fishing for memories

This is Ellie. This is the second year in a row that the Friends Into Spooner Hatchery (FISH) has partnered up with a couple of other groups to take dementia patients and their caregivers fishing. I participated again this year. First, we fish for awhile on the dock right in Spooner and each of us partners up with a person to help them fish. Well, Ellie was an experienced angler. I offered to put the worm on the hook thinking this fragile little pink lady would eschew the task. But she dived right in. I had to hold the hook for her, as her hand was a bit shaky, but we got the job done.
Then she caught a nice-sized bluegill (that picture is on someone else’s camera) and off we went again. After that, it was just a little tiny panfish chomping away on the worm, but we had a laugh over watching him chase it around and nibble off pieces.
While we were fishing, she told me she lived on Tozier Lake and that her husband had died 14 years ago. “Ohhh,” I sympathized. “How did he die?” “Bear got him.” was her immediate reply. Then she went on to detail how they were watching Dragnet and their little dog was barking, so they went outside to confront a bear attacking the dog. I’m speechless. “There was blood all over,” she said. More details. More of my sympathetic “Aww’s”
Awhile passed. We fished. Hmm, methought. Death by Bear would be big news. I don’t remember ever hearing about an actual death, although there have been many dog/bear and human/bear encounters over the years..
After fishing, we went back to shore where two DNR game wardens and the Hatchery guys were frying up fish and French fries — a delicious outdoor meal. When we’d finished eating, I took an opportunity to sidle up to the wardens and ask innocently if they knew of a bear attack in Washburn County that resulted in death of a person. Blank stare.
Tall Tale Ellie the little pink fisherwoman. HAHAHAHA

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