Gone fishing with Lucy Smoot Hall

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Guest columnist Jamie Baker Nantz:

I just flipped the calendar over and bam, it hit me that it is July already!
I’m not sure what happened to May and June but they are in the history books now.
This has been a weird year in terms of weather. First, we had the winter that wouldn’t end and then spring sprang and kept going and now it’s officially summer.
As a kid, summer was always my favorite time of year, outside of birthdays and Christmas, because it was lazy. You didn’t have to get up early for school or go to bed early for school and there was always something to do with your cousins or friends.
One of my favorite summer activities was and still is to spend an early morning or late afternoon sitting on a pond bank with a fishing pole in my hand.
I’m not still very often. My friends tell me I have trouble slowing down long enough to sit still, but fishing brings a sense of peace and calm to me. I don’t mind baiting my own hook and I’ve even got OK with taking the hook from the fish’s mouth. It’s not that I’m afraid the fish will “bite” me but I got finned one day and still remember the sting.
My Aunt Lucy, who will turn 102 years old on July 30 used to take me fishing all the time as a kid. We’d go to the “game farm” also known as Salatto Wildlife Area in Frankfort and fish for hours.
Last year, she called me up and said, “Jamie, I’m going to die and I’d like to go fishing again. Are you going to take me?”
Well, with a declaration like that there was no doubt I was taking her, so I took off early one summer afternoon and took her and my mom to a friend’s pond in Williamstown.
We were able to drive right down to the lake and they had a dock with chairs on it that was perfect for the two of them.
No sooner than Aunt Lucy threw out her line, than she started landing bass. My mom hooked a catfish and I snagged a couple of good-sized blue gill.
The two of them had so much fun that they begged me to take them fishing again a couple days later so we went to another friend’s pond to try our luck.
This is where the fish tale starts. My mom managed to snag a whooping catfish before I could even get my fishing pole out of the truck.
She’s hollering for help, I’m running and hollering back for her to wait until I could get to her to help her land the monster.
I’m not sure where I get my lack of patience from, but mom, couldn’t wait and began jerking on her line and poof, the catfish was gone just like he appeared.
We fished for a while and weren’t getting many bites so I moved around the pond to try my luck in a new spot. That’s when mom landed another, or maybe the same catfish, but he was a whopper.
Again, she couldn’t wait for me to come huffing and puffing around the pond, not to mention I fell in a hole, to assist and this one got away again.
We still managed to catch enough in our two trips to have a delicious fish fry the next night.
Even if we hadn’t caught anything, I would still treasure the memory because I spent it with the two women who’ve had the most influence on my life.
Aunt Lucy called the other day and said, “Jamie, when are you gonna take me fishing because I’m not getting any younger.”
Her big birthday bash starts at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday night, July 26,  at the Owen County Extension Office. We are hoping that family, friends and neighbors will come out for dinner, dancing and to share an Aunt Lucy story or two.
After all, you don’t turn 102 every year.
Then just as soon as there’s an afternoon that is not too hot because if it’s too hot the fish won’t bite, you’ll find me, mom and Aunt Lucy sitting on a pond bank somewhere.

Jamie Baker-Nantz is editor of the Grant County News. She can be reached at 859-824-3343 or by email at jbakernantz@grantky.com