Andrew Johnson :: Big Bottom Fish ::


Southern Legitimacy Statement: I visited the Asbury revival in Wilmore Kentucky for five days. The people there were hospitable and friendly, epitomizing Southern Charm. In the town and the city, I frequently heard “God Bless You.” It felt like a community, where people’s differences didn’t matter. My friends and I visited the DV8 Kitchen, a restaurant that employs recovering addicts and helps them to get on their feet. The strawberry salad and Monte Cristo were out of this world. I found the people in the South to be down-to-earth, polite, and full of faith. I was not expecting this small town to be a destination. Truly, it was a trip, in more ways than one. Strangely, Big Bottom Fish was accepted by The Dead Mule at the same time that I visited Wilmore, Kentucky. A coincidence? I don’t think so. 

Big Bottom Fish


in the dark river

the big bottom fish


for the plop...plop

of bait.

"Yes, sir. I've been trying to catch him my whole life. First, you got to find him, but wait—no. First, you got to have the faith that he's there."

"Jim—you sound like, you's trying to think like a fish."

"I don't know about that—but I sure as hell drink like one. Give me a beer."

The smaller man, reached into an ice box and handed it to Jim. 

The fish was watching them, waiting for the line, to sink lower.

"Jim, what have we been doing?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well... I've known you, since we were kids. We both worked at the Ford plant. Some of our friends went to college, but we stayed put."

"Those fancy Universities don't teach anything."

"I know that."

"There is more to know, in the river, than from the Greeks."

"How so?"

"A river constantly changes—it eats away at itself—it rages—and it dries up. The mountains feed it with their glaciers, and when it becomes bone dry, it doesn't complain."


"Don, we are all going to die—some of us, sooner than others. Then, there's the disease to worry about, and not being able to fish. If you want my opinion, people with high opinions of themselves, don't live well. Just look at the mountains right now."

The purple peaks were reflected in the river water.

"Every man must decide what he is going to do—and it becomes his destiny. It's not so much what he does, but who he becomes, that matters. I'm a fisherman—I always have been. If there were no fish, it wouldn't change me. I believe there are fish. Besides, it isn't the many fish, I am looking for, but the one big bottom fish. He and me, are pals. We're the same. That's what you have to find in life—who you are, in something else. The fish and me are one. I've never been caught."

And the big bottom fish

looked at the bait

and smiled.

The End