Thursday, January 8, 2015

TBT: Grandpa's Fish Shanty

The scent of gun cleaner solvent throws me back to my childhood when my father cleaned his gun each hunting season. Just like that, the sight of my husband cleaning fish at the kitchen sink after a day of ice fishing, sends me back under the shade of my Grandmother's apple trees where we played hide and seek.

Grandma's back yard in northern Michigan, had apple trees, old outdoor cellar doors, a little garden shed, and best of all grandpa's fish shanty. I was little enough to wiggle underneath the wooden runners that were used to slide it out onto the icy lake in winter. But in summer it sat in the grass and I could squeeze up through the bottom hole he fished through and sit inside on the bench, holding my breath while my brother and cousins ran to and fro trying to find me.

Inside, I could smell the stale scent of wood, tar paper, and the charred wood that had warmed Grandpa from the little stove inside. I could recall the times we'd bundle up, walk out onto the lake to see if Grandpa had caught any fish for dinner. Along the wall leaned grandpa's fish spear. Out on the ice, he would let it rest on the side of the shanty by a hook over the hole in the ice. When a fish swam by, he would spear it. My mother says he would also take the spear on a spring night when the sucker fish swam upstream and spear them in the river, bringing home tubs full of forty or fifty fish grandma would can.

Sometimes I order Rainbow Trout from the menu just to remember the smell and taste of it frying in the pan at Grandma's house well after dark.

Have you ever found an old tool, or piece of equipment in your father's or grandfather's shop, and wondered what stories it could tell?
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Represented by Sarah Freese, WordServe Literary


  1. Loved your interesting post, Anne!! I've never experienced ice-fishing and although I used to help my mother can, had never thought about canning fish.

    I don't have anything from my father or grandfather's shop - however, do have numerous items from both sets of grandparents. One is a doll sitting in my house, which my grandparents purchased for me one Christmas - with coffee can lids - when I was very young. Several years ago, I took small items that had belonged to my mother's parents and put them in shadowboxes for my mother, her sister and myself.

  2. With coffee can lids? Ha, love that. Never knew that was a save-as-you-go thing back then. My MIL had a shadowbox. Not sure what happened to it, but we got a lot of the little items from her also.


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