There's Grass on Grandma's Fish

We didn't post for the past few days because our normal concentration deficit has ballooned like the national one. We had plenty of good ideas, but not nearly enough patience to do them justice. As usual, there were plenty of current events and things to raise our hackles, but when we tried to sting coherent sentences together...bupkis.

We're not sure that we're faring much better today, but we'll try.

Our dearly departed Uncle Pard was our favorite relation. Armed with a laconic wit, his slow, Idaho drawl made stories live. He looked the part of a cowboy - hence, the nickname "Pard" - and was the only human we know who could carry off wearing a bolo tie. The son of high muckety mucks in the Mormon church, he abandoned religion as soon as he left home and spent the rest of his life disavowing his LDS roots by telling anyone who asked, "You can't trust those Gawdamned Mormons."

Pard and my Aunt Doris lived most of their life in Conda, ID, a small company town that existed only to serve a phosphate mine that loomed over it. Conda had a population of about 300 and Pard was always complaining about the traffic and threatening to leave for someplace with "fewer Gawdamned people".

He loved to fish and was able to cast a fly with an uncanny precision. On his fishing trips, you could always count on a full creel and later, a full belly. This was not a man who went out fishing and stopped by the local grocery store to pick up an "emergency" a fish to take home for supper.
Pard and Doris's pace of life matched their small, no-stoplight hometown's. A simple intention to cook some freshly caught trout on the backyard grill became and all day affair.
  • 2:30 pm - Doris yells to Pard, "Pard! Better get that grill going. It'll be time for supper soon." "I'm working on it," he replies after a swig of his beloved Olympia beer.
  • 3:30 pm - Doris yells, "Pard! You got the grill going yet?" Pard replies, "Still working on it."
  • 4:00 pm - "Pard! How's the grill coming," Doris asks. "Gawdamnit," Pard mutters under his breath. "We're out of charcoal starter."
  • 4:15 pm - Pard drinks another Oly. "I reckon I better go get that Gawdamned starter."
  • 4:45 pm - Pard drinks another Oly.
  • 5:00 pm - Pard leaves for the only store in town.
  • 5:15 pm - Pard returns with a 6-pack of Oly, but without the starter. "Gawdamnit," he mutters under his breath.
  • 5:30 pm - Pard opens another Oly, squirts the starter on the fire, and lights it.
  • 5:35 pm - The fire goes out.
  • 5:45 pm - Doris yells, "Pard! Get that Gawdamned fire going." Pard replies calmly, "I'm working on it.
  • 6:00 pm - The fire is finally going and cooking can begin. Pard yells to Doris, "You got those fish cleaned. The fire's ready." "Gawdamnit," Doris replies.
  • 6:30 pm - The fish are finally cleaned and on the grill.
Pard watches the fish slowly cook. They begin to take on that delicious wood smoke aroma and are turning a golden brown on the edges.

He reaches down to flip them and when he does, one of the beautiful fish falls from the grill and lands on the freshly-mown grass.

"Gawdamned it," Pard says as he picks up the fish and gives it a critical look. After a few seconds, he grins and slowly wipes the fish on his worn jeans and removes the last pieces of grass before flipping it back on the grill. He smiles at me and says the wisest thing I ever heard him say.

"Shhh! Don't tell anybody. That one's for your Grandmother."

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Wednesday, January 18, 2006

AddThis Social Bookmark Button