Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fishing is for Girls

I love to fish. Mims says something about fishing on a Saturday night, on Sunday morning, I'm the first one out of the bed. Mine are the first feet to hit the floor. I'm the first one to the boat. Time required to get ready..10 minutes..max. Hair pulled back in a bun, on the top of my head, absent of all make-up, except my lips. My lipstick. I don't go to my mailbox without my "lips on".  It's a Southern thing I think. I have NEVER seen my mother in public without her "lips on".

My clothing is simple. A tank top, shorts and my pink rubber Avon shoes. They are the ugliest shoes you have ever seen in your life. But I love them. And they don't slip and slide. They are durable and can get wet. And they do. Get wet. A lot.

I have in tow, rations and drinks. The rations consist of Vienna sausages, saltines and oatmeal creme pies. The drinks are water, sprite, and diet coke. I also have plenty of sunscreen. Sunscreen for in the morning. When the sun is barely peeking through the trees and is welcome. As it sends a sheath of warmth over your skin from the pre-dawn coolness. And sunscreen for the afternoons. When the sun is blazing so hot, it feels like your skin is frying on your bones.

And, I have my worms. When we first started fishing, I wouldn't bait my hook. With anything. But between guilt laid on me by various members of my family, and my need for instant gratification, I made up my mind. I would bait my own hook. I was tired of waiting until someone (Mims) else had time. It was holding me up, from catching the most fish. From having the biggest catch of the day. I picked worms for my bait of choice because my PaPa Josh fished with worms. That, and crickets feel like they come from the creepy, crawly roach family. I would grow up, man-up, and bait my own hook for him. My PaPa Josh. I love fishing so much now, you have to make me pull my poles in, and go home.

I wasn't always such a trooper. Before I met Mims, I had been fishing one time in my whole life. When I was about 18 years old, a friend of mine, Chuck Turner, talked me into going fishing with him. Such a foolish, foolish boy. Thinking he could make this city girl like fishing. Make me like getting up at 4am. Uh cause, you know, at 18 years old, I was not going ANYWHERE without my make-up on or my hair "fixed". So, with all this being taken into account, I  had to get up at 3am. Yes, I said ...3am. To go fishing. In the dark. In a swamp. Because my friends, that's where he took me. To a swamp. Or so it appeared to be, once we got there.

He arrived at my house to pick me up. That the "boat" was in the back of his truck, should have been a clue for me. That meant, it was small, it had no motor, and we would have to man-handle this boat together, in the dark, to get it in....the swamp. I say nothing. I just pile up in the truck, with my carefully fixed hair, make-up and dab of perfume. Yes, I said perfume. You know I had to be smelling good too. Gracious, I was an 18 year old girl!

In the truck, boat on the back, we head to our destination. In the dark. Because it's still dark at 4:10am. We get to our water hole. And that's exactly what it is, a hole with water. Not a lake, not a stream, a hole..with water. And creepy looking trees all thru it, moss dripping down from the trees. I am trying to be brave. I am trying my best not to act like a sissy girl. But I am standing as close to him as I can get.  As I am imagining all sorts of water snakes and scariness coming from all around me. He gently pries my hand and fingers from his arm and says it's time to take the boat out of the truck.  He's gonna need a little help. I was glad he only needed a little help, cause that's about all I was gonna be worth.  A little help. We get it out, he shoves it in at the edge of the water hole and looks back at me and says.."ok..jump in". I'm just standing there staring at him, what I can see of him, because it's still dark. At 4:25am. "Jump in where?"..I exclaim. And I do admit, my voice went up a couple of octaves. Because the dang boat (and I still use that boat term loosely) is starting to float off. Just where exactly do I begin to "jump in" from I ask you? Do I have to get in the water, with my pretty sandals (and they were cutie tootie sandals I might add) and then jump in? Yeah like that's gonna happen. He tells me, I should have worn an old pair of tennis shoes. Tennis shoes that I wouldn't mind getting wet. Well, I'm thinking, (cause I'm still trying to be nice and not a sissy girl) NOW is a dang fine time to tell me that. So, I make a command decision. After I ask him five times, is there anything in that water going to "touch" me when I step off in it, and he convinces me (not really) that it won't, I step in. With my pretty sandals on. In the swamp water.

