Annie was on the back dock,fishing into the late afternoon, as usual. It’s her favorite time to fish because the pesky turtles, who are so abundant in the morning hours, rarely invade her fishing space at dusk. I kept an eye on her from the kitchen window where I was struggling to get dinner going. Every few minutes, I’d glance out to make sure she hadn’t fallen in the lake or accidentally hooked her own nose. Finally, when the lack of sunlight forced her to put up her gear and call it a day, she burst into the house to give us the “fish count”.
“Mom! I caught three fish, two Mayans and a peacock bass.” She proudly shoved three little dirty fingers towards me.
“Wow,” I said, distracted by the electric mixer I was using to whip the butter into the mashed potatoes.
“I just love fish. They are so cute.” She clasped her hands together with a sigh. She glanced over her shoulder and leaned in closer to me. In a low voice, she said, “I kiss them before I put them back in the water.”
“What? Annie, no.” I quickly turned off the mixer, praying I’d heard her wrong.
“It’s okay, Mommy,” she patted my arm in assurance. “I wash my mouth after.”