It used to be that, when someone caught a fish good enough to keep and showed it to you, common courtesy dictated that you at least touch it. Pumping gas at the marina offered plenty of opportunities to do just that, as shown in a Texaco ad from the May, 1959, issue of Outdoor Life magazine.
Common courtesy is fine out in public, where others are looking or tickling another man’s bass is just part of the job but, as illustrated by a dusty batch of recently found photos, among family, such courtesies only extend so far.
(No names are associated with these photos, so we’ve taken the liberty to do so ourselves.)
Seems Frank and Ernest went fishing and did pretty well. Two rugged guys, three nice fish and a scenic backdrop; not a bad picture.
Ernest isn’t in any other pictures in this group, so we don’t know what happened when he got home, but Frank swapped his hip boots for sneakers and had another picture taken with one of his fish. Somehow, it’s just not the same, so far out of context.
Frank’s got a good grip on that tail but watch what happens when he hands it off to Nora, so she can be in a picture with it, too.
The jodhpurs were a nice touch, as was the string, but it looks like Nora would really rather get back to her cocktail. She probably heard the story of that fish a thousand times, and thanks to the wonders of photography, Nora was also able to re-live this priceless memory again and again, for the rest of her life.
Once Nora was done gazing admiringly at Frank’s fish, it was Woodrow’s turn before the camera with a different trophy. He proved to be quite enthusiastic.
While Nora opted for riding pants and bare arms, Woodrow chose a full-length wool ensemble. Less squeamish than Nora, Woody was not afraid to touch a fish, even if just pinched tightly between thumb and forefinger (with a little assistance from the string, we’re sure).
We will never know what Nora and Woodrow really thought about Frank’s fish but the last picture in the batch may provide a clue. We’d like to think otherwise, but maybe the fish were getting dried out and kind of smelly so Woody just opened up the bulkhead and chucked them down-cellar.
With very few exceptions (Google Buddy Hackett Anita Bryant Fish Joke), the fondling of fish is best reserved for public places or not at all. Like they say, “No man can truly appreciate fishing until he has a family of his own to neglect.”