4th of July. Fireworks. Reading. Fishing.

Last night in Gloucester, we took in the traditional fireworks display.  Driving around the loud and crazy festivities at Gloucester Harbor, we found a small, quiet park on the opposite of the harbor.  Space for the boys to run around while we waited for the first bang.   Far enough away that the bangs, swizzles, whistles, and chasers didn’t force the guys to watch with hands over their ears.  We named the fireworks: gold waterfalls, pyrite rocks, spiders, and whistlers. This morning, giving ourselves permission to simply sit and read.  (OK, there is one Leapster whispering beside me…)  Only fidgeting enough to scratch the combined 50 no-see-um bites we have from early evenings outside.  No-see-ums are flying teeth.  Tiny, tiny bugs that you can’t see or feel until they bite.  The choice is go inside or spray on a thick coating of Off at 6 p.m.  I prefer nightly baths to feeding flying teeth.

With threatening clouds overhead, the river is quiet and the tide is in.  After meeting a retired commercial fisherman earlier this week on the beach, Liam was ready to throw in a hook.  Liam didn’t flinch as he watched Ed work the hook through the eyes of an 8-inch herring he was using as bait.  Ed missed a couple good bites while chatting with us, so we didn’t actually see a fish from the river.

The next day, we had a lesson from a very knowledgeable and patient Dick’s Sporting Goods manager on rigging up a fishing pole and what bait to use.  The Malcolms now own four fishing rods.  The boys cast their first lines later that same day.

Apparently, there are 28-inch striped bass – “stripers” – and blue fish in the Annisquam River.  I fear catching a fish, particularly since I can only identify Caribbean reef fish and Iowa bull-heads.  According to Ed, blue fish are swimming teeth – they should be easy to ID.  Ed showed me the needle-nosed pliers he uses to remove hooks from the mouths of blue fish.  Consequently, we bought a multi-purpose tool at Dick’s: needle-nose pliers/line cutters.

On the first visit to the dock, it was soon apparent that nothing would be hauled in: it was a casting, reeling, and untangling session.  I was relieved.  While this practice was going on, a small boat pulled up to the dock and we met the neighbors across the street.  Rich information was gathered during this brief introduction:  the woman who has lived here 50+ years knows how to clean and fillet fish.  So…

On the second visit, Bill and I lugged a big blue bucket with us.  I also took a heavy beach towel to use as a lid, should we catch a big fish.  With a cast on one hand and a pick-line-low-weight-lifting restriction on the other, Bill was not going to be the one to haul it in or take it off the hook.  (Actually even if he had two fully-operating hands, there’s a good chance I would still be the one to fight the fish.)  On the walk to the dock, I checked out the shade tree where I could leave the bucket of fish as I dashed up to the neighbor’s house to plead for help.  All for naught.  Yet again, a practice session with a lot of boat traffic.

Today, with a quiet river and high tide, I’ll take the bucket again.  And hope there is movement across the street at our neighbor’s house.

Fireworks.  Reading.  Fishing.

A quiet 4th of July.

Unless we catch a fish…

(More about Liquid Farming: Fishing & Problem-solving.)