Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 24

By | September 15, 2023

[September 15, 2023]  I found the bamboo fishing pole sticking out of the water back along a hidden dirt bank.  I was really young, maybe seven years old, when my good friend Albert was going to show me a great fishing hole in the Bayou Bonne Idee just east of town. It was Saturday morning as we agreed to meet up with my friend’s older brother to drive us the ten minutes to get there by pickup truck. We rode in the back standing up and looking over the cab and trying not to get smacked in the face by tree branches. Along the way, we stopped to dig for the worms we’d planned to use for bait. We didn’t have a real float so we used a dry piece of wood and a small, longish rock was the sinker.  We were ready. Fortunately, we had extra hooks I brought from my dad’s fishing bait box.

The sun was already up and warming up fast. The banks of the bayou were cool and peaceful, the wind calm, the insects buzzing, which means the fish would be biting. Any fish we caught would be a trophy but the deal we made with our dads was we had to bring our catch home, clean, and help cook them to help feed our families. We had been taught that “fishing” did not mean just pulling fish from the water, real fishing was a comprehensive experience, from getting ourselves ready all the way to cleaning and eating the fish we caught. And we would also walk the six miles home, so that meant leaving at least three hours early to arrive before sunset. Naturally, we had no wristwatch, so we relied on local fishermen to tell us the time. We laughed and rolled around mock fighting, threw dirt clods and sticks in the bayou, gave our woop woop secret Indian war yells whenever we saw people in a fishing boat going by, and napped in the grass. All the fish got away.  We had failed but we had fun anyway. It would be a long walk home.  We were failures at fishing that day but a success at firming up our friendship. Walking home, we got lucky, a Mer Rouge High School boy was driving by and saw us. He took us home.

Sunday morning was church services and it gave me a chance to tell my friends from school and church about the great fishing spot we had “discovered.”  An older girl from Sunday School class showed interest in our fishing, much to my surprise. I told her about the worms and after a long ewwww sound, she said we should show her. We made an agreement to meet up Monday morning after I finished my search of the town dump for resalable items (my weekend job).  Mondays were best. The girl’s cousin agreed to take us to the bayou. I arranged to bring the gear and maybe I overcommitted on what I could bring. I was happy but anxious to have a girl seeing our secret fishing spot but Albert didn’t care. We did little fishing that day.  Mostly I tried to show off by balancing on an old log in the water next to the bank. I fell off and got my shoes and pants wet. Why did I do that?  There was something compelling me to show off, my behavior must have looked foolish.  My dad laughed when I told him the story, mom smiled, I was confused but I think we all had a fun day. Again, we caught nothing.

We were luckier a week later when we caught at least a dozen fish – crappie and bream – rather small but I cleaned them with my Mom’s help and then she showed me how to make a flour-based batter and then fry them in her grease pan for supper. “Dinner” was the noon meal, “supper” the evening meal and we always ate supper sharply at 5:30 PM, just as dad got home from work during. Finally, we could say we were “fishing.”  That was a real accomplishment, not to be treated lightly and our dads, who were serious fishermen, and they finally agreed we had actually done it. The fact that this fishing was done with very little adult help and by a group of seven year olds, was one small step toward becoming a young man. It was the summer of 1960 and I had made that first step and I felt pretty good about it.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

27 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 24

  1. Boy Sue

    I predict that Gen. Satterfield will have letter No. 25 out tomorrow or the weekend. Enjoy!!!!!!

  2. Gibbbie

    I can’t wait until the next letter. Learning a lot about how boys grow up to become good men.

  3. Janice Williamson

    I really really enjoyed this article. I recommend it. I sent a link to my friends at work. They also said it was something that made them think back to their childhood.

