Field Trip – 1978

Based on a true story…

Today we had a school field trip to the lake. We couldn’t go swimming because it was too cold but I fished instead. My dad and grandfather taught me how. I cast the line out into the lake, watched the bobber and when it went under, I reeled it in. I caught a fish almost right away. But it was a bass. My dad said you had to skin them and didn’t know how to do it so we never ate them. I kept it for a while because maybe someone would like it but then I got bored of fishing and took my fish and went to the change room building. I threw the fish over the roof and it landed in the courtyard inside. Then I threw it back out. I did this three times then I got a great idea. Maybe I could throw it over the courtyard AND the other roof. But it landed on the roof. Then Miss Anderson saw what I did. She got mad and told me I had to go up there and get it. But I’m only 8. How can I go up on a roof.

I was actually relieved it was too cold to swim. Watching 25 third graders and making sure they don’t go too deep or push each other under for two hours without a cigarette is just not a great way to spend the day. Instead Miss Wilkins and I could just watch the kids playing on the shore, making sand castles, skipping rocks and fishing. It was easy enough that we could each take cigarette breaks when we needed them.

It was great up until I heard laughter coming from the building with the change room and snack bar. The kids were all laughing and pointing – and there, on the roof above the hot dog stand sat a big dry dead fish. How in the hell are we going to get that down? “What the hell did you do?” I asked Todd but he just said he was sorry. I didn’t care, they weren’t going to let us come back to the lake if we caused too much trouble so I just told him he had to get it himself. Maybe he’d figure out a way.

Todd looked so scared. Miss Anderson was yelling at him and telling him he had to climb up on the roof to get this dead fish he’d thrown up there and he just kept saying “But I’m just a KID!” over and over again and looked like he was going to cry. “I’ll do it,” I said.  I put my fishing pole down on a picnic table and climbed a pine tree next to the building and crawled over to the fish. It was stiff, dry, and smelled really bad but I said I would do it and my dad said that you always keep your word. So I tossed it down on the grass.  It was harder getting back on to the tree and I thought I’d fall but it was OK. When I got down I went over to Todd and said “You owe me a coke.”

Image of Silver Lake State Park in Vermont via Wikimedia Commons under GNU Free Documentation License.

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