My father was a fisherman. He loved to go fishing. And then he would bring his catch home and we would have fish for dinner. Dinnertime with my father, at a very small kitchen table, was never fun, but the fish added a new element of pain. Every mouthful could contain a fish bone, an invisible needle that would end up in your gums or the roof of your mouth. I never had one stuck in my throat, for which I am truly grateful, but many, many stopped my chewing with a sudden jolt, and then there was the process of “fishing” them out, politely. So, I hated fish, not for the taste, but because of the pain.
Every summer at that time, I went to Camp Vick, a Baptist church camp, and one evening in the dining hall we had fish sticks. No bones. Delicious. So I came home and thought I could tell my father that I liked fish now. And at dinner that evening, I said, “We had fish sticks. They were delicious.” And I thought he would be happy because I liked fish.
“Fish sticks?!,” he shouted, “That’s garbage fish.” I put my head down, and did not press the matter. But today, on Father’s Day, I was in the grocery store, and I bought fish sticks.