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Fishing in Fremont

With a hand-shake the deal was sealed. It was agreed. The eight year old boy was to cover the wooden picket fence with two coats of white paint and his Sunday School teacher was to compensate the young lad with five dollars and a fishing trip. However, this was not just going to be any fishing trip, but an overnight adventure leading north to Fremont, Wisconsin to fish on the Wolf River.
This was going to be super! A wonderful series of firsts! The first painting job, the first five dollars earned, and the very first time fishing.

Enthusiastically, the eight year old painter showed up for work promptly following his day at school. Carefully he was instructed on how to hold the brush, check for missed spots, watch out for drips, and how to clean up after using oil based paint. Needless to say the thrill of manual labor wore off more quickly than the paint he found himself coated in. But, to the young laborer’s credit and two long weeks later the task was finished. Clutching tightly the five dollars in his fist the young man returned home walking on air. Tomorrow was the big day and they would be leaving for Fremont right after school to go fishing.

School went excruciatingly slow that day, but finally Mr. Lennox arrived to fulfill the second half of the contract. The trip in that old Ford itself was one memorable journey. They told jokes, sang Sunday School songs, and talked about Jesus. Two hours later they pulled up to the little trailer that would be called home for the night. After eating supper, Mr. Lennox suggested an early bedtime for, after all, “The fish get pretty hungry around 6:00 a.m.” Sleep was elusive, but finally wide eyed excitement gave way to heavy eyelids of drowsiness.

The following day the two fishermen could be seen traveling up and down the Wolf River in their little motorized boat. Finding just the right shady spot they laid anchor and began to fish. All in all it was a great day. Sometimes the quietness of the moment was disturbed with an occasional splash of a jumping fish or the croaking of frogs. Other times the air was filled with exciting stories from The Bible as the boat became a sanctuary and the teacher shared wonderful, loving stories of Jesus. How He loved the water and the many miracles He performed through the use of fish. Why, He even fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes.

Yes, fish were caught by the two fishermen and it was thrilling. But, if the truth be known that day, there on the Wolf River, a bond between a young man and his Christian teacher was cemented by more than a handshake, five dollars, and a fishing trip.

Often my thoughts float gently back to my experience of fishing in Fremont. Deciding it was time for a visit I invited myself over to reminisce a bit with the man who had earned my respect, admiration, and from whom I had learned so much about God’s love. Driving up to the house was that same white picket fence in the process of being painted by yet another young man whose age I would guess to be around eight or nine years old. Smiling to myself and calling out to the young painter I asked, “How things were going?” He muttered, “Okay.” Complimenting him on how well he was doing I inquired, “When is the fishing trip?” Looking up the amazement that registered on his face asked the question as to how I knew about the fishing trip. Laughing out loud I nostalgically responded, “Have a great time fishing in Fremont!”

- Learn more about the author, Brian Aird.

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