Rubbing salt in the wound …


When my dating life in high school would bomb, which was often, my mother used to tell me there “were plenty of fish in the sea.” Well, her saltwater admonition lives on. As an old guy in Florida told me a couple of weeks ago, he practices ‘catch and release’ – but he skips the ‘catch’ part. I can relate, pal. I can relate.

———————–

March 30, 2015

Ellen/Reid: There was a short article in the paper this weekend about how the body can acclimate itself to colder temps. Based on this aging body, I ain’t buying it. No way, no how. I had to wear a fleece headband and gloves Saturday and Sunday, and I’m sick of cold.

The trip to Florida to see Dave. H. was good in most respects. The drive down in daylight went fine and is a much better option vs. nighttime naps at rest stops which stretch out the trip and exhaust me.  We had a lot of fun at a Cajun thing in Pompano Beach plus just lounging/talking at his place, which is just so nice. He and Jane have done a spectacular job on renovating every single thing in their house. The real downer this time was the fishing. It was just a total disaster for three straight days and might be the final nail in the I-have-no-clue-how-to-fish coffin. We spent $$$ for a guide for tarpon and could see the 100 – 200 lb. fish only feet away from the boat just outside Naples.

I didn't even feel the bite. But the elderly woman in the wheelchair next to me out-fished me big time.

Asleep at the switch: I didn’t even feel the bite. The elderly woman in the wheelchair to my right out-fished me big time.

But the four hour excursion was essentially an expensive lesson in fly casting. We were using a 9 weight rod and we just couldn’t master the double haul and effortless motion of the guide who could wing it out there 40 yards with a couple of snaps of the wrist. The guide was unmerciful in his unending criticism, however nicely made. It only underlined that my self-taught ways don’t work. I can get away with faulty mechanics in Wyoming, but not on big water with manly equipment. It was utterly deflating. To rub salt in the wound, the next day we paid $40 each for a ‘drift boat’ to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other folks and out of 30 people on board, guess who were the only two that didn’t land a fish? People to our immediate right and left got bites time and again. That they yelled in glee only added to our torture. An elderly lady in a wheelchair, coincidentally named Emma, even caught big ones. I told Dave that I quit. It was just awful. Our third day was on a charter boat, but it was sort of weird. The first mate did all the hooking and pulling in which kind of denies you the fishing experience. The rods had to stay in holders, and a 10 year old kid from Indiana caught the biggest fish, about a 15 pound king mackerel.

Dave and I are left to wonder 'where are the fish?' and why the hell we couldn't catch anything.

Dave and I are left to wonder ‘where are the fish?’ and why the hell we couldn’t catch anything.

Yours truly got only a small shark and a bonito, an inedible tuna, and Dave didn’t fish at all. It gets tiring to hear the captain say “You should’ve been here last week.” The hell with that. What a unmitigated disaster. Really, it’s enough to make your old man sell his boat and gear. But I did get back in one piece and no worse for the wear. Reid, Waze was amazing in its detail. It helped me avoid a few situations.

One situation that I could have avoided but didn’t was a speeding ticket in South Carolina a couple of Sundays ago. It’s my first citation in more than 30 years. I was going over the limit. What got me riled up is my foot got heavier as I witnessed what a trashy mess the roadside is in backwater SC. What a bunch of slobs/’necks down there. But you don’t dare mention that to a trooper. He would’ve slapped the cuffs on me and I’d still be in the clink.

The turf war continues out back between the resident blue birds and some chickadee toughs. They’re wrangling over the nesting box and the blue birds seem to be winning as of now. I can see the momma blue bird sticking her head out of the box. No doubt she has a clutch of eggs, but with these cold temps, she’s not straying too far.

Reid, I’d love to hear about Adam’s bachelor party (you can save some of the sordid details). Your mom and I would welcome any other news. Ellen, your countdown has started, and it’s good the St. Paul schools already gave you time off to prep for the birth. It’s so exciting. I’m trying to guess names but know that I’d never guess the right one in a million years. That your students made little outfits was just too cute. At least it will be another little girl, so Emma’s old wardrobe will come in handy. I’ll catch up with both of you sooner than later.

Love, Dad

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