Living in the country on a dirt road allows for many adventures in youth, including fun outings on the spur of the moment. Fishing in nearby streams that follow the contour of the valley in Cavendish and Chester Vermont, was one of those summer activities I enjoyed as a kid. The season always started on the second Saturday in April and coasted along until September which made it a perfect summer pastime for school vacation. My father was a great fisherman and came home with a fresh catch for supper often. I wasn’t as good at it but enjoyed catching a few good sized brook trout. I spent more time fishing alone than with friends because I had to meet my mother’s “get home so I can make sure you haven’t drowned” schedule. There weren’t many kids my age to go fishing with either, and it seemed that the one neighbor that was close to my age was always luckier than I was, and he didn’t hesitate to tell me so, which made me feel a bit inferior as a fisherman.
One day we were feeling like an adventure and took out a couple of horses for a ride. At the last minute we decided to take our fishing-poles with us. It appeared this would be a less strenuous trip than even on a bicycle. No pedaling, just hold the reigns and the pole crossways in our fingers over the front of the saddle. Every time we came to a good fishing hole we could just tie the horses up to a near-by safe tree and walk to the brook and throw in the line. The creel was a canvas bag with waterproof interior so if we caught any fish it would keep the leather saddle dry.
After fishing on the Dean Brook Road about 2 ½ miles from home, we turned around to head back. The ride was pretty uneventful and the horses were calm for the most part. The closer we got to home the more anxious we were to make it a more exciting ride. I recall David was on my right and I was posting along at a slow trot. He decided he’d like to kick it up a notch and we began to trot faster and then canter. Suddenly, and unbeknownst to him, the hook he had placed in the eye of the pole bounced loose and swung over just enough to catch in my right nostril. The more he rode the more taut the line got and I was certain he’d rip my whole nose right off my face. It seemed I couldn’t reach up to unhook it myself because I was holding the pole and the reigns. I began shouting for him to slow down, and prayed he didn’t stop suddenly as my horse would whiz by, and surely then, I’d lose an important piece of flesh. I finally convinced him to slow down and he realized my dilemma. Keeping the horses close together, I was finally able to dislodge the hook. After his hysterical laughter I could find a small amount of humor in the situation myself. I find it much funnier today than on the day of the occurrence. I would dare say that fishing on horseback is a better sport done alone without a full length pole. Maybe a telescopic variety that could fold into a compact case. Needless to say, I never told my mother about what happened that day.
(Photo: Dad showing off some of his catch.)
(c) Rick Wyman