A Fisherman's Prayer
God, grant that I may live to fish
until my dying day.
And when it comes to my last cast,
I then most humbly pray,
When in the Lord's safe landing net
I'm peacefully asleep,
as big enough to keep.
If I was into sports at all, I would probably be into fishing, and I would come by it naturally. My father, Herman Kraen, was a fisherman. He only fished creeks in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, and didn't get to do that very often, but every 4th of July weekend when he was alive, he would allow the family to come along on his pilgrimage. We would arrive at the cabin at Lucasta Camp (up Highway 16w from Buffalo) and later The Pines (further up) where he would leave the unpacking to us, and scurry off to his favorite fishing spot on the creek with his fishing pole and creel and find his peace. He would fish for hours and hours, and only reluctantly make his way back to the cabin for supper or when it was getting too dark to see.
Herm didn't care if his catch was big or little. Each was a fish, and he was accepting of every one he caught. It was against every fiber of his being to throw one back, so he kept them all. Many a time I remembered Friday nights at home when dinner was a platter full of little 6-inch trout that were mostly bones with two or three mouthfuls of edible fish. Once in awhile he's snag a big one, but that was the exception to the rule, and I grew up thinking trout only came in two sizes, small and smaller.
My Dad died in 1979, and his love of fishing lay dorment for almost thirty years. Then one day, his granddaughter, Emily, caught the bug (or the worm) and the Kraen tradition of fishing continued. Now Emily's boys, Taidje and Orion, love to fish too, though they tend to throw those 6-inchers back to grow a while longer. They are still learning the fine art of gutting a fish, which their 9-year-old cousin, McKenzie (a girl!!) had to show them in detail while we were in the Big Horns recently for a family reunion.
Emily first took Taidje fishing when he was three or four, and at that time they consistently threw them back because Emily didn't know how to clean them either. Taidje was very agitated one day when they couldn't throw one back as the hook had caught on one of the fish' vital organs. Taidje exclaimed, "Look, Mom. His gordian came out!" That particular fish and several more like it ended up fertilizing the lilac bush.
My Dad would be proud of his granddaughter and great-grandsons, who have inherited his love of fishing (though not his fondness for eating them). He would be happy that they too have found the quiet and peace and the "restoration of the soul" that fishing can bring.