Jack Canfield, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, is a professional speaker who has dedicated his life to enhancing the personal and professional development of others.
Mark Victor Hansen, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, is a professional speaker who has dedicated his life to enhancing the personal and professional development of others.
Ken McKowen is an avid fisherman with more than 40 years of writing experience. His articles on fishing and travel regularly appear in West Coast publications.
Dahlynn McKowen is an avid fisherman with more than 40 years of writing experience. His articles on fishing and travel regularly appear in West Coast publications.
I think my dad wanted a son. Instead, he got three daughters. Seeing as how the son he anticipated was never forthcoming, Dad decided to improvise and I, being his youngest, won the privilege of being nurtured outdoors.
Being turned into a tomboy didnÆt bother me in the least. I loved putting on my plaid, flannel shirt and doing things outside with Dad, especially fishing. Whether we oared across a lake in a rowboat, or hiked down a cliff with nothing more than a hook and some string, I could think of no better way for a dad and his little girl to spend the day.
I would marvel at how patient and focused Dad was when he fished. He would concentrate on his line for hours at a time. If he was any more calm, he would have slipped into a coma. This used to drive me bananas. Being seven years old, I craved more excitement. I imagined a huge fish, bigger than me, gulping down my bait and flapping ferociously in the water until I heroically hauled it into the rowboat. This never happened. Instead, I would spend my time watching Dad as he stared intently at his line. He never blinked, sometimes for the whole day. How could he be so patient?
One day DadÆs patience was put to the test when my fascination shifted from the fish to the bait. While waiting for a nibble on my line, I peeked into the can of worms we had in the rowboat with us. I dug my little fingers into the moist soil and pulled a resisting worm from its burrow. I let him squirm (I decided it was a ôheö) across my hand. It tickled. I took another worm from the can. Then another. Then another. Soon, three or four worm heads popped out of the soil to see what all the commotion was about. I was in love.
I felt as though I had made a can-full of new friends who would keep me company during these long, uneventful fishing trips. Each worm was given a name according to his personality. When you are seven years old worms have personalities. There was something endearing about my mucous-covered companions with no faces. I promised each of them that not one would be put on a hook and fed to the fish.
Then, disaster struck. Dad pulled Hamilton out of the can. I gasped in horror as he attempted to manipulate his poor writhing body onto a hook. There was a terrified look where HamiltonÆs face would have been, if he had a face.
ôDaddy, No! DonÆt put Hamilton on the hook! HeÆs my favorite!ö
Dad raised an eyebrow. ôYou named the worm?ö he asked in disbelief.
Exhaling and shaking his head, Dad pulled out another worm. It was Wigglesworth. He was the skittish one who was particularly worried about being used as bait. I had made a special promise to him and could not possibly allow the poor little guy to be hooked, for I was a woman of my word.
ôThatÆs Wigglesworth! DonÆt hurt him!ö
DadÆs frustration grew as he pulled more worms from the can. First Winthrop, the shy worm. Then Slimey, the friendly worm. And Marvin the show-off. Finally, Dad pulled out Maxwell, Sammy, OÆReilly, Buster and Doug. Dad groaned as I pleaded to not hurt my friends.
ôDonÆt tell me you named all of the worms in this can.ö
With a sheepish nod, our fishing trip was suddenly over.
The next day, Dad drove into town and picked up a bucket of crawfish. When he brought them back to the cottage, I opened the lid and peeked in. I heard a despairing yelp emerge from his throatùI turned around to see him running frantically toward me, with his arms flailing and with a look of terror on his face.
ôNo! You have to quit making friends with the bait!ö
Chicken Soup for the Fisherman's Soul
¬2004. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Fisherman's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Ken McKowen and Dahlynn McKowen. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.