Fishing Trip Delux

Recently a very close friend called me and asked if I would like to join in on a fishing trip that he and a few others were planning. I quickly checked the current weather reports on my computer and smiled. With a little boy grin on my aged face, I happily accepted his invite. I could not wait to begin gathering my various tidbits of gear together for the planned outing. But first, I needed to finish my usual morning routine of animal care and finishing my morning coffee.

What started as just another humdrum, listless day, had now become an incredible chance to enjoy some peace and quiet. And an opportunity to take a much-needed rest from society’s clutches. And then too maybe, if the Great Fishing God allows, provide a delicious meal that can not be bought in any store. Just the thought of the trip causes my tummy to rumble in anticipation of such delights.

Closing my eyes, I can smell the intense aroma of garlic butter, with toasted finely minced onions, and a touch of lemon juice. Memories of the joy and excitement at hooking a big one or even a little one for that matter flash before me. Hearing the sudden zinging sound of the reel, and seeing the tip of the rod begin its dance against the intense thrashing and pulling, as the catch fight for his freedom. And the exquisite taste of dinner that came afterward.

So it’s off to the attic to search for my lovely treasures gear. With my dapper four-legged bodyguard beside me, I stand before the rising staircase leading to the loft of my flat ( apartment). The walls are somewhat narrow and very in need of a coating of paint. The entrance to the loft itself is a dark shade of brown, and barely half the size of a standard door. Since I rarely go into the attic, I am not surprised by the condition of its entrance.

The climb to attic stairs is quite a challenge. The steepness of the stairwell, and the narrowness of the walls, would challenge even an experienced mountain goat. I climbed them as I would while ascending the Matterhorn. All that fails me would be the green-colored Austrian Mountaineer’s hat with the typically known feather, crossed bandoleros of rope, and a pair of tight-fitting leather shorts. When I think about this, I have to laugh. The picture of my full figure now in a pair of leather shorts, unimaginable! I often wonder what sort of feather they might use, Eagle or Chicken? Onward my dapper Cat! Keep me safe as I venture forward into the realm of the past.

Opening the door, I immediately detect the faint lingering smell of dust, cobwebs, and age. The flooring planks creak with each step as I make my way forward. The underside of the roof and rafters shadowed in dark brown and smudged with substances known only to the Gods themselves. In some ways, I imagined that I had stepped into a B-grade horror movie from the late ’40s. The shadows, along with the stillness of the air, and the sound of my steps, might have given even Boris Karloff the shivers.

To begin my search, I would require something to chase away the shadows and whatever crawly things that might be lurking about. My faithful and robust bodyguard padded safely behind me, hardly gives me any sense of well being, to say the least. Brave, he is not unless one attempted to move his dinner dish, that meant war and that claws would show.

I remembered there was a hanging pull cord for the light, but finding it was another matter. But soon, my eyes became accustomed to the gloom, and I was able to see the dangling cord. I gave the tie a gentle tug, and instantly the shadows gave way to yellowish blue light. Situated about the dusty room were various stacks of mover’s boxes, plastic bags stuffed to capacity, and several medium-sized wardrobes. Against the farthest wall in front of me was the treasure trove that I wanted, and now my excavation could begin in earnest. Seeing the accumulation of things that I had saved over the years, each with its own specific special memory, caused a slight tightening of my chest. I still can remember standing steadfast against the full force unwavering determination of my wife, as she tried time and time again to convince me to accept her logical argument that all my stuff was taking up space and suppling housing for homeless spiders and other crawlies. And it needed to go, thereby making room for more helpful things, such as maybe a nice handmade workbench for her hobby of potting flowers. Better still, I could do away with my coveted items and build some beautiful cherrywood cabinets for her collection of rare porcelain dolls.

How could an adult woman, 60 years old, have collect dollies? Back then, I ask myself silently, knowing better than verbalizing such a comment aloud while she’s near enough to hear; this would be a dangerous mistake. Honestly, I have no desire to eat cold beans and toast for dinner.

They say that marriage is a working relationship; give and take between two people in love. That day I seemed to think that the gives and takes were more like; she gave the order, and I took them. Smiling, I could still remember how she’d use her magic, a soft smile, and a side-long glance with her lovely puppy dog brown eyes, to get her will. Usually, I would relent, but not now, I am standing as tall as a Red Wood Tree and as robust as granite. Fish beware, the frying pan awaits.

Digging about amongst my treasures, I experience several long moments of, ah-ha, and I’ll be damned, so that is where I put that, moments. Such things as a pair of long lost leather work gloves, a hiding place for half-eaten mice. Thank you, Cat! And other odds and ends that meant nothing to anyone by myself.

