It seemed God given inspiration, Linda thought, when the idea of taking the men fishing arrived. Men liked to fish and these men hadn’t fished in years. Between semesters in college, she had found employment with an adult day-care center and quickly fell in love with the old men who became her charges.
Although each had some degree of mental deficiency, the center encouraged day outings: trips to a zoo, to a park, anything offering a change of pace and hopefully, an enjoyable time for these senior citizens.
For days Linda excitedly prepared them for the adventure. Fishing rods and reels were borrowed and a tackle box full of lures assembled. Much time was spent teaching the men how to cast and cautioning them about the danger of sharp hooks.
When the day finally arrived, she loaded her wards into a van to take them to a secluded riverbank. A beautiful blond, eight old men and Becky, a helper eight months pregnant departed the day care center in a spirit of high adventure, whooping and hollering for the world to hear.
How Linda knew the way to the fishing hole she never said. She parked the van about a quarter of a mile beyond the last house on a dirt lane way out in the country. From there, it was only a short hike through the woods and high grass to the riverbank.
“That way Luke”, she said, handing Luke the tackle box and pointing to a dirt trail. She would follow the procession to keep from losing any stragglers. Becky decided she couldn’t walk through the woods and stayed in the van to read an adventure novel. Linda shouted “Tally-ho” and the mighty expedition headed towards the river.
About the time Linda was thinking everything was going great, it wasn’t. A fierce swarm of bees attacked her as she brushed past a bush. There was something about her hair, or the spray on it, or who knows what that caused the bees to target her. “Stop! Stop!” she cried, dancing erratically away, slapping the air wildly, then dropping to roll on the ground. Still they attacked mercilessly, stinging repeatedly.
Her charges, determined to fish and not bothered by the insects, marched resolutely down the trail to the river. Shoving her hair under her baseball cap in desperation, the bees finally ceased attacking. Linda’s tear-streaked face, arms and legs were knobby and whelped from bee-stings. And her charges were out of sight.
“Wait! Wait!” she yelled, careening through the brush. She emerged on the river bank in time to see her men putting their remembered training to work; rods with hook-dangling lures were flopping about every which way. And then one of the men, leaning back for a mighty cast, snagged the treble-hook of his green tree-frog lure in the nose of the man behind him, and heave-hoed. Crimson blood splashed everywhere. Frantic moments were spent calming the hooked man and getting him to sit down. When the lure could not be removed, the line was cut.
Linda directed Luke, the one with the best cognitive ability, to collect the poles and lead the men as they headed back to the van. Linda followed up the rear with the bleeder. “Thank God,” she thought, none had fallen into the river.
At the van the First Aid kit was missing. The only thing Linda could find to staunch the bleeding was a Maxi Pad. So, clamp, right on the nose. It didn’t look pretty, but it helped.
“Lord, help!” she exclaimed. The van’s motor was groaning weakly, refusing to start. “Ooohh, you’ve got to start!” she said, slapping the steering wheel, to no avail.
When Becky refused to walk to the farmhouse, Linda sent Luke for help. Luke’s spacey-appearance was likely to cause concern if anyone was home, but Linda had no choice. There was, and it did. But, by the grace of God, the farmer’s wife finally understood the message to call the Day Care Center and did.
Thirty minutes later, two young male attendants dressed in white slacks and shirts arrived from the center. They took one look at the guy with a green frog dangling above his mouth and a bloody Maxi Pad on his nose and, and panicked. Hurriedly, they bundled him into their car and departed in a cloud of rural dust to seek medical treatment.
Sometime later, Linda, now barely able to see through swollen eyelids, decided their rescuers had forgotten them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t still be entertaining seven men who felt adventuresome. Again, Luke was sent to the farmhouse to ask for help.
Eventually, this mighty troop was rescued and Linda received belated and greatly needed medical treatment for her numerous stings. And Linda lived to tell her tale of woe to her future father-in-law.
“Well, Linda,” Jim said, “seeing how successful this trip was, I can’t wait until you take ‘em dove hunting.”
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I liked this Virgil... maybe it was because I too had a lure stuck on my nose while river fishing... I had to wake my wife a 2 am to help extract hook. Funny parts.. maxi pad... and dove hunting line. I think this is probably from 1st person experience!!