Forget baseball, I was pumped up to fish for trout
Posted: Thursday April 20, 2006 5:03PM; Updated: Thursday April 20, 2006 5:51PM
I live at the top of a bosky Pennsylvania hill that slopes sharply down to a creek. In early April, honeysuckle scents the air, woodland birds chant springtime chatter like backyard gossips, and the sun filtering through the tulip poplars dapples the moss-covered boulders. Normally, I can sit on my deck for hours without seeing another Keystone Stater. But on Opening Day, I can't get out of my driveway.
It's not that raptor-like Philadelphia Phillies fans have swooped down on me. The pickups stacked up in my driveway -- and for miles along the narrow road leading to civilization -- are left by crazed fishermen. At 6 a.m. on the trout season's traditional Saturday opener, the banks of the stream are clumped with anglers eyeing clumps of stocked trout. At 7 a.m., those anglers are as tightly packed as sardines, which are not stocked.
It was just before my third Opening Day that I decided as long as I can't drive, I might as well cast. For verisimilitude, I asked my neighbor, Lindsey Flexner, to come along. He actually knew how to fish. "First, you'll need a fishing license," he advised. And so, the day before the home opener, I drove to DiFilippo's General Store on the edge of Kennett Square, a drowsy little hamlet that bills itself as the "Mushroom Capital of the World."
That may be true, but it is also the world's apostrophe capital. One three-block stretch of State Street boasts Sam's Sub Shop, Kirk's Martial Arts, Samantha's Cafe, Torelli's Men's Shop, My Sister's Shoes, Harrington's Coffee Company, Stephen's Menswear, Burton's Barber Shop, Rebecca Cooper's Consignment Boutique, Marston's Furniture, Clifford's Hair Fashions, Fran Keller's Eatery, B.B. Wolf's Restaurant, Kim's Nails and Johnson's Catering. DiFilippo's, which is across the street from Fleming's Used Cars and catty-corner to Russ's Transmissions and Andy's Autotech, has a cryptic sign out front that reads:
HEY DADDY-O! MONEY ORDERS -- KEYS TOP WE MAY HAV IT
Hey, Daddy-O! I always imagined that DiFilippo's interior was decked out like some Rat Pack bachelor pad, and that DiFilippo himself was a Vegas hipster who spoke in the finger-snapping lingo favored by Dino, Sammy and Frankie: "Absopositively!" and "How's your clyde, Clyde?"
But the elderly fellow hunched over the register was more dinosaur than lounge lizard. I asked if he was DiFilippo. "Yep," said Leonard DiFilippo. I ask if the store was DiFilippo's or DiFilippos'. "Singular," he said. "Used to be plural, but my brother up and quit."