For you, Dad, and in hopes you continue to catch all the fish!
I waited a billion hours and it was finally time.
I pulled with all my strength, Grandpa cheering me on. I knew I had it. This was finally my moment. But the stupid fish was fighting back.
“I can’t do it! It’s too strong!” I yelled.
“Dig, boy! It’s almost here!” Grandpa yelled back.
I was only seconds away from finally getting my first real pet. My stuffed animals weren’t going to cut it anymore. I was big enough for a real pet.
The more I pulled, the clearer Pet Day tomorrow at school looked. All the kids were gonna be lined up with their cats and dogs and gerbils and I was gonna have the coolest fish anyone ever saw. I was going to put it in the biggest fish tank I could find with lots of pretty rocks and plants. He was gonna be the happiest fish there ever was.
I pulled harder, harder, harder. Grandpa got behind me and helped reel it in. I hadn’t ever used so many muscles in my life but this was worth it. I bet this was gonna be a hundred pound fish! My fish!
The line snapped and out came just the biggest glob of weeds.
“Ya got snagged! Dang it!” Grandpa said. I shrugged and started pulling the weeds off of the hook. Grandpa grabbed a worm out of the giant worm container and helped me put it on. I cast the line out again. Better luck next time…hopefully soon.
I waited another billion hours. Grandpa and I weren’t catching anything. Not even a glob of weeds again. We waited so long, I started to believe Pet Day already happened. I knew it was too good to be true.
I began to think we should go home when…another bite! I prayed for it to be real this time. I took a deep breath and reeled in my line, pulling the pole to the side and finally flopped a fish on the ground.
Phew. I did it!
Grandpa cheered so loud for me. I jumped up and down. Pet Day was finally gonna be awesome.
I squealed and smiled up at Grandpa, gave him the biggest hug and thought about my new pet. I always wanted a fish and my moment finally arrived. Grandpa held the fish up in the light and its scales sparkled all different colors. Its eyeball was huge and it just stared at me. I knew it saw me, its new owner. The kids at school were gonna think I’m the coolest kid in class with the coolest fish.
“Now you wanna hold the fish by the lips like this and then slide the hook out like this, you see?” Grandpa explained. I nodded and touched the fish and felt its slimy, sparkly scales.
“I’m naming him Rainbow! His scales shine all the colors!” I clapped my hands. This was the best day of my life.
“That’s a good name! Now you’ll need a picture as evidence,” Grandpa said and took out his phone for a picture. He held Rainbow between us and I smiled the biggest I’ve ever smiled as I imagined all the fun we were gonna have together.
Grandpa showed me the picture and I decided I was gonna have Mommy frame it and hang it up in my room. “Now wish him a good day!” Grandpa said, and he tossed Rainbow back in the water.
“NOOOOO” I screamed. I felt like I was gonna start crying. “He was gonna be…my pet…for Pet Day, Grandpa!” Tears dropped down my face and onto my shirt.
“It’s called catch and release! We send the fish back to their home, buddy.”
“But Rainbow was for Pet Day! You don’t understand!” My face felt hot.
“Bud, we just let Rainbow back into his home. You know, like you have a home, right?”
I nodded my head and wiped tears from my cheeks.
“Well, Rainbow has a home, too, and this is it. We don’t want him to feel lost, right? Just like you would if someone took you from your home, right?”
I looked at the water and saw some little fish swimming by. They were in their home. I growled and clenched my fists, imagining a horrible Pet Day tomorrow. One of my stuffed animals was gonna look so stupid.
Grandpa put another worm on my hook and helped me cast my line out again. I looked back at the worm container…
“Grandpa, don’t those worms have a home?”
“They do; every living thing has a home.”
“They live on the ground, right? Like in the dirt?”
“Some do, yes. Why do you—”
I grabbed the worm container, opened the lid, took one worm out, and flung the rest onto the ground.
“There, now the worms are home, too,” I huffed and stomped away with my new pet worm.