Save the Minnows! – #fridayflash #amwriting

14

August 18, 2011 by Deanna Schrayer

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Thank you for stopping in to read my #fridayflash. Be sure to visit Mad Utopia  or the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors!

Save the Minnows! is rated PG according to my standards.

Baptized by Fishing

Save the Minnows!, by Deanna Schrayer

“Should we go to church instead?” my husband, George asked.

“No, God doesn’t mind if we bond with nature,” I said, “Besides, He’s the one who made the great outdoors. He wouldn’t have done that if He didn’t want us using it.”

“Well, maybe we should take the Bible along anyway.” George said

 “Yea, I can read the boys a story on the way.” I agreed. I was certain God wouldn’t mind if we went fishing on Sunday morning, so long as we taught our two young sons something about Him while we were at it.

We packed our poles and our cooler, and the fat, juicy worms I’d dug up early that morning.

On the drive, I read the story of the miracle of Jesus feeding thousands with just a few fish. Nolan and Kramer, our sons, asked a few questions about the story. I felt certain this was God’s way of validating our excursion. 

We were on the lookout for a good fishing spot as we bumped along the curvy road by the creek. Someone had already snagged our usual spot, so we drove on. Soon we saw an even better place: flat, spacious, perfect. The creek was wide enough here that the boys could play in it on one side while we fished on the other.

We pulled into the makeshift parking place, and I retrieved our gear while George went to check out the creek. Nolan and Kramer immediately jumped in the water while I yelled, “Be careful!  No, don’t go over there! Keep your shoes on or you’ll get cut on something,” etc,  etc. 

George took the cooler, complaining, “There’s quite a bit of trash scattered about, Kristie.” 

“That’s all right.” I said, “at least it’s a nice, flat spot.” 

George set up our chairs, and spread out my blanket. Our habit was that I would sit beside him with my line in the water, get frustrated after not getting a bite within five minutes, and head on over to my blanket. This morning was no different. After just a few minutes of getting not even a nibble, I walked over to my blanket, and shed my shorts and t-shirt to reveal my bikini-clad skin to the heavenly sun. I lay down and watched my boys for a few minutes. They all looked so happy, and I said a little prayer of thanks to God for giving me such a wonderful, loving family. I lay back to read for a while, then glanced at my watch; it would soon be time for us to eat lunch. I figured I’d better take a few more minutes to rest though because once we ate, Nolan and Kramer would most likely be bored and want to leave. 

After several minutes of resting my eyes I felt a rather large shade come over me. I glanced up, expecting to see rain clouds gathering. Instead, there was a group of elderly men and women, all in their Sunday best, surrounding me, staring at me as if I were the scum of the earth.

I jumped to my knees and scrambled about for my clothes. “Honey!” I shouted as I pulled my shorts and t-shirt on. I was more frightened than embarrassed. I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised to see these people donning hatchets. They glanced around at all the trash, (including beer cans). It was obvious they thought this was our doing. 

George didn’t hear my calls for help until I was right behind him. He turned and greeted the hoard cheerfully, as he’s prone to do, “Hey, how ya’ll doing?”

One old man spoke up, “We’re a fixin’ to have a baptizin’ here.” He all but bit our heads off. 

“Oh, that’s wonderful!” I said, meaning it. Here was a great opportunity for our children to see God’s work. 

The old man spat towards my feet, and turned to join the others gathering around the baptismal hole. 

Feeling shunned and hurt, we loaded up our things. Because our pick-up was blocked in now, we had to sit in it until the baptizing was over. As the multitudes walked by us on their way out, I made sure to hold my Bible up, open to show I was reading it.

Our children learned a very important lesson that day: if we are to be fishers of men, we mustn’t toss the minnows back in the water.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Confession: Some of you may recognize this story – it’s several years old and was originally written as the creative nonfiction it truly is (names have been changed), for a local newspaper that I contribute nostalgic pieces to. Yes, this is a true story that happened to me and my family, a story I won’t soon forget…..

The picture is of my sons fishing in the creek at one of our several special spots, around the same time we were “baptized by fishing”.

