Just like clockwork, Grandpa came barreling into my room at around five in the morning, asking me if I was going to sleep the entire day away. Barely able to see through the “Mr. Sleepy” that was in my eyes, I slowly stumbled toward the bathroom and washed my face and quickly dressed. Breakfast was nearly ready as the last of the fried sausage mush sizzled and popped on the gas stove. A steaming bowl of oatmeal was already waiting for me to smother in brown sugar and milk. I can still see Grandpa sitting across the table from me with oatmeal leaking from the corners of his mouth, as he reached down to stir sugar into his black coffee. It seems strange now to think about it, but I don’t remember Grandma ever sitting down to eat breakfast. However, I can still picture her in my mind, sometime after her morning stories (soaps) came on, she always seemed to have a cup of coffee in one hand, while dipping potato chips in it with her other one.
Grandpa always said that I made too much noise getting into the boat and that if I didn’t stop it, I would scare all of the fish out of the river. I’ve often wondered, if I did scare them out of the river, where in the world would they go? With fishing poles, bait, tackle box and worms safely secured in the bottom of the boat, Grandpa began the task of pushing us out toward the center of the river. He stood on the bow of that boat with a 10-foot pole in his hands, looking as confident as a wise riverboat captain setting sail on the mighty Mississippi River. With a wide-brimmed straw hat on his head and a smoking pipe wedged tightly between his teeth, he guided us across the river toward a still cove surrounded by weed beds. Grandpa said, “The fish will swim into that protected area to get out of the fast water so they can rest and feed a spell.” After we each released the anchor that lay near our feet, the green rowboat that kept us dry and safe from snapping turtles soon settled quietly in the still bayou.