Germans, Bluegills, and Farm Ponds

A mid-west pond in the evening

My leader looks a bit gnarly: 5x tied directly to 3x. The connecting knot does not help the look of the thing. My blue shirt has a large dark spot on the front where the cap of a floatant bottle somehow unscrewed itself and screwed me. I wonder if this now makes my shirt a flotation device. My felt hat has a feather from my first turkey – a feather that once was straight and true but now resembles a cat’s toy.

I have just finished two masses and delivered a homily that I’ve been praying and working over since last Sunday. The summer day has been boiling and the un-air condition churches seem like an oven under all the layers that a priest wears. This is the second week at these new parishes and I have been surrounded by Germans. My people, but returning to country Germans after being in a city surrounded by Irishmen, it’s a bit of a jarring experience. Stoic faces seem to glare back at me as I attempt to put meaningful thoughts into words about the readings and Gospel of the day. The glances leave me wondering if I have presented my Lord well to the Good people of this farmland.

I wandered back to the rectory – a tall red brick building located next to the red brick church, both over a hundred years old. Across the way is a small pond that I looked at last week but did not test, but instead chose to have a drink and smoke with a local priest friend at his rectory.

This week is different. The thirsty fields have gotten their fill of rain today, with a little hail thrown in for good measure. The small storms are past and all that is left is a cooler evening and damp grass. I string up the rod and tie on a fly that I made last Sunday and make my way to the pond. Aside from a couple of patches, it is clear of moss and the insects are stirring on the surface. A turtle pops its head out of the deep brown water only to recoil and flee the moment it sees me.

Two good ol’boys were here earlier with their can of worms and ugly sticks. They didn’t seem to do well and my expectations are low. My first cast is good for not having touched the rod in well over a month… now that I come to think of it, almost two months. This is really the first chance to fish since it got warm; life has been everywhere but anywhere these past months. I am still surprised that no takes were had on the first retrieve and the second is the same. On the third cast I let the fly sit and I see a small black mass that resembles a blue gill come to inspect it as it dangles between two worlds. Then there is a small thhhhmp. The line goes straight then limp. It happened so quickly I had no time to react; a barely perceptible take that somehow reminds me of the people I am here to serve.

~ Fly Fishing Padre
Indiana, USA
Summer 2010

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  • sensitive soul

    Country Germans, city Irishmen, and an indictment on the nature of the people being served by the priest.. an unexpected perspective coming out of Indiana.

    A reminder that priests are … HUMAN. Easy to forget at times.

    From the first paragraph it didn’t sound like a Windknot entry.. different voice, missing the inflections and tones of you. So we meet the padre today.. Hello.

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