Rockin’ the Boat

Grampa Jim was a loving and kind man who did anything he could for us.  He was slim and short, only five foot two inches tall.  His hair was grey and thin.  He sported a neatly trimmed mustache.  On the left side of his face, right in front of his ear, he had a lump nearly the size of a golf ball.   He never worried about the lump even though he looked funny with it.  It never hurt him or bothered him in any way.

My wish to go fishing got through to him, and he agreed to take me to Little Paw-Paw Lake to fish from a boat.  Dad dropped us off.  Grampa never owned a car nor did he know how to drive, but he always got to where he wanted to go by walking, and asking for rides.

The lake comes up to the front door of the house next to the road. The owner rented row boats.  Little Paw-Paw is unique in that power boats are forbidden. The result is that there are no water skiers or speed boats tearing up the lake.   The lake is small, serene, and quiet.  There are houses on the lake, but much of the shoreline is still wild and undeveloped.  Gramps and I rented a boat, and I rowed out into the lake with my gear and a can full of worms.  The water was smooth as glass. Only the wake of our boat and paddles disturbed it.  Occasionally, a fish jumped nearby with a huge splash; making my adrenalin flow.

A third of the way across the lake we stopped and set the anchor.  I baited my hooks and swung out the bobber.  I used the bamboo pole that Grampa Jim bought for me. I waited patiently for the bobber to dip.  Here I was, fishing in the middle of the lake, in deep water.  Oh how I had dreamed of this moment.  I envisioned pulling in lots of fish when out in the deep waters.  With all the fish jumping around us, I thought we’d see non-stop action; nothing happened.  After awhile, I pulled up anchor and rowed to the lily pads near the shore.  I read that fish lurked in lily pads.  This time, we anchored about 30 feet from shore at the edge of the lily pads.  We’re going to fill the boat with fish at this spot, I thought.  Again, there were no bites; not a single one.  Gramps started to get antsy.  I was not a swimmer, so sitting in a boat was exciting enough for me.  The least little bobble of the boat terrified me.

Gramps couldn’t take it any longer, his bladder was aching.  Suddenly the boat began rocking and rolling as Grampa Jim stood up.  I hung on for dear life with visions of drowning.  I hollered at him to sit down, but nature called him.  He stood up straight, turned away from me, and took a whiz.  I sat there holding on for dear life. He rocked the boat again when he sat down. I was frozen with terror.

It turned out that Grampa Jim’s whiz was the most excitement I had that day.  I didn’t get a single bite during four hours of fishing. Dad came to pick us up, and asked how we did.

“There are no fish in this lake,” I responded. Grampa Jim didn’t say a word.

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