Rummaging further, I came across an oddity that I had not seen before. It was a wooden box with an ornately designed lid, held closed with a wide blue satin ribbon now old and faded with age. I took the box in hand and gave it a slight shake to see if it contained anything noteworthy. The container was of thin wood and yet felt a bit weighty to my shake. So I decided to put it aside to take with me for examination later and continued on with my mission.

At last, I finally was able to find my favorite rod and reel. It was a 9ft long black beauty, bought on a whim. The reel was a real humdinger as far as reels go. Looking at my rod and reel brought many pleasant memories to mind. Summer days spent fishing and staring into the heavens to watch the stars twinkling and hoping to see an elusive shooting star. Even the memories of getting caught in sudden rainstorms and being soaked to the skin. As well as the heavenly smell of freshly caught fish, roasting on the campfire. The feeling of a cold and wet can of beer in my hand. They sit around the campfire, telling the other tales of past trips and discussing the ones that got away. Yes, there is always one that eludes the pan, and its usually the biggest one too.

I was on a roll now and more determined in my rummaging. Finally, I noticed a wadded up clump of light tan material hidden beneath a stack of cardboard boxes. I pulled this out, and to my delight, it was my first-class old fly fishing vest with all its pockets stuffed with, God only knows what, from past fishing excursions. The only thing missing now was my all-time lucky fishing hat.

Any true blue fisherman or fisherwoman knows that you must have a lucky fishing hat and polarized funky sunglasses. I mean, like in this day and age, you had to be cool, right? So the search continued. Then I found a large dark green canvas bag, much like those used by soldiers to transport their belongings. At first, I did not recognize this tote-bag. After several minutes of pushing and shoving, grunting, and cursing, I was finally able to free my prize. What I had found turned out to be the duffel bag that I had been issued during my military tour of duty. My name and service number stenciled across the front. Time had taken its toll, and the markings were bearly readable now. I had my doubts that there would be anything of use to me in this duffle, so I passed on searching it for the present. I needed that damn hat.

After several hours had passed, I decided that I had searched enough for the time being. My back had begun to make itself known, and the need to rest exerted itself. I called out for my furry guard and did not receive a response. I suppose he had gone to that secret place all felines go to when they become bored, or hungry, in which case I knew just where I would find him.

A short time passed, and I finally had my gear scattered about my feet on the living room floor. After dumping the entire contents of the duffle, I had my lucky fishing hat in hand. My heart sang with the angels when I had found it. To many, it was just a worn old Boonie-style hat that could be seen in most outfitter’s shops, or local army/navy second-hand shops. But this hat was the original that had been with me since my forgotten tour in Vietnam. Just by holding it, feeling the roughness of the texture, seeing the light and dark green camo marking and sweat stains now long gone still, cause a slight tremble in my hands. This was the same hat that I had on my head when I was wounded and had the luck to return to tell of it. This is why it is deemed, by me, to be my Lucky hat.

The evening was approaching while I gathered together the things that I would need for my outing. My old fishing vest had proven to be a great find in itself. There were several packets of different sized hooks, spools of monofilament fishing line, each a different color. The coloring was not to be fashionable or modern but to signify the differences between the rated line strengths. To be honest, the colored line allowed me to see the line more easily after casting it. There were also lead weights of different sizes and shapes. And there were also fishing lures of several types, Spinners, Jigs and not to forget worms, to appetize and delight all species of aquatic lovelies waiting for me.

I stuffed the rest of the unneeded items back into the duffle and placed it at the foot of the stairwell leading to the attic. It was getting late, so I decided to have one last cup of tea before bed. Taking my hot cup with me, I returned to my living room sofa and sat my tired self down. Before me, on the low coffee table in front of me was the small box, with its wide blue ribbon, that I had discovered earlier. For several minutes, I tried to recall ever having seen this box before, but it was an empty endeavor that yielded a negative result. I studied the beautiful handcrafted rose that had been worked into the surface. Vaguely a pinprick of recall beckoned to be noticed, yet remained as intangible as a lost winning lottery ticket, begging to be found. With each passing second, my interest grew. Suddenly I jumped, my Cat joined me on the sofa unannounced and true to his character, began tracking my every movement as he might while watching for a wee morsel of a mouse that might be brave enough to cross his gaze. It seemed as if he, too, was as intrigued as me.

