Granddaughter Cherished Homemade Cane Pole

A reader shares the story of her grandfather teaching her to fish and presenting her with a homemade cane pole he made specifically for her.

| September/October 2014

  • An illustration of a grandfather handing a cane pole to his granddaughters in front of his old pickup truck.
    Illustration by Lyn Wellsand

One day in 1947, my Grandpa Hudson showed up at our house in his old truck and asked to take my sister and me fishing. Marilyn was 5 at the time, and I was 6; he wanted to teach us how to fish. So, we piled into Grandpa’s truck and headed to his favorite spot.

Once there, Grandpa sat down between us and showed us how to bait our fishing poles and throw our lines into the water, all the while explaining the process of fishing. He got my cane pole all set up, then went to work on Marilyn’s. In no time, my bobber started to bounce, and then disappeared.

I pulled on the pole with every ounce of my being, and my line, fish and all, went flying over my head. I stood up, jumping and yelling, “I caught a fish, Grandpa!” He took the fish off the hook and put it on a stringer, then placed it in the lake. I started hollering, thinking he was throwing my fish back. I didn’t understand that a fish couldn’t live out of water, but Grandpa explained it while he put a new worm on my hook.

When Marilyn caught her first fish, she was nowhere as excited as I had been.

Grandpa kept us fishing until noon, then we packed up and left. Daddy was home when we got there, so he helped Grandpa clean our catch, then Mama prepared us a supper of fried fish.

After we ate, Grandpa took us girls out to his truck and gave us the cane poles we had used earlier that day. Grandpa was a whittler, and he had made those poles just for us. I was so proud of that pole.

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