General Non-Fiction posted March 2, 2024

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Two Worlds Coming Together

Fishing With Bread

by William Stephenson1

True Story Contest Contest Winner 
Our cruise ship ported at Mykonos, a small island off the coast of Greece, for an overnight stay. The following morning, before sunrise, I went for a walk along the pier. All was quiet, and as the sun began to rise, I could see a man fishing about a hundred yards down from the ship. As I approached him, I was to meet an old chain-smoking fisherman with fishing tackle that might have been on display in an antique shop.

I introduced myself, and he spoke very little English. But he was willing to stumble through the limits of our separate languages, and we got to know each other. In the conversation, I asked, "How's the fishing?"

"Sometimes good, but mostly bad. I cannot afford bait so I use old, stale bread."

I learned to fish from my father, who was a professional fisherman. I knew that as soon as bread hits the water, it begins to break up and dissolve. But I asked him if I could borrow his fishing pole and cast it for half an hour. He gave me a toothless smile and said he would be honored. He reeled in his line, and there were over a dozen small hooks attached to the line, all empty of bait.

"If you have only bread for bait, how do you keep it from falling off the hooks when they hit the water?

He smiled and said, "Ah! I show you!" He went over to his old beat up car and pulled out a large piece of very stale, very hard loaf of bread. He looked at me and instructed, "You bite into bread and put on hook! No?"

We both smiled, and we both bit into this rock hard loaf of bread. Two old men, one from a wealthy and powerful nation, and the other, toothless and weather-worn from an island I could barely pronounce. Neither one of us could speak the other's language, but it didn't matter.

We took the chewed bread out of our mouths, and together we attached it to the hooks and began to giggle like two kids playing hooky with a fishing pole. I cast the line into the water, continued to chew on the cement-like bread, and waited in silence.

I suddenly realized I was on holy ground. Two old men, from very different countries far apart, coming together and discovering we both had the same address. We both realized we belonged to the same family. We were brothers forever after this fishing tale would come to an end.

Whenever I feel like I've forgotten where I live, and I often do, when, all over our nation, senseless violence is being committed in homes, schools, places of worship. It is in those times I forget where I'm living. That is when I close my eyes and remember a toothless old man with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, helping me bait a hook. Then I remember my address: The human family. The Mind of God.

True Story Contest
Contest Winner



There are times when we are given moments of what the Kingdom of God is like.
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