I'm in the water now, trying to "catch" this, ever moving from my grasp, boat. So, now I have gone about six steps, and my jeans are soaked with water, as well as, my cutie tootie sandals. I get to the boat. He's on one side, I am on the other. He says, "I'll hold it while you get in". He does not mention, that it's going to continue to move....while he holds it. Which it does. I weighed about 105 pounds when I was 18 years old. But as I heaved my body over into this boat, with my wet jeans and sandals, I felt like I was dragging an anchor tied around my leg with me. And just so there is no doubt.....girls.....NO ONE looks pretty (even with make-up and fixed hair)..wallowing into a moving boat, with your behind in the air, whimpering to yourself about how the heck you got yourself into this mess. With this boy. Who WAS your friend.

So, I'm in the boat, he's in the boat. And let me tell you, how that 6ft boy managed to climb in that ever moving boat, so gracefully and with his head up and not face first into the boat, I will never know. OK..we're ready to fish. He's got the poles out ..and the bait. WORMS. Do I want to bait my hook he says? UH no. This had already been discussed prior to this trip. And he had already agreed, if I went, he would bait my hook. These where the conditions of my accompaniment. He just wanted to make sure I had not changed my mind. Again, UH no. I am there to hold a pole and watch. And to catch the biggest fish EV-ER, so I can tell everybody about it later. I don't want to put the bait on and I don't intend on taking my biggest fish ev-er, off the hook once I catch it.

It's about 5:15am now, and the boat is moving again. It's swaying into the dripping moss and limbs that are hanging down. They are touching me. The creepy, feels like spiders, moss is touching me. On my face and arms. The tree limbs are grabbing my hair. The hair that is no longer fixed and pretty. Because the dew has found my hair. It has drooped and wet my pretty fixed hair. Now it is flat, and plastered to my head and I dare say, it is not in the least, pretty anymore. I don't EVEN want to describe what shape my make-up was in. And now, I cannot even smell my carefully applied perfume behind my ears. All I can smell is swamp water.

At daybreak, I begin to do the thing five year olds do...I begin to whine. Just a little, but nonetheless, it's whining. I'm hungry, when are we gonna see some fish, when, for gosh's sake, can we GO HOME.  Because, if you remember I  have been up since 3am...and it is now a little after 6am. He's been fishing for a whole hour or more and he hasn't caught ANYTHING. So, it's time to do something else as far as I am concerned. I do however, patiently let him fish for about another hour or so. I think I'm being patient, he says I am fidgety, rocking the boat, and scaring the fish. My mind is screaming, what dang fish...I have seen NO fish, in the water or out.

He's ready to go, (ready to get rid of me mostly), says he'll come back later when the fish are biting..yeah, right I'm thinking. But I smile..big...cause we are leaving the swamp. I don't even mind getting out and helping him put the boat back in the truck (my cutie tootie sandals are ruined anyway) and whatever makes it faster..I am all for hear me??!! 

Chuck took me home. I hugged his neck, and said, "please, I love you my dear friend, but let's agree to never, ever do this together again. He hugged me tighter, which I took as affirmation of complete agreement. I went inside the house, went straight to take ANOTHER shower.  To remove the swamp water. I looked into the mirror..and Lawd have mercy. How that boy did not think I was something he drug up from the bottom of that swamp..I Bless his soul, that he did not throw me overboard and leave me there. Hair strung out all over the place, eye make-up streaked down my face. And still, the faint, just barely a hint of, residue of... swamp water behind my ears.

copyright © 2010 Michelle Mount Mims


  1. YOU ARE MY MOST FAVORITE AUTHOR!!! You make me feel like I am right there with you. In the boat. In the swamp.....I copied your writing style, can you tell?? hehe

  2. In the swamp with you .