Fishing Like a Girl

When I was a child, I was a very girly girl. My hair was long, blond, and tidy, and big brightly colored ribbon bows were a regular fixture on my head. My mother dressed me in smocked searsucker dresses, each of which she made by hand and adorned with ruffles and dainty buttons. On my feet I wore socks with big ruffles around the ankles  and Keds, typically pink or white with rhinestones.

Picking these shoes out every season was an event I looked forward to with an enthusiasm that can only be interpreted as the beginning stages of shoe addiction.

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Around the time I was 8 years old, we obtained our first dog. Her name was Lucy, and she was a corgi with short legs and ears that were so large I’m certain they could pick up life in outer space.

One afternoon shortly after bringing Lucy home, a friend of my mother’s invited all of us—Lucy included—over to her sprawling Monte Vista home, in a beautiful and historic neighborhood. She wanted to meet Lucy and introduce her to her gaggle of corgis, which were about 6 in all. We were new to the dog-owning world, so my mom welcomed the chance to tap Molly’s brain about caring for a corgi. She dressed me in one of my nice dresses and probably gave me instructions about behaving.

That afternoon, my mother and her friend strolled around her impeccably cared-for garden chatting with Molly’s corgis following tightly behind them.

Meanwhile, Lucy and I became intrigued by a gurgling fountain on the other side of the yard. We made our way over to it and found that the pond was full of little orange and tan goldfish. There was such an abundance of them and they swam so close to the surface, that I felt a desire to try and catch one. Where on earth this desire came from, I have no idea.

I knelt down on my hands and knees. Spotting a goldfish swimming alone near the edge of the fountain, I plunged my hand under the surface towards him, but he slipped out of my grasp. I spotted another, and plunged my hand down into the water again, but I still wasn’t quick enough. Lucy, who had never seen a pond in her life and had been trying to figure out what this glassy green liquid was, decided to walk out onto it. She took a step onto the surface of the water and fell immediately into the fountain, creating a huge splash that soaked both of us. “Lucy!!!” I shrieked. I was afraid she wouldn’t be able to swim with such short legs. But shockingly to me, she was a great swimmer.

Realizing fishing with my bare hands was not going to work, I started scanning the yard for a container in which I could corner the fish. I saw nothing. Then I looked down at my feet, and an idea hit me—I’ll use my shoe! Where on earth this idea came from, I have no clue. Without even hesitating, I slipped off my pink Ked and plunged it into the water. In no time, I had a fish writhing about in it. SUCCESS!! I pulled myself up to my feet and ran across the yard with my arm oustretched, holding the shoe up like I was about to win a fishing tournament. Water was running down my arm and onto my dress and Lucy, sopping wet, was trailing behind me. I had a huge smile slapped on my face. Mom!!! Mooomm!!!! Mom!!!! I shouted with a tone of joy in my voice that I still remember to this day. Look what I’ve got!!!!

When I reached my mom and her friend, I shoved my little pink shoe in front of them so they could see my treasure. The poor little goldfish lay in my shoe, writhing and flopping. I stood there, Lucy and I side-by-side dripping with water, arm oustretched clutching my prize, and breathlessly retold my story of conquest.

Their faces conveyed pure shock.

My mom’s friend couldn’t have been nicer about the situation, and helped me return the poor fish to its proper home in her pond. My mother made me put my shoe back on even though it was soggy and stinky, I’m sure as an attempt to teach me about “consequences” or something like that.

As my mother recounts the story, in the moments before I ran across the yard, she had been expressing to Molly her nervousness about owning a dog. She had been saying she didn’t know if we were “dog people.” As we were pulling out of the driveway that day, Molly peered into the car and said with a smile, “I think you’ll do just fine.”

To this day I am both a slight germophobe and a shoe addict, and it positively blows my mind that I ever, ever, EVER would have taken a perfectly good shoe and used it to catch a fish. But owning a corgi brings out whole new side you never knew existed!

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