Strange as it might seem, my Cat showed signs of having an uncanny familiarity with this box. He sat quietly beside me, his ears facing forward as if watching the movement of a mouse. His whiskers were bowing forward with interest, and behind him, his tail slowly beginning to twitch. But I was tired and very sleepy after having spent the better part of the afternoon rummaging about so this current mystery would have to wait.

As I walked about, getting ready to retire, I smelled a faintly familiar scent of what had to be Lancome Paris, Lancôme Trésor Midnight Rose perfume. There had been only one person that used this, and she has been taken from me for several years now.

Sleep flowed over me like a warm sea. I nestled myself against my pillow, and my faithful Cat lay softly against my back, purring his Cat delusional dream of being the great King of the Cat world. I guess we all are a bit delusional at times.

The unwelcomed chirping from my phone, which lay well away from me, grew louder with its incessant chirp. The grand dream that I was having faded from my head to be replaced by a set of golden eyes and pointed ears a bare inch from my face. The message being sent was understood, as it always has been, Feed me! Any other day I would have just shoved him away and roll over to continue my slumbering. But not this day. I had things to do, people to see, and above all, fish to catch!

After completion of my morning ritual, I dressed for the day. Black military-style pants with cargo pockets that had seen better days, Dark green camo T-shirt, do not want any fish seeing me, and old Army surplus combat boots I was almost ready to meet my quarry. My fellow fishermen would arrive soon, so I gathered up my gear and prepared to exit my humble adobe. Then for a second time, the night’s previous scent emerged, still as faint, but noticeable. The loud honk of a car’s horn immediately broke my thought train, and I opened the door and exited my home for a day of grandeur.

Spending the day with friends, surrounded by nature’s beauty, has no equal for me. Pale blue skies with wisps of white clouds carefree floating along on a gentle breeze. The soft lapping sound of water against the grassy shore. An occasional family of ducks casually swimming together to some hideaway in the nearby water reeds. The faraway sounds of laughter between a young boy and his father teaching his son the fine art of landing the big one. Missing is the racing motors of cars being driven by souls chasing the golden ring of living—the obnoxious ringing tones of phones and hustle-bustle of a standard day. Gone are feelings of sadness, and touches of loneliness, if only for a brief moment. It helps to recharge your emotional battery.

The dream of catching the big one, which in reality, are two small speckled trout, is the typical way things work out. Still, it is enough—the sharing of love, respect, and togetherness with dear friends. Spending the day, being boys once more, has more value than any amount of coin or trinket. As with all things, though, there must be an end, but what remains are the reminiscences created, which will forever be.

Arriving home, brought a bit of melancholy to me. I never wanted the day to have an end.

Later that evening, I attended to the necessary chore of cleaning my catch and giving the Cat God his imposed tax for being left alone, which was, you guessed it, fish. With the clean up done, the cleaned fish now in the freezer, I could take my well-earned tea and adjourn to my precious sofa. In front of me, centered on the coffee table, was the box that I had found in the attic. I had given up on trying to remember this item earlier.

The construction of the box itself was simple, as far as boxes go. On the rear were two tarnished brass hinges and the front, a clasp. From the kitchen, I had brought an old dust cloth to hopefully remove a bit of the dust that had accumulated on the box.

It turns out that the box was made from cherrywood and had a wonderful muster. I love the smell of cherrywood and cedar. Taking the box in hand and bringing it to my nose, I took a deep whiff of the smell-lovely. After removing the satin ribbon, I returned it to the table. Reaching forward, I opened the clasp. Inside lay a stack of envelopes and cards bound by yet another ribbon, this one soft pink. I had found the source of the smell. My heart began beating like a bass drum. My pulse quickened.

Deep within me, Feelings, images, and sounds begin to merge into memories of my past. I close my eyes and drift backward toward things that are gone yet still exist in my soul. Suddenly I was tired and needed to retire for the night.

I woke the next morning, to incessant paw nudges, and was greeted by dawns light. I noticed that lay beside me on my bed was the lovely box that I had found. I never knew that my wife had kept such a treasure box as a secret from me. The ways of a woman. Who knows what things await.

You know, now that I think about it, I suddenly feel an urgent need to go fishing again!

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  1. Oh yes , you in tight leather shorts, and a chicken feather. Your descriptions were great! I am attempting to work on the ‘show don’t tell’ concept, but perhaps I need to work in my descriptions more because you did a great job.

  2. Well i did reply to your wonderful story yesterday on my phone……but obviously it got lost in transit…….i think its great that you braved the creepy crawlies and the long forgotten past of your attic… sure threw up some nostalgia and wonderful memories for you………enjoy your fishing……never take a picture of the one that got away, then no one can disprove it wasn’t as huge as you said…..