By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for sun-scream!
Sometimes when my husband can't find any playmates, he resorts to asking me if I would like to go fishing with him. "What about the kids?" "Oh, they can come, too," as if they had any choice. This once in a blue moon invitation comes at a price. "What time do we have to leave and when will we get home?"
Leaving at 5a.m. wasn't too bad except the human-alarm-clocks were "dinging" and "coca-doodle-doing" at 4a.m. while yelling "Get up, the fish are waiting. Are you going fishing or not?" My mind screamed "Not" but I grabbed coffee and was tugged and pulled to the pick-up truck. Hubby had already connected the barge and had it loaded with four ice chests, five hundred fishing poles, and six tackle boxes. I wondered if the fleet was going out.
Now I must say that Dr. Hubby does try to take care of his playmates when he goes fishing. He had loaded the port-a-potty into the barge and had even remembered toilet paper. The folding roof was in place and ready to be raised at the first hint of sunburn. He had two boxes of Honey Buns, Dr. Peppers, sufficient Diet Cokes and dark Hershey bars to see me through the day, and an apple. He had the aerator and ice chest for the minnows, frozen ice jugs for the caught fish, and a tiny dip net, oh, and frozen hot dogs. I'm not sure if they were "the bait of last resort" or if that was his idea of lunch.
It took an hour to get to the lake. There is a perfectly good lake not twenty minutes from the house but evidently the fish had all agreed to have a reunion at the lake sixty miles away. The children, true to their nature, slept the whole way. I thought I would take advantage of the situation and have a conversation with my new blue moon playmate without interruptions, but after five minutes of hook, line, and sinkers, I lapsed into a voluntary coma.
I came to when we stopped at Fishing Bait and Tackle Shop #1. "Why are we stopping here?" I asked. "Got to get some minnows," said Cat Fish Charlie. "What about all those tackle boxes full of lures and jiggy things?" I wanted to know. "That's in case the crappie don't bite and we have to switch to bass," said the American Angler Wanna-Be. Quickly he hopped out and as quickly returned. "They only had two dozen minnows. We need at least four dozen," and off we went to Fishing Bait and Tackle Shop #2 for additional minnows.
We arrived at the lake just as the sun was coming up. "Wow, look at that!" said the nine-year-old; "it's beautiful". "Yes, that's the sun. It comes up every morning. If you get up early tomorrow you can see it again," I said. "That's ok" said the six-year-old. "I've seen it before."
Launching the barge was a lesson in frustration due to the additional playmate weight or possibly due to the low water level of the lake. I vote for the low water level. After backing twenty-five yards further out into the lake, the barge floated off the trailer with us in it. Dr. Hubby moored us to a rock, parked the trailer and we were ready to find the crappie hole.
I have an exact formula for fishing. It is a ratio of one minnow per caught fish every three minutes and it was working this morning. The two children and I were pulling in fish faster than Dr. Hubby could take them off our lines, toss the fish in the ice chest, replace broken line, straighten out bent hooks, catch a minnow and re-bait our hooks. I could bait my own hook and did so…after a while. An hour later, Dr. Hubby caught his first fish.
None of the boats that passed by our crappie hole stayed very long, possibly due to the six-year-old shouting "Bite Me" as they trolled by. I guess they didn't know he was talking to the fish.
Once the novelty of fishing wore off and the formula ceased to work (about forty-nine minutes), the eating frenzy began. First the children attacked the Honey Buns. These were washed down with Dr. Pepper's and Gatorades followed approximately fifteen minutes later with potty time…off the end of the boat for the six-year-old and port-a-potty with me as the human privacy curtain for the nine-year-old. Had I been conscious when we left, I would have brought the DS Nintendo's, the portable DVD player, and books to offset the sugar high run-from-one-end-of-the-barge-to-the-other that was soon to follow.
By 9:30 a.m. the temperature had reached 89 degrees. Tempers were getting short but we were still long on minnows. I knew from past experience that as long as there were minnows, there would be fishing. I picked up a pole, told the children to do the same, and we began baiting hooks. "Ooops, that one fell off? That's ok, just put two on this time…and sling your line out there really hard." When Dr. Hubby would bring in a fish, I nicely caught one minnow for him…and threw a handful overboard when his back was turned. Soon it was "Dang! We are out of minnows. Guess it's time to go."
With the barge loaded, the fishing gear and the sweaty lifejackets stowed away, and the air conditioning running full blast in the truck, Dr. Hubby turned and said "Well, did everybody have a good time?" The two children already huddled under blankets, pillow pets scrunched under their head, eyes droopy managed a "Yes, the best…it was ….really….really…fun…"
And it was…in a funny masochistic sort of way. Now when is the next blue moon?