I went fishing last weekend. Big mistake!
Fred is a fisherman. I mean, A FISHERMAN! He goes a lot and he catches a lot. Except when I go along. Strange things seem to happen when I go fishing with him. Like the time my $350 glasses fell off my face and into the lake, never to be retrieved. Or like the time I locked the keys in the car. Well, you get the idea.
I tagged along with Fred this time because the grandson was going too. Grandson loves to fish and he’s already better at it than I am. Anyway, Fred and I and grandson packed all of our gear, swimming suits, sunglasses, sun screen, towels, sandals, chewing gum, hairbrushes, lipstick, soft drinks, sandwiches, chips, fruit, crackers, water and the daily newspaper. I’ve got to do the crossword puzzle, you know! Fred said, “Are you taking all of this stuff. We’re only going to be gone for a day?” Oh, I forgot, we also packed a box of nightcrawlers.
Fred always makes fun of me when I go along. He says that I eat all of the days’ food and drink before 10 a.m., leaving nothing for noon or later. That’s not true. However, this time, I will admit that I got into the crackers and chips on the way to the lake! The ride was boring
Fred is a master with his boat. Of course it has a motor in the back to make it go fast. It also has a little thingy in the front that he flips down into the water to make the boat move around a little bit, here and there. I think he calls it a trolling motor. Anyway, he is really good at positioning the boat in just the right way so that one can fish in just the right spot. You know, where the fish aren’t! At least it seems that way.
After positioning the boat in the proper location, Fred began to attend to his own fishing equipment while I properly instructed the grandson in the proper etiquette of impaling a nightcrawler on the hook, more properly called, a jig. With great aplomb I taught the grandson how to bait his hook and when he asked if he could cast the line into the water I answered, “No, you’d better let me do it this first time. There is a right way and a wrong way to cast and we don’t want to get grampa upset by messing things up.”
Now please keep in mind that it is very hot and kind of windy and I am full of crackers and soda by this time. Not that any of those things excuse my lack of expertise in handling a rod and reel. But, hey, how hard can it be to push down on the button and whip the hook and line deftly out into the favored fishing spot? I’ve watched Fred do it a jillion times and, besides, my own Mother used to fish and do it and though I refused any instruction from her as a smart teenager, I knew that I would be good at it.
I placed the rod in both hands and gave a mighty swing upward and outward, knowing that the length of my cast would rival any of Fred’s. Trouble is, when it came time to turn loose of the button that would allow the line to unspool from the reel I let go of the reel and the pole. With both hands!
Soon I was screaming and grandson was screaming. “Oh no! I tossed the whole thing into the lake. Do something Fred!” By this time grandson and grandma were both screaming and pointing at the rapidly disappearing rod and reel, some ten feet from our boat. Fred, shaking his head, feverishly tried casting with his own line, hoping to hook the sinking pole. No such luck!
Lest you think, “What else could go wrong?” let me add that the rod and reel were borrowed from a friend. Or at least, they used to be a friend.
Does this story have a moral? No. Other than that Fred is going fishing again tomorrow. I’m not going. I wasn’t asked.
Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or juditabler@awomansview.