Early on, he told me not to show my money to anyone because someone might try to rob me. He would give me a silver dollar and tell me to put it away. Years later, I still had some of those dollars.

He thought I should know more about “The Law,” so he impressed on me what one should or should not do. He even took me to the courthouse in town so I could see the law in action.

We sat on the front porch after supper almost every night, watching the stars come out, and he told me many stories—legends, ghosts and folklore.

But—one of the best things he taught me was how to fish!

No one would have guessed we were going fishing as we walked down the lane behind the barn.  PaPa wore his usual outfit of blue-grey work pants and suspenders, a blue, long-sleeve shirt, and an old black fedora. I was barefooted and wore a cotton dress (this was in the days before girls discovered blue jeans).

We went through the gate and walked across the green, velvety, closely-cropped pasture area and entered a path into the deep woods. PaPa used his walking cane to push aside briars, weeds, and palmetto fronds. 

After a while, we reached a wide area where only low bushes grew. “This was once an Indian campground,” PaPa said. “I picked up arrowheads here when I was a boy,” 

We found the path again and followed it to a wide place in a creek.  This was our destination.

While I watched, he pulled his big jack-knife from his pocket and cut two slender, strong fishing poles from the nearby bushes. From another pocket he pulled out two corks with fishing lines wrapped around them and hooks embedded in them.  He unrolled them and fastened them to the poles.

From a back pocket, he pulled out an old Prince Albert tobacco can filled with live worms and baited the hooks.

He dropped one hook in the water and handed the pole to me.  I sat there, staring at the cork as it lay there, bobbing in the gentle current.

Sometimes it quivered a little as fish too small to swallow the bait nibbled at it.  At last, the cork jerked, went under and started moving away.  I quickly raised the pole and yanked the line out.

I had caught my first fish!

That was years ago and since then, I have fished countless times, sometimes with more modern rod and reel outfits. But I still think it was more fun to watch a cork bobbing in the water!

Recently, after surgery, I was using a stick to help me get around. Then I found a real cane in the garage.  I grabbed it and started using it. My son saw me and said, “That’s PaPa’s cane!”

It was an honor to use it.

Hazel Davis Megahee has lived all her life in Georgia and now lives in Lilburn with her daughter-in-law and grandchildren. She has been a nurse and a housewife and has written stories and books all her life. Her book “The Madcap Heiress” is available on Kindle.

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