“Marathon football games are fogging my brain. I’m going outside for awhile.”
Mary knew announcements made before half time would fall on deaf ears, so she tried again with more emphasis.
”Did you say something, Honey?” His eyes never left the screen.
“I said I’m going out to sit on the pier and do some fishing.”
“ Okay, Sweetheart,” he mumbled, “Have fun.”
She decided he had no resistance to televised sports in which helmeted gladiators ran around like bulldozers gone wild, and all just to hurl an oval ball over a goal post. For this they get tons of money?
As if bitten by a giant tarantula, Jim threw both arms straight up in the air and leaped out of his big ole boy recliner. By the time he yelled, “Touch down,” she was already out the door.
This smart and spunky woman of many talents had better things to do around her beautiful Florida home situated on the end of a canal. She grabbed her favorite fishing pole and strode across the flower-bordered patio and down three steps to the dock to sit on a little stool built just for casting and hoping.
After a while she figured hope alone wouldn’t put fish in the pan. Maybe they’re mysteriously absent because they had to stay after school today. On impulse, she called to Jim through the screen door.
“Woo-Hoo, can you hear me?”
“Huh? Yes, dear.”
“I’m going to float around out here in the little aluminum boat the kids gave us and see if I can convince something fishy to show up and fall for me hook, line and sinker.”
She thought that silly one-liner was pretty funny but it the passed right over his head and into some end zone with twilight.
“Okay, Honey. Love ya…”
Mary had lived near the water all her life and felt perfectly safe searching for elusive Redfish or Mackerel. Okay…where are you guys hiding? She checked her crab traps but they were empty too.
Nabbing anything with scales became an afternoon obsession. She pushed a button on her nifty new trolling motor and felt the one-person watercraft begin to move down the peaceful canal like a sleepy turtle. She wanted to get closer to the bay where the water was deeper.
After frustrating and futile efforts to lure anything even shaped like a fish, she realized the sunlight was disappearing fast. I need to get back home.
The little motor refused to start. Its battery was definitely dead, and not just playing possum as she had accused it. The only thing with any charge was the wind blustering around trying to scare up a storm. That’s when she discovered there were no oars on board. Uh Oh. There’s trouble right here in River City!
The tide began to draw her into the open bay waters and toward shore. With no way to steer, all she could do was go with the flow. I guess this is what it feels like to be up the creek without a paddle… except this is no babbling brook and I’m surrounded by aluminum. “Oh Lord, help.”
She gripped the sides of her ridiculously small sea-going vessel and rode the menacing waves like a middle-aged surfer babe. When the dangerous dinghy finally rested on sand she jumped out to look for a phone, praying her husband had escaped from pigskin heaven by now. He answered on the first ring. Mary did not stand on ceremony.
“Come get me!”
“Why, darlin’? Are you stuck under the dock?” She was not amused.
“No, I’m stuck way over here on the beach at this little snack shack.”
He was fully alert now. “What? I thought you were right out back -- fishing.”
“Please hurry. I’m wet and hungry.”
Jim took off to rescue his damsel in distress, although he was still puzzled how she disappeared while he was rooting for the home team. An unplanned ride over the bounding main didn’t seem to hurt her as much as the failure to bag a Bass.
She was exhausted and teary-eyed. “I really tried to catch supper. ”
Jim hugged her to his heart.
On the way home, they stopped at a seafood diner and picked up the special of the day with all the trimmings. Sometimes it’s just easier to let someone else do the cooking…and the catching.
At least she ended up with some fish, and that’s all she really had wanted in the first place.
Based on a True Story experienced by a dear mother-in-law whose sweet Jim passed away last month. When the tears are finally spent, I am confident her delightful humor will still be intact.
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