“Our Meal from the Mill Pond” by Doug Fincher

March 27, 2017 - The year of 1949 was an especially hard year for our large family and I’m sure that none of our neighbors were aware of it. I hitch-hiked several times to Center, Texas  and got food from my grandparents. At one of our most “desperate” times that year, my brothers and I decided  to fish for a much-needed meal. After catching our bait, (“potbelly” minnows from Tenaha Creek), we went to our little pond. This old Mill Pond was poor for fishing because it was too deep for the fish to spawn. In our year at Shelbyville, we only caught a few crappie there and they were all underfed or under-sized.

We spaced ourselves out across the dam, baited our hooks and had just sat down when Bill yelled out, “I’ve got one!” Then Joe hollered, “I’ve got one, too!” Suddenly a large school of crappie was flashing in the water before our eyes.

We began pulling them in one by one and were soon at home showing Mother our fourteen- perch supper. 

Mother built a fire in the fireplace while we scaled the fish. She laid them on a large pan, poured Worcestershire Sauce on them and placed them on the hot coals.  Since the fish stuck to the pan, we picked off the meat with them still in the pan. It was a one-course meal that we all enjoyed. 

Today I asked my brother Joe if he remembered that day at the pond. “Vividly”, he said, “and do you recall the smell of those roasted perch?” “I sure do”, I answered….

“……as if it were yesterday.”