My father first pressed a fishing rod into my hands in the summer before I started first grade.
It wasn’t out of romance or passing on something to his daughter; in spite of being a nature-lover he hadn’t fished much in his life. No, I had begged for this fishing rod and reaching the age of six meant that my parents had considered the hazards of an accidental hook-through-body-part injury and had weighed in favor of my increasing common sense.
I received a beginner rod. One with the reel attached to the rod, encased in plastic so you couldn’t see the spool of the reel at all. In a brown paper bag my father handed me a tiny box filled with tiny hooks, tiny metal sinkers, and a tiny plastic bobber that was a poor mimicry of a red and white mooring buoy. As soon as he handed it to me, I ran out to our backyard and practiced casting. We were to leave for Maine the next day, and I wanted to impress my friend Robb who, in spite of us being the same age, had the advantage of an older brother to steal fishing equipment from.