Last week was spring break for most school systems around the state. My two grandchildren, now living in the metro Atlanta area, wanted to come spend the week with Sandy and me. It was going to be a week of quality time with them. Unfortunately, I only had one afternoon off.

That afternoon was spent at the pond, trying to teach these “city slickers” how to fish. Of course, I can’t teach them anything. Sandy had prepped the grandkids for the afternoon, teaching them how to cast.

Once we arrived at the pond, neither Amari or M.J. wanted to touch a worm to bait their hooks. Both were turning blue as I hooked the bait.

I did notice they weren’t bad at casting, but there was a difference from the wide open space at the house to the tree-shrouded area around the pond. The afternoon was largely spent untangling lines. If a “tree bass” wasn’t hooked, the lines tangled after being cast over each other.

When the lines did make it into the water, the questions started rolling.

“Are you sure there are fish in here?” M.J. asked Sandy within seconds of his bait finally hitting the water.

Of course, I have wondered the same thing.

“Why aren’t the fish biting?” was his next question.

I have wondered the same thing. I seem to get no bites myself.

“How long are we going to be here?” was another good question.

After about an hour, even Sandy had only gotten a nibble, and we decided to call it a day. She promised the two unimpressed youngsters Thursday would be better.

She took them to another family pond where catfish are plentiful and can be seen swimming as you walk the bank. This time the duo got to experience actually catching fish and I got to hear plenty about it. The haul was five in excess of two pounds each. As we cleaned the fish for supper, the pair informed us they weren’t going to be eating.

When I asked why they said, “That’s not fish sticks!”

I quickly replied I could make them fish sticks while pulling the tough, outer layer of skin off. They also wanted to know what we were going to do with the massive heads.

“Make catfish head soup,” I said, drawing laughter.

Once in the kitchen, I fillet the fish and cut it into squares about the size of a fish fillet sandwich. They were hesitant to try the southern delicacy, turning up their noises, as Sandy pulled the meat out of the frying pan. Once the meat hit their taste buds, they had a little smile on their face.

“See, it isn’t that bad,” I said.

The little bit of time together was priceless. We’ll try fishing again when they return.

Rick Head is the editor of The Alma Times. He can be reached at