“Where’s Daddy?” Caroline asked, rushing in.
“Gone fishing,” her mother answered.
Elizabeth smiled to herself, thinking how her husband Danny often answered that way. It was his way of saying, who knows and who cares? Today was his first day out after weeks of terrible gout and Elizabeth was happy for him to steal a few peaceful hours on the lake. They had bought the house when they first married almost thirty years earlier and it still held that same romance they shared for each other. Caroline and Jimmy were born in the front room and the lake brought joy to them all.
“I’m serious, where is he? His boat’s gone and a storm’s coming.”
Elizabeth snapped out of her reverie and looked out the window. The bright clear morning had turned dismal. Her eyes strained to see across the murky water. It’s not like Danny to stay out in bad weather, Lord.
“Call Jimmy; he’ll know what to do.”
Two miles up the lake was a cove where bass loved to play around a clump of dead trees. Danny steered around the point and set down his anchor at the edge of the cove. He secured the bait and cast his line.
Danny popped a drink can and pulled his tattered fishing hat over his eyes. Danny was never good at waiting; that’s why he fished. It always slowed him down and taught him patience. Lizzie, as he lovingly called her, had made him wait two whole days after he asked her to marry him before giving him an answer. He remembered bringing Jimmy to the cove while the midwife attended to Lizzie at Caroline’s birth.
He closed his eyes and his mind drifted with the boat. It was nice to be retired from town mayor and to have no deadlines, no meetings, and no phone calls. Jimmy suggested once that he should run for office and fish for votes—to be a fisher of men. “Well it’s Biblical!” Jimmy had protested seriously. Danny had always been a believer but back in the early days he had kept his faith private. Jimmy had always been more vocal about the things of the Lord. It hadn’t surprised anyone when he’d declared he was going to be a preacher.
Caroline was different. Danny pondered the years she was away from God, her family, and reality. It wasn’t until her car accident up north that things changed for the better. Thank you, God, for sending Michael. He isn’t just a wonderful doctor; he turned out to be a man true to His faith in God. Danny smiled at the memory of his daughter’s home-coming and turning her life back to God. The engagement announcement was the biggest shock but they had all adjusted. She…
Danny opened his eyes toward the sound. His drink can had blown into the water. He reached for it but the wind caught it, making it skim across the top of the water. That’s when he noticed the storm clouds overhead and the water splashing about him.
“Now you’ve done it,” Danny told himself, reeling in his line.
He pulled the starter cord of the motor but nothing happened. In disgust he pulled up anchor and reached for the oars. In those few short minutes the small boat drifted further into the cove. Using an oar, he pushed away from a jagged stump, but the wind spun the boat, propelling it into another. Danny didn’t see the low-hanging limb until it slammed into his forehead.
Jimmy looked worried. “It’s not like Dad to be out in a storm.”
“Well, where does he usually fish?” Caroline’s voice trembled.
Jimmy grabbed his father’s binoculars. “I’ll drive around to the lookout at Dead Wood Cove.”
Elizabeth had been standing at the window silently praying, waiting for Jimmy to drive over from the parsonage. “I know he’s OK, son. Just find him and bring him home.”
“I will Mum; just keep praying.”
Jimmy parked his jeep at the end of the cul-de-sac overlooking the cove. By the time he arrived at the edge of the small lookout, he was drenched. Straining to see through the driving rain, he scanned the eerie cove through the misting lenses. A streak of lightning flashed across the water. In its brightness he saw his father frantically scooping water from his boat. His mother was right. He’s OK. Thank you, Lord. Jimmy ran back to the jeep and radioed for help.
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