Sunday, November 26, 2006

GHOSTS IN THE FIRE

See also THE "GULLYWAMPUS" STRIKES AGAIN! from October, where I tell about Bruce, my Fathers best friend.



Dear Bruce;
In 1983 I decided that I needed to make a major lifestyle change. I stopped spending my hard earned money on smoke and drink and in an effort to get back to the way I was raised, began purchasing Fishing and Camping gear. I bought a $100 boat and trailer, a $800 dollar motor and put about $1000 worth of high Tech amenities on board.
So I started to do a lot of fishing and a little camping and as soon as you stop chasing women you will find one. I found Yvette and she was sweet and a Redhead and wanted for me to take her Camping. So I began to plan a Campout that would be held at the location of Toledo Bend Lake. Toledo Bend was where Dad and I had had our very best times and I was eager to go there; part of getting back to the way I was raised. There is a point and an Island that I have a lot in common with.
So Yvette and I set out for Toledo Bend and Patroon Bay.
We renamed it "Pat Boone Bay"

We went to that point and Island where there is the greatest little Primitive Campground in the world and I told her about the night that Dad, Bruce and I had caught a lot of fish on Rubber Band Trotlines from this very spot.

There was a group of 4 men that were camped down the way and they had High Dollar boats and huge coolers that from the sound of things after dark probably contained beer. One night they were being particularly raucous with a huge fire blazing so Yvette and I went down to investigate.
Yes, they had beer and they were old timers we pulled up a stump and were offered beers and we drank and listened to the storys the Greybeards had to tell. They talked of gigging frogs and Yvette asked if it hurt the frogs.
They and I laughed and told her “not a bit”.
They talked about the fish they had caught on the lake and the places they had caught them.
There is an old trestle bridge, underwater with a ghost that lives down there.
There is a place you can catch a lot of fish, but there is natural gas bubbling to the surface and on a calm day you don't dare light a smoke.
There are Catfish as big as Volkswagons and men in Asylums that have seen them.

Yvette listened in wide eyed amazment but I recognized these stories as 90% pure bullshit. One of them turned and looked at the Island that stood 100 yards off the point. He said that there was a time when there was no better fishing than right off this particular point.
He said, in fact that there had been a young boy who along with his Dad and another man had caught 180 Crappie, Bass and Catfish in one night off this point with a Rubber Band Trotline.

My gaze moved out of the fire to the speaker.
“When was that?” I asked.
“About 15 years ago” he says.


I look at the Island, I look at the point, and I look at the speaker. I look back into the fire and feel the short hairs standing up on my neck and the chill creeping down my arms. I poke the fire with a stick and watch the sparks shatter skyward and melt into the stars.

“That boy was me” I say "and we had three Rubber Band Trotlines"
“ Well then, youngster” he says “ Why don’t cha get us another one of those beers. “
I can't tell if he is looking at me like I''m full of BS, or if he might believe me.
I got us another beer and said nothing else about it.

Bruce, this is a true story.
I really did run into these four ol'timers that had made us into a legend!
I didn’t try to convince them that I was really the boy in their story because, well, they wouldnt have believed it! But there are times when I replay this in my mind before I fall asleep at night when I get the feeling they knew I was that boy before the story ever got told.
In case you don't remember Bruce, the last thing you told Dad was "I have been standing up in Canoes all my life Jack" right before we went over.

Love, Steve

(to be continued, where I will explain the workings of the "Rubber Band Trotline")

2 comments:

Mother of Invention said...

Don't know what we're in for here, but something tells me you tell a good fish tale yerself!!

steve said...

FISH TALE?
This is all just a fairly dry account of events that occurred when I was a young man.