  4. Eddie Gilliam

    Excellent job my friend. I am sure your granddaughter will enjoy it. I love fishing growing up as a child. I love digging around the dirt for thr worms 🪱. I loved it when I found the long fat ones. They lasted the longest and caught the bigger fish. I digging enough to last me a few days. Keep them in soft soil around the pump outside
    We also have the fishing story about the one that got away. How big it was. 😆
    I had young girls that went fish with me a few times. They didn’t like putting the worm on the hook nor taking the fish off.
    In life Jesus speaks often of fishing. Tell Peter to cast his nest 🪹 when normally it’s wasted time. Peter obeyed caught so much fish the next broke.
    Jesus address fisher of men to several men who called them to follow him.

    1. The Golly Woman from EHT

      Yes, Eddie, great comments but rarely do kids get this experience today.

  5. Rev. Michael Cain

    Gen. Satterfield, perhaps you could write one of your next few letters about your pets and what you got from them. If I remember correctly, you had a few dogs growing up (and one now, a Yellow Lab named Bella). But I think most of us would like to hear about your dogs and what you did, running around with them and feeding and caring for them. What were there names? How did you care for them? What happened when they passed away? These are questions I’m sure we all would like to hear and how you coped with their lives and when they were no longer with you.

    1. Pastor John

      Rev Cain, great suggestion, so I will add my tiny vote to recommend the same for Gen. Satterfield.

      1. Robin C

        Rev Cain always has great and thoughtful recommendations. My recommendation is to read what everyone writes here in this leadership forum. You can find all sorts of tips on how to make your life better and sometimes look at a more detailed explanation of what Gen. Satterfield is getting at and examples that make you think. That is also the way Gen. Satterfield wants it done, as he as noted several times. I hope everyone had a great Labor Day. Now the Fall is upon us. Leaves are about to fall and the weather turning cooler, yeah!

  6. North of Austin

    Your letters, Gen. Satterfield, have encouraged me to write down my thoughts and some events from my childhood so that I can pass them along to my young children. Originally I thought this might be something my wife would do (and maybe yes she will at some point) but I’m the one now with the desire and motivation. As a man, I do think we should tell not just our sons and grandsons about growing up but also our granddaughters because they need to get a good idea what drives real men to do good deeds.

    1. Oakie from OK

      Yes, and in the “old days” we used to sit around the campfire and tell tales. Today, we no longer do that so there is a need for some mechanism to transfer knowledge and our history to those that follow in our family.

  7. Grover in the Grove

    Always a pleasure to read these LETTERS and find out more about Gen. Satterfield when he was a kid. A bit fearless but willing to tell us he cried when he was hurt or really scared. That is why I read these letters even tho I didn’t think I would appreciate them as much as I do.

    1. Emma Archambeau

      That’s why i come to Gen. Satterfield’s website every day.

      1. Roger Yellowmule

        YEP ………… and please keep these letters coming to us and I’ll be reading your blog daily too.

        1. Jerome Smith

          Got to say I APPROVE of your recommendation Roger. And great last name you got there. American Indian? I always enjoy your comments.

  8. Tom Bushmaster

    “The fact that this fishing was done with very little adult help and by a group of seven year olds, was one small step toward becoming a young man. It was the summer of 1960 and I had made that first step and I felt pretty good about it.” Nicely put. Becoming a really good writer, Gen. Satterfield. Make these letters into a book and I’ll buy it.

  9. Edward G.

    Wow, Gen. Satterfield, another letter to your granddaughter that is very enlightening about your upbringing and what you did as a kid. Helps me better understand where you are coming from and what makes up your personal philosophy of life.
    Your book “55 Rules for a Good Life” is certainly within the ideas you’ve expressed in these ‘letters to my granddaughter.’
    Keep up the great works you are doing for us with your blog and books.

    1. Wendy Holmes

      Edward, his book “55 rules for a good life” is at the top of our reading lists and as it should be for anyone wishing to make improvemtns in themselves. 😊

    2. Fred Weber

      Great comment, once again, Edward. Correct about Gen. Satterfield’s books but I like his first book on Iraq.

      1. Army Captain

        My thinking the same, as I enjoyed most “Our Longest Year in Iraq” but I’m biased a bit. Ha Ha. I always learn more about human nature when I read about books that tell us what happened on the ground in any war. Read enough of these and you will get some of the basic ideas on what makes a man tick.


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