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  • Writer's pictureCrazy Jar Lady

Fish... For Breakfast....

Hunter called this morning, a guy called him wanting to fish at my farm. Thank goodness for great friends, he knew I would say no. In the process of conversation I remembered an "incident" that happened at that pond when I was little.

As a kid, you never understand that your family is on a budget. In fact, I didn't really realize it until many years later. We just did what we did and that was the way it was. Dad tried hard to give me new experiences as a kid. From a road trip to see Mom's family to a camping trip to the farm. Dad was big on cooking over an open fire. To this day, I still have and occasionally use this skill. He was apparently determined we were going to go camping and "eat off the land" for this overnight stay.

We had a canvas army green family size tent that we used for the occasion. I don't remember where it even came from. The old yellow Ford farm truck delivered us to the site on the pond dam. This was only a 1 overnight stay. Dad started a fire and I can't even tell you what they fixed for supper that night. I remember potato salad, it had gotten warm. Dad and I went fishing and caught a few sunfish but we didn't eat those right away. I don't remember sleeping in the tent or anything that I should or even staying up late and listening to the sounds of the farm. I think I was about 10 years old.

What I DO remember is the next morning.... I got up first and started to fix myself a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Dad ripped the cereal and milk out of my hands and put them in the truck, locked the truck and YELLED at me that we were going to eat this fish we caught because it was going to waste. What ensued can only be described as chaos. He was mad, big mad and being a kid, I really didn't understand what was going wrong. (Dad rarely yelled at me, I had to be doing something very wrong for Dad to yell.) I was used to feeding myself each meal everyday. I had been in charge of that for years at this point. I went back to the truck and yanked on the door handle; let me eat breakfast! I had woken up hungry.

The fish had spent the night on the string, still in the cooler, not cleaned and not filleted. The fire needed to be restarted and burn down before anything could be cooked on it. And the cooking utensils from the night before had to be washed before they could be used. It was literally HOURS before the fish was cooked and could be eaten. And there was no tartar sauce. I had never had any kind of fish without tartar sauce, never even seen fish that was basically skinned and badly filleted.

BONES, there were so many bones. I couldn't eat the fish, you couldn't get a forkful without bones. I was overtired, hungry, bawling about having to eat this fish. Truck was still locked with the milk and cereal inside. Somehow, we managed to pack everything up and make it home from that trip. All 3 of us were pretty sullen.

It took a few years before we could joke about having fish for breakfast. As an adult, it came up in conversations about fish or breakfast often before Dad passed away. He never did tell me why he was so insistent about the dadgum fish. Forever more, I am triggered by a bone in whatever fish I eat, I just stop eating. I almost always order it deep fried and rarely a fillet of fish.

And I haven't eaten fish for breakfast since.

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