When I was young, my family would often take vacations to Lake Margrethe near Grayling, Michigan, located in the northern area of the lower peninsula. Of course, being at a great fishing lake, we would spend plenty of time fishing on the lake or from the shores. We would often spend the trip with other family members (aunts, uncles, etc.) and close family friends. During one of these trips, Dad, I, and a close family friend Bob James, traveled out in a small motor boat to go fishing. Bob was an older Irishmen from Boston; stereo-typical Bostonian with red hair, pale skin and a strange accent. (“Pauk de ca in de gauraje,” you get the idea.) I was probably around eight or ten years old. We went out with half-dozen poles, Styrofoam container of worms, a few sandwiches for breakfast, and an ice chest full of cold drinks; oh, and of course Dad and Bob had a thermos of coffee.
We traveled ten to fifteen minutes out on the lake; although, for an anxious boy, it seemed closer to an hour. As we dropped anchor and started preparing our rods, Dad discovered there were no worms in the worm container. Apparently, we forgot to restock after the previous day or night’s fishing. Well, shucks; we were kind of stuck after traveling “all this way” to just pull up anchor and head back. Dad started hunting through the things we’d brought, rifling through the fishing gear, yielded nothing of value.
I felt sad. We had talked so much about how great it would be out there fishing. Now, the possibility of missing it, filled me with disappointment. At this point, my Dad brought forth the Leiner-ingenuity; he started looking for other options. Dad grinned. “What do you think?”, Dad said, offering Bob the sandwiches we had packed. They were peanut butter on bread (maybe with jelly). Bob laughed lightly, “What do we got to lose?” I vaguely remember Bob retelling a story of him adapting by using something uncommon for fishing; although I don’t remember what exactly he mentioned. With his classic big smile, wider than his ears, Dad said to me, “We came out her to get away and enjoy nature. Who cares if we catch anything, right?”
Dad took a chunk of peanut butter and bread, balled it up, and smashed it on a hook. He dropped the line in the water, maybe five feet from the boat, and then handed the pole to me. Dad and Bob continued to prepare their poles to fish, but only half purposefully. They were more interested in the chit-chat and coffee. We sat that there watching the bobber in the water, just slowing rocking in the waves. When the fish finally decided to try my peanut butter, it took the hook and, with a sharp tug, pulled the bobber beneath the surface of the water. The sudden excitement filled me. Dad and Bob’s amazement filled the air even more. Apparently, they honestly did not expect the peanut butter sandwich to work.
We had a great time fishing. When we got back to shore, I ran to Mom and Dot (Bob’s wife) and told them all about how I caught the fish. Such a cool idea of using peanut butter. However, I’m not sure they ever really believed those fish stories.