Gone Fishin’

by Jim

In the 70s, one Saturday morning my wife said, “I think I’ll go over to the new mall and look around.” “Oh no,” I said to myself. I said out loud, “I’m going fishing.” “OK,” she said, “But we are out of money and the battery is dead on the truck.” “I’ll make do.”

I called my friend Jason. He was there in an hour. We loaded the truck with sleeping bags, camping stove, ice chest, a dozen eggs, bacon, and beer. Next came the fishing poles, four or five of them. We take extras in case they get hung up, or we have to cut the line.

Our house sat on a small hill, so we pushed the truck. It rolled down the hill and I jumped in. Switch on, popped the clutch, it fired. Hey, we are off to Circle K to get gas and a six-pack just in case. A few bills and change and we were on the way. Give it a shove and we are running. The lake was about 60 miles away.

Just as we got there it started raining, not bad, but a sprinkle. I parked under some trees.

We walked down to the boat dock. Just as we got there a man came out and locked the door behind him. “Hey,” I yelled, “We want to rent a boat.” “I’m going home,” he said. “You can take that row boat, but there is a big storm on the way. That’s why I’m leaving.” I said, “Who do I pay?” “Got me,” he laughed. He got in a truck and left.

We rowed the boat back to our campsite. It had been a while since we had used oars. Our arms were hurting. “Must be too much pushing that truck,” I said. My friend said, “Or old age.” We both laughed. We got back, got our fishing tackle, so-called bait, and took off. I’d noticed in the past that fish bite in the rain.

It wasn’t long before I got a big catfish. A few minutes later, Jason got one. It was almost the same size, about two or three pounds. Within an hour we had caught five fish. We had them on the stringers. It was raining harder and the wind was blowing, so we headed for land. Just as we got to the beach, I yelled, “Free Fish.”

A guy came out of his tent and said, “I’ll take them.” I told him he had to clean them and give me the chain back. “No problem.”

Jason said, “I’ll take the boat back and you cook.” But then it was raining so had, I had to cook in the cab of the truck. I finished the bacon and was frying eggs, when Jason came back. He was soaked. Good thing it was summertime.

As we were eating I said, “We will have to sleep in the cab.” “No, I’ll sleep under the trees.” I was surprised when I woke up in the morning. A lot of people had left during the night. Rain I guess. We loaded the truck and found two guys to help us push. We got the truck on the road. In about an hour a guy in a jeep came by. “Need a push?” “Yep.” In no time we were driving down the highway. About half way home, we stopped at a little town. It had a gas station, a bar, and a hamburger joint.

I got two cheeseburgers and two ice teas. Just as I was going to pay the lady, someone yelled, “I got that.” I looked and it was the guy that I gave the fish to. He and his wife and kids were having lunch. “Loved the fish,” he said.

We waved. We had left the truck running, so we were on our way again. When we pulled in the yard, the wife came out. “So how was the trip?” ”Great,” I said. “So what did that cost us?” she said sarcastically. “Not a dime,” I answered.

As I walked toward the house, I was smiling and thinking, “Not one dime.”

July, 2012

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