Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: BOAT



For 2019 I'm running a year-long series on my blog in which I share my responses to the writing assignment prompts found in THE BUTTERLY HOURS by Patty Dann. I welcome you to join me, if you like! I've divided the prompts by month, and the plan is to respond to 3 (or so) a week. For some of these I may write poems, for others prose. The important thing is to mine my memory. Who knows where this exploration will lead?
Here are January's prompts: apron, bar, basketball, bed, bicycle, birthday, boat, broom, button, cake, car.

BOAT
Grandaddy Dykes had a boat, but most of my memories are of it covered and parked between the house Granddaddy built with his own hands and the sandy vegetable garden he somehow coaxed to bring forth the juiciest Better Boy tomatoes you've ever put in your mouth. 

Living in Port St. Joe, Florida meant not just Gulf fishing, but also canal fishing. That's what I remember best: not trips out in the boat, but shore fishing. (Surely there were some trips out in the boat! But at this moment I cannot recall.) We girls couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 when he taught us to bait our own hooks with worms. I have always been a tenderhearted animal lover, but I don't remember feeling pangs for the worms, or for the fish. It was what we were there for: to catch fish for Granddaddy to clean and fry up in the deep fryer he kept in the yard. 

My father would probably say this is the “Florida cracker” in me – a strength and practicality inherited from my pioneering ancestors. When you're fishing for your supper, it's easier to overlook any discomfort the worm may experience and simply thank the worm for its service. Which we did! We even kissed those worms sometimes, inviting their earthy dirt scent to mingle with the wild salty air – for me, the aroma of childhood and summer and love and home.

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