My husband is a very scientific fisherman. Reads everything he can about catching fish. When we go fishing, he's in charge of the location, the lures, trolling or casting or jigging on the bottom. He always thinks if he hasn't gotten a hit in the first 15 minutes, the fish aren't there, and we need to move on.
I am in the other end of the boat. I am in charge of the anchor. I just get my line in and I hear, "Well, there's nothing here; let's move on."
I reel in my line and pull up the anchor. Get to the next place, put the anchor down, get the line in the water — "Well, there's nothing here. Pull up the anchor, wouldja?”
My question: Is there a medal being given for superior anchor management? Because I think I qualify.
Opening fishing weekend usually found us in a boat, on a northern Minnesota lake, with some good friends. One year, the trip started out like a runaway train wreck and got worse from there.
First thing, our friend hadn't fastened the latch on the boat hitch, and when he stopped at the red light in the first little town up the North Shore, the boat — a very large boat — slammed into the back of his shiny, new SUV, putting a lovely, big puncture wound through the trunk. Dang! Was he ever mad!
After a long, silent drive, we found that our rental cabin had been rented to someone else. Finally, we found a ratty place, convinced ourselves that the strange smell coming from the crawl space didn’t matter, but boy, were we hungry! So “let's call it a day and have our opening night steak dinner.” Well, our friend discovered that, back home, when he'd re-arranged the fishing gear to fit in just one more tackle box, he forgot to put some things back into the boat — like all the food, except the bag with the mustard, ketchup, pancake syrup and toilet paper. Back to town for dinner that night.
So, next day, we'd better get out there and catch some fish, right? First trip out, I kept hanging up on weeds, and everybody would reel in while we poled over to untangle my lure. Then, we'd go back to where we were and toss our lines back in. And it would happen again. After about four times, Tom noticed I was just sitting there, looking at the scenery. I was stuck again, but didn't want to tell anyone. He quietly reached over and cut my line.
So, because I wasn't fishing, I was in charge of driving the boat. The fisher-people would point, and I'd do my best to get us there, only one time, I cut a sharp angle, and the motor lever got stuck. We started spinning around in circles with everybody's lines still out.
First, I couldn't stop it because it was jammed. Then I couldn't stop it because we were all laughing so hard. Except Tom, who had gone out on the covered bow. We were going around and around, gaining speed, and he could only hold his rod straight up, hang on and yell. Yow! Ow! Yee-ow! Wow! Like I said, bonafide train wreck. We cut it short and went home.
So, the canoe trip. Here we were, coming down the Kawishiwi River on our first canoe adventure, and the howling, 50 mph winds were going up. It had rained every day, all five days, and no fish. We were with another couple, he being a wilderness guide and she a former camp counselor, both very experienced campers.
By this time, I believe they had had a little spat, and she was spending most of her time in the tent, reading paperbacks. No singing around the campfire for us. Tom was still gimping around in his burned-up boot that I had tried to dry out by the campfire, and our sleeping bags were soggy. It wasn’t looking good to make it to base camp that night, so the hot showers and grilled steaks were probably going to be a “not happening.”
No campsites nearby and darkness coming on, we put up our tents on the first chunk of solid rock we found. I remember going to sleep, wondering if that very tall red pine above us would come crashing down in the night. Next morning, a miracle happened. The sun came out, and we could go home. The canoe trip was done. And we didn’t ever have to do it again! “All in, all done” and “Done is good” have always been my live-by mottos.
But sometimes they lead to trouble. Next time: Disasters I have known.
Claudia Myers is a former costume designer for The Baltimore Opera, Minnesota Ballet and has taught design and construction at The College of St Scholastica. She is a national award-winning quilter, author and a local antique dealer, specializing in Persian rugs.