A Fishing Trip, Where Fishing Wasn’t Important
A fishing trip in Alabama couldn’t start off any other way. Three grown men clutching the “oh shit” handles of a Lincoln Town Car while screaming commands like “Look straight ahead!” “Both hands on the steering wheel!” “BRAKE!” at the 13-year old boy driving. To add to our terror, it’s Christmas Eve and traffic has Enterprise, AL more congested than a Jewish man during allergy season. Remind me again why we decided it was okay for him to drive in town?
The four of us made it to our rural lake house in a cold sweat, but in one piece nonetheless. My two brothers, Ryan (24) and Rory (13), myself and our grandpa (176?) were on our annual Christmas fishing trip. Back in the days of old when Rory wasn’t the tallest 13-year old ever and Ryan and I still hated each other, we fished at the lake house every chance we got. However, as of late, it seems “every chance we get” has turned to “every Christmas break.”
Our lake house is a stereotypical, dirty south vacation sensation. A doublewide trailer on a raised pad of red dirt facing out over a log, snake, and beaver infested man-made creation of a lake. Lake Sean to be exact. I don’t know who Sean is but he sure has filled our cooler many a time with a plethora of hoagie-sized largemouth.
No one has spent more than a few minutes in that house since I filled it with hundreds of drunken college students a few years past. Mice have moved into the paradise and look like they are living healthy, prosperous lives. Good for them. The unfinished front deck is littered with old rusty tools from past days of motivation. The beds remain unused except as luxury mouse bathrooms. The washroom sees the most action, full of fishing rods and tackle boxes; it’s the only place we venture into on days like this.
The four of us pile into the old three seater “John Boat” and push back into familiar waters, pun intended. The lake’s surface is still with the absence of any breeze. The air is crisp and the water cold, perfect. I pull fish after fish from the chilly water with a cheesy grin aimed at Ryan who only catches two the whole time. My grandpa never once casts a line. He mans the stringer as fish continuously get tossed to his end of the boat. The stringer soon becomes crowded with mediocre largemouth and the daylight disappears. My grandpa never complains about the lack of fishing, he just smiles as he observes the fact that moments like this are rare.
Ryan and I are adventuresome to say the least. Unable to spend much time in one place we find ourselves constantly yearning for the next big thing. The next big thing, it just so happens, never lands anywhere close to Enterprise, AL. Once or twice a year we make it back and only on Christmas do we make it back together. The three of us youngins together is something my family takes great pride in.
We dropped off 27 fish at Mr. Jimmy’s trailer park residence that night. An old, poor friend of my grandpa’s, he’s always happy to take our free food in fish form. We don’t fish for keeps; we fish for memories that coincidentally last a hell of a lot longer.