Monday, February 06, 2017

Boats

This past week on the way home I stopped by the Mulberry Forks in Sipsey. Normally, there are several people sitting in folding chairs, shooting the bull and watching time pass at the speed of the slow-moving river. But on this day, I had the place to myself. I enjoy the company of my buddies who gather there, but it’s also nice to have the place to oneself every now and then.

Turning my truck around and backing down close to the water’s edge, I switched the engine off and stepped out of the cab. I dropped the tailgate and used it as a bench so that I could sit and take in the surroundings.

The sun was warm for January. A pillow was all I needed to take a nap right there in the bed of the truck. I’ve been known to do that at times. It’s a trick learned from my dad when I was a kid. He could take a nap anywhere and anytime.

Just then, I heard an outboard motor in the distance. A fisherman would be slowly making his way back up the river to the boat launch before the sun went down. At first, the motor sounded like the drone of a bumblebee, but it got louder as it puttered closer to the dock.

The boat was a flat-bottom that looked as if it had been painted with a pine top. It reminded
me of the boats that most people used for running trotlines and bream fishing when I was growing up. 

I remember helping my granddaddy Pap build flat bottom skiffs under a black cherry tree in the corner of our yard.  I was a kid then, so HELPING him build the boats might be a bit of bluster. I handed him his hammer, nails, and a bucket of tar when he needed them. Mostly I sat on a sawhorse watching him work for hours on end.

When I started to high school, I helped my dad built a small fishing cabin on the Black Warrior River. And soon after that, he bought a 14-foot V-bottom fishing boat with a Super 10 Evinrude motor. I was driving that boat long before I was old enough to drive a car.

There were times in the spring and early summer we’d launch the boat and be on the water before sunrise. When the warm air and cool water met, a morning mist hung over the emerald water like a thin gauze curtain. 

Our fishing excursions took us miles down the river. After we got tired of fishing, we’d turn the boat around and snake back up the winding river toward home. Dad would often wave me back to the stern to take control. After a few times, I realized he was letting me maneuver the boat so that he could take a nap. He’d lie across the middle bench, put a lifejacket under his head, pull a cap down over his eyes, and let the gentle ride upstream rock him to sleep.

I’ve never owned a boat, but now that I’m working part time, the thought has occurred to me that a small fishing boat might be just the ticket. So many of my childhood memories are connected to boats and that old lazy river. It seems a shame not to create some new ones.

13 comments:

  1. I'm actually surprised you don't have a small boat. You seem to me to be someone who would love to be in a boat enjoying the sights and fishing. Wonderful imagery created by your writing of you memories

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  2. I do believe it would be a great addition!

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  3. Make your dream come true.
    Have a great week.
    Hugs,
    Julia

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  4. I see a boat in your future for sure! I've had plenty of fishing experiences but never on a boat. I've been on banks of rivers and lakes and even sat on a swinging bridge and fished, but never from a boat. Not to say it wouldn't be great, I just never had the opportunity.

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  5. Yes get a boat if for anything, luxury. You and Jilda could would have a nice relaxing time on a boat and a picnic lunch. Just do it.
    Lisa

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  6. This post is so beautifully written that I want to take a nap. I'm relaxed because of your words.

    Love,
    Janie

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  7. I like to just sit and watch the water go by. There is nothing more soothing.

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  8. Get yourself a boat, Rick; why not?

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  9. I don't know why, but I would have assumed you'd owned a few boats over the years. Time to treat yourself?

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  10. Many years ago, my dad had a boat, many years ago Tim had a boat but not any more never really got the use out of their boats.

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  11. Rick I think you should get a small boat, it would be well used from the sounds of how much you love the water and fishing xox

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