In the summer we walked up the oyster shell road over the levee and down to the river bank. We had a bucket and cane poles. The reels were old big wooden twine spools and the line was heavy gauge and dark green, not really fishing line at all. There were red and white plastic bobbers, and hooks, and tear drop shaped lead sinkers at the end of the line.
The sky was gray and the wind was blowing comfortably warm on the skin and through my moms hair. The leaves on the Chinese Tallow trees were whispering.
We walked to the ancient, dodgy pier and clambored on. I ran to the end and laid on my stomach to look over the edge into the water. My mom followed me and quietly sat down the bucket and baited her hook. "Are you going to fish Walter?"
"No. I want to swim."
"You can't swim. You don't know how."
"I'm sure if I just jumped in I would swim. Michael says that's how he learned, his brother just threw him into a lake and he swam."
"Well this is no lake."
I looked over at her. She was wearing red canvas shoes with white laces and tan soles. She was wearing red and white pedal pushers that matched her shoes and a blue peasant blouse with lace trim on the sleeves and the collar. Her hair was brown and shoulder length. I thought she was beautiful. She looked down and smiled at me. I smiled back and looked back into the river, trying to see fish through the putty colored water.
I was five.
I don't remember catching a fish. But I remember walking home with one thrashing around in a bucket.
She made me hold her hand when we crossed the street.