It was spring and the sun was coming up earlier and earlier. Daylight Savings time came later in the year back then and it seemed as it was light by the time I made my first delivery. I usually awoke about 4:30 am and left to the central garage with my two older brothers to stuff ads into the papers before beginning my route. We opened the garage door, grabbed our Schwinn Stingrays, affixed the delivery bag to our handlebars and drove in a line two blocks to the High Schooler's (Gerard) garage who was in charge of our area.
I went to sleep every night seeing bobbers in my head disappearing below the surface. We came home with stringers of 1 to 2 lb bullheads. We had a 2 x 6 board set up with a large nail poking through. We would slam the bullheads down, one at a time, onto the board so the nail stuck through the head. Then we’d make an incision behind the head and skin the bullheads with a plier. Then we would walk into the kitchen, while our parents were still asleep in the bed (perhaps my father was recently awakened and sitting at the kitchen table reading one of our extra papers), mix a bowl of flour, salt and pepper and in another bowl crack a few eggs. The frying pan with vegetable was heating up and each skinned bullhead would get dipped in egg, flour mixture, and then fried several minutes on all sides till the bullhead meat was white and flaky.
These delicious breakfasts were almost as good as catching the bullheads, despite having to remove the meat from a large skeletal framework. I was strapping my rod and real to my Stingray. The rod ran from the back frame for my banana seat and through my hotrod handlebars at the front of my bike. We looked like three knights on horses with our Jousts protruding outward as we road down a back country road to the small pond near a park reserve.
I fell behind as I became distracted by a muskrat type animal on the side of the road, as I watched him scurrying through the grass. I looked up and noticed my brothers a quarter mile or more ahead of me. I rose to a standing position and began to pump my legs to catch up. No sooner than reaching a standing position, my rod somehow came loose in back falling to hit the pavement. As it bounced up, the front came loose from between the handlebars and the tip somehow became tangled in my front spokes. With a loud snap my fishing rod was sliced in two and the morning fishing trip was over.
I stopped my bike and looked at the disaster before I began to sob uncontrollably. My brothers were disappearing out of sight as I turned my bike back around and walked it home as I held my fishing rod in my hands. I was nine years old.