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14 thoughts on “Save the Minnows! – #fridayflash #amwriting

  1. ericjkrause says:

    Good telling of this one. Must’ve been quite a shock when it happened, but from the tone of the piece, you seem to have found the humor in it afterwards.

  2. ~Tim says:

    What a bizarre turn of events. I bet they didn’t pick up the trash either.

  3. Great story Deanna! I love the way you write about the old man glaring as though you were responsible for all the litter.

  4. L'Aussie says:

    Deanna, I was a bit upset to learn this was nonfiction, but as I read it it did sound too true! Sad isn’t it how easily we can be judged by those who are here to show love and acceptance. Throwing the minnows back in the water. Love that image!

    Denise

  5. Icy Sedgwick says:

    I’m confused as to the possessiveness of the old man if this was a public spot – but then I freely admit I don’t understand how humans think. Such a shame that such a lovely day was ruined.

  6. Deanna Schrayer says:

    Thank you all so much for your kind comments. Yes, this was a bizarre incident to say the least. It did take a while for me to get over the hurt I felt, but, once I did, I easily saw the humor in it.

    Icy, to try and answer the question of the man’s possessiveness: this took place in the southern US, in which the majority of small towns are considered the “Bible Belt” – there are many, many churches of various denominations, mostly Baptist. Most all of those churches have baptisms in nearby creeks and it’s….(hard to explain)…understood? that what might appear to be a swimming hole near a church is actually the church’s baptismal pool. The church doesn’t own it persay, but the community knows it “belongs” to the church, therefore people know not to disturb that particular place on Sunday mornings, when there could be a baptism planned. The problem in this case, (with this story), is that the church was another couple hundred yards up the road, around a curve, so we never saw it. Had we seen the church we most likely would’ve passed up that particular spot and found another one.
    These kind of regional things can get complicated sometimes. :)

  7. antisocialbutterflie says:

    As I was reading I really enjoyed the God in nature theme you had going. Now that I know it’s a real story I wish my parents would have been as awesome as you on Sunday mornings.

    Living in the Bible belt myself your description of the grump uptight congregation is spot on. I can just see the biddies scowling at you in the truck and you holding up the Bible as a challenge. It must have peeved them off something fierce.

  8. I wasn’t expecting this to be non-fiction, but I wish I could say I was surprised by the Church’s attitude. There is so much of Religion’s intolerance towards those outside a particular Faith encapsulated in your story that it is extremely powerful. It is rare for me to get emotionally dropped into a story, but I was at your side in this one wanting to give the Church people a peace of mind and, since you had a Bible handy, maybe read to them the passages about Jesus’ focus on *inclusion* rather than *exclusion*.

    Course, being the South, that would not have likely ended well for any of us, but it is certainly the visceral response your tale elicited.

    Need I add, Well done!

    -DPA

  9. Steve Green says:

    I can see the sadness attached to this, and also the humour too, it seems that there may have been other guiding forces at work that day.

  10. Deanna Schrayer says:

    Thanks so much to you all for your kind comments! The story could, when you look past the humor, bring about an emotional response, and though I hope it hasn’t caused anyone “painful” memories, I’m glad it has made so many readers think about the “whole picture”.
    I’ve been working on an essay on this very subject, tentatively titled “Why I Don’t Go To Church”, which is about ten pages long at the moment, but the more I write the more I realize it might not be good to share, at least not now, for it’s so very personal, possibly too honest, (if there is such a thing)….anyway, we’ll see how that turns out, if I ever finish it. :)

    Thank you all again, very much!

  11. Stephen says:

    A good lesson for your boys, Deanna. And I love the way you held up your Bible. As people, we tend to make excuses and put on airs when we don’t have to. Funny stuff there because we all can probably admit to doing something like it. Thank you for sharing

    • Deanna Schrayer says:

      Thanks very much Stephen! Yes, a lot of us tend to put on airs at times, most often because that’s how we were brought up….sad really.

  12. John Wiswell says:

    I really dug the openness of worship, from place to book to lesson to practice. Neat characterization that moves quickly.

    • Deanna Schrayer says:

      Thanks so much John! I do consider this one one of my best as far as merging theme with context, and I appreicate your implication that it comes through.

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