the pond
the pond was on some land of my great-uncle jim allyn's - out north of the cleveland church in rock county nebraska.

it was actually two ponds, and on the side of the upper one, a few distant relatives put together a cabin early in the 1900s. there was an outhouse too! and a pier, rickety by the time i arrived.

so it was a good place to fish, listen to the "ky-oates," and practice parallel parking the caddy next to haystacks.

the cabin on the pond was the aluminum sided concrete floored lap of luxury. the beds were thin mattresses on top of a metal frame of springs, set on top of four five gallon buckets. there were three of those. there wasn't really any lights - by the time you needed light, it was time to stroll naked to the pond, jump in, rinse up, dry off and climb into bed. and listen to granpa remove his teeth in the utter darkness. there were always a lot more crickets than people in that building. and lawnmowers and sythes and a table and folding chairs.

the fish in the pond included bluegill (a pan fish) and bass. catching them was all about eating them. early morning fishing was the order of the day - my stout grandmother would rise at something like 5.30 or 6 and bread and fry up some fish we'd eat with carrot sticks from the cooler and then we'd slide into the water with an old green oared boat. quietly we'd park somewhere and try to cast out our nightcrawlers (large wormed) hooks between the seaweed. most of the time seaweed was all you'd catch but once in a while you could get a nice three to five pound bass.

then you bring them back in, scale them, cut off their heads, clean out their cuts, and give them over to granma for breakfast the next day. lunch was usually cheese weiners (my favourite) or fried hamburgers, and more carrot sticks. maybe some cottage cheese. or green beans.

i think grandma would read reader's digest while we fished. or she would manage her bond portfolio using her satellite phone. just kidding.

i first went the cabin at the age of seven, and boy if that wasn't the most excruciating thing - being young and curious and squirmy in that boat for three hours while trying to keep from hooking my ear. any movement faster than gradual clonked the boat and earned a "watch it - you'll scare the fish!" from grandpa.