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A Set Hook: Summer Memories

Grace in the Kitchen – June

    Photo by Grace Parisi

    June marks a very special time of year for me—one of transitions and festivities. I was married in June, had my firstborn in June, celebrated Father’s Day in June, and as a kid, looked forward to the end of the school year and the beginning of summer in June.

    My dad was a high school art teacher and he had a deep love of fishing that I can only guess was the remnant of some genomic imprinting inherited from his Sicilian ancestors. As soon as he taught his last class, in June, he’d break out the tackle box, readying everything for the season. It sparked a curiosity in me that my mom’s jewelry box did not.

    His fishing practice was solitary, mostly, except for the two weeks each summer we’d spend at the beach, fishing and clamming together. To be part of that mysterious, almost sacred pursuit was thrilling. He taught me how to bait a hook with live bait, correctly set the bobber and sinker for bottom fishing, and pick the right lures for the right fish. And after a fruitful day, back at home, he taught me how to clean, gut, and fillet a fish, and how to eat clams on the half shell with little more than a squeeze of lemon.

    Many years have passed, and sadly, some memories have faded. So I keep the last of his beautiful handmade lures hooked into my corkboard above my desk to remind me of him every time I look up. Their barbs, like the memories, can still sting more than 40 years later.

    Wishing a happy Father’s Day to all of the dads and sweet memories to all.