My hands are still sore from carrying the canoe down from the house. I have to sit here for a minute anyway. A deep breath. The sun’s just coming over the trees. Everything’s quiet except for that angry blue jay. He followed me all the way down the hill, hopping from one fir tree to the next.. There’s no going up and down that hill twice, so I carried all of it in one trip. There’s a trail of stuff going back up the hill, but only about a quarter of the way. So, I’m ahead of the game. Now, if only my hands would start working again. Look at that lake. I’m at the bottom of a giant heart that won’t start beating for another hour.
After I’d settled a bit, I gathered up my belongings and piled it all in the canoe. Stepped in… and did a face plant right into the gravel next to the canoe. I pondered my misfortune just long enough for the canoe to start drifting towards the middle of the lake. 10 soggy minutes later, I had everything back by the dock, ready for another try. I managed to stay upright this time, but being soaked to the bone took most of the pleasure out of that feat. I was eager to get fishing, so I took out my grandfather’s rod. Green fiberglass with metal ferrules. I rubbed the metal against my nose like he had told me to. As I turned to put the two pieces together, the tip section slipped out of my wet hand. I was fast enough to get my paddle under it, but that only let the tip linger one moment longer. When I bobbed back to the surface, I realized that I’d tried a little too hard. 15 soggy minutes later, I had everything that was left piled up in the canoe, ready for one more attempt. Somehow, I had the bottom of grandpa’s rod, and the top half of my rod. It only cracked a little when I jammed them together. The Blue Jay just looked at me now. He knew better. 20 minutes without catastrophe had me feeling pretty good, so I decided to try some fishing. The only lure left to me was a silver KastMaster that had embedded itself into my thigh during the last dunk. Maybe the most beautiful thing of the day happened next. The lure hit the water and seemingly just kept going. Taken just as it broke the surface, the fight was on! I pulled, and something BIG pulled back. I pulled harder… and my rod snapped right into my forehead. My rage was ignored by the fir trees. Reeling in a fish with half a rod wasn’t half as strange as seeing that fiberglass narwhal staring back at me. He came into the boat with the top half of my rod so far down his gullet that I could have held him up like a Popsicle. That didn’t help much, as I learned that some fish do indeed have sharp teeth. Sucking my thumb in the middle of a lake didn’t diminish my glee as my quarry flopped around on the bottom of the canoe.
I’d never heard of Pickerel Piccada, but Mrs. Klotz assured me that no finer end could befall my trophy. Tasted a little like lawn clippings, but there was something sweet there, too.