Last night the boys and I went fishing.
It's been a long time since I've been fishing, and I've never done much sport fishing. It's not like splicing gangions, or sticking a piece of squid on a giant circle hook and coiling it into a tub before throwing a couple miles' worth of 3/8" line off the boat. We were trying to catch trout with a pole, bobber, sinkers, and just one hook. Not my forte.
After nearly an hour untangling fishing line, changing lures and bait, and fruitless casts from the shore, the boys were running out of patience. They weren't having fun any more.
That's when Kevin came to our rescue.
He'd been over on the other side of the pond, dragging one fish after another onto shore.
He showed us the right bait to use, showed us the right way to cast, and invited the kids to reel in the fish he quickly caught. Trin was thrilled, and we soon had a nice rainbow in the bag.
The evening was transformed. The boys were suddenly having a great time. I was, too.
Next fish we caught, he encouraged the boys: "Let her reel it in! Let her do it!"
I didn't have a license, and wanted to make sure the boys got a full experience, so I gave it to Sam, and he fought a bigger rainbow trout, maybe 10" or 11", to the shore.
A man walking his dog came by and started chatting with Kevin, and Kevin referred to me as "he" in their conversation. I didn't make an issue of it.
It was getting dark, and just as we were about to leave, we caught another one. Trin reeled this one in, the biggest yet. Kevin gave us some of the bait, hooks, sinkers, and leader he was using.
As we loaded it into the bag and got ready to leave, Kevin said to the boys, "Now, when szche brings you back here, you'll have all the stuff you need to catch some fish!" (The "szche" is an imprecise spelling intended to describe the way he slid the "sh" and "h" sounds together in apparent confusion whether I should be referred to as she or he.)
Ah. Ambiguity. Another sign of progress, bittersweet.
Thank you, Kevin. Thanks for giving the kids a great time. Thanks for the lesson in fishing. Thanks for the gear. And thanks for letting your confusion be.