten to bring matches and a pot so I could eat right there instead of eating at the house first. I was like that - I liked to eat what I caught when I caught it. As I grew up I became lazy however, and always brought them home.

Grandma handed him a bag of sandwiches and finally we were headed out the door. It was early November, or late October.

I remember ice on the lawn and steps. It was still a bit dark but the sky was clear as a bell, and the cows could be heard in all the fields around, as they began their morning mooing.

The smell of winter clung thickly to the black berry briar that filed parts of Grandpa's field, and I felt its icy fingers all the way back to the Tillamook river. They crept also along the small creek that ran through his field to empty into the larger water. I shivered once and we were off...

I could go on and on about the day, but the one thing that made it stand out the most was that I had caught the biggest fish - almost 14 inches, as I recall.

Love you, GrandPa...

Fishing God