Stickman Readers' Submissions March 11th, 2004

Gone Fishing (In Isaan) Part 2

When I was a teen, sometime in the mid to late sixties/early seventies, I happened upon a song on an album a friend of mine had. It was by Taj Mahal. The song was named "I'm a Going Fishing" or something close to that anyway. It became my instant theme song for getting ready to go fishing, doing the fishing, thinking about fishing, whatever. It was a cool little ditty about fishing. Cracked me up, and still haunts the recesses of my little brain whenever the subject of fishing comes around. Goes something like this…."I'm a going fishin', yes I'm goin' fishin', we're all goin' fishin' too! Bet your life, and your sweet wife, I gonna catch more than you! Many fish bites if ya got good bait, here's a little tip I'd like to relate" and so on. Some old blues type of ditty Taj threw onto an album once. Never forgotten that damned funny song since first hearing it almost 30 some odd years ago. Funny what sticks in your head ain't it? It's my fishing song now. And probably always will be.

I can see myself one day sitting on the bank of a lake, or drifting in a canoe, with a grandchild or two sitting by my side, while we relax and just fish, me imparting words of wisdom into impressionable young minds, all the while humming or singing this goofy old song. "Gramps, what's that song you're always humming?" one grandson will query while watching his bobber bounce lightly in the rippling water. "Nothin' really kiddo. Just an old fishin' song I learned a long time ago. Helps me catch fish if I hum it. Brings me good luck." Then I'll teach him the words to it, and he'll hum and sing it and teach to his own kids, who'll teach it to their kids, and on and on, until one day a kid will be sitting with his old man a thousand years from now and hear him humming this same old, now ancient, fishing song. The same old sun will be shining down on them, the same old song being hummed, a little bit of my blood will flow through their veins, a piece of me will be sitting with them,…just a fishin' and relaxing, and humming along with them.

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I arrived in Thailand that trip in early November. After a couple of days in Bangkok I made my way up to Surin where I planned to stay for a few weeks. Once in the house I asked Sis to show me her new fishing rod. She went to the next room and took down a stubby little blue thing with an open reel and came back and handed it to me. "Eh? What the hell's this?" I say to her. "Fishing rod." she replies. "Hmmmm, awful short ain't it?" I mumble while I inspect the thing. I realize it's collapsible.

I bring it outside the house and sit in my favorite chair on the front porch while inspecting this funky rod. I extend it to it's fullest and check out the action. Actually heavier than I like myself. I notice it's a goddamned Zebco.

It extends to be pretty long, maybe six feet or so, and it doesn't lock tight except through the friction of the thickness of each section as you slide them out. Fits snug enough, though I can see this loosening over a short amount of time with usage. "How much baht?" I ask her while whipping the rod back and forth testing it's flexibility. "270 baht." she tells me. "Humph, well that's cheap enough I'd say." I mumble, mostly to myself.

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"Okay, later this week we'll go buy one for me too, okay?" She smiles and says "Okay. We go when go to village to see Momma!" "Good! Then we can go fishing while everyone else picks rice and catch a big fish for everyone to eat later at night!" I exclaim enthusiastically. She smiles and chuckles. "No, seriously. 100%." I say, "What's so funny?" She laughs again and says "Not joke?" What does she think I'm joking for? What the hell is this about? "No, not joke. I want to go fishing and catch some fish, and if they're big enough we'll bring 'em back and cook and eat them okay?" She looks at me a bit funny, but shakes her head in agreement. I notice this, but have more pressing needs at the moment, so I ignore this for now. I need to get laid! I've been away almost 11 weeks from my new wife and a definite case of blue balls needs fairly urgent attention. Everything else can wait. (Yes folks, sex is more fun than fishing!)

Sis leaves for a while with look sow (daughter) to visit a friend of the family and my wife and I reacquaint ourselves for a while, taking full advantage of every minute alone in the house.

(to be continued)

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