A Saltwater Excursion

By O’Ceallaigh

50 Years is a long time to be married to the same woman!

2 50 yrs     Ask my wife and she’ll tell you, it’s even longer to be married to the same man!!

We just celebrated our fiftieth Anniversary and our daughter just got married on that date, too. So, now we share the day with her and her husband!

We had a gathering of the clan and what a joy it was to bring them all together! I’d name them all but I try to keep these blogs under a thousand words! Were I to include everyone, I’d no doubt exceed that limit. In addition, I‘d most certainly leave someone out and start a feud akin to that of the Hatfields and the McCoys! I don’t want that to happen.

So, I’ll try to tell you about Larry, and our little salt water excursion.

About 23 years ago, maybe more, maybe less, who knows, my wife’s sister found this guy by the name of Larry and struck up a conversation. One thing led to another as things always do, and they married. I first met Larry when they traveled to New York and we took them to Niagara Falls.

On the Canadian side of Niagara Falls there are many tourist attractions which, for the life of me, I can’t remember now, and the girls wanted to see and do them all! There was one thing way up on the north side of the city called the Floral Clock, or something like that. I think it’s still there. It’s been there for maybe a hundred years.  It’s a big clock put together with live flowers, in case you hadn’t guessed.

After all the other stuff, Larry and I were worn out. But, we wanted to please the ladies so we went along with their wishes to see that clock. On arrival, we saw the large clock built into the side slope of a rock garden beautifully decorated with those various flowers.

For the next half hour, while they walked about taking pictures, Larry and I sat on a stone wall and discussed the amazing eccentricities of watching a floral clock run!  It was sort of relative to watching the grass grow, or Tim Conway make his way across the floor on the Burnett show!!

It was then that we realized that we had something in common – fun! Well, maybe with a little cynicism mixed in!

This week, when everyone had gone except Larry and Joan, he suggested that he’d like to go fishing and invited me to go along.

Bay fishing was something totally new to me. First of all, it was salt water fishing, and the only time I had been on salt water was on a Holland Cruise, a “Cruise” on the USS Patch transporting me to my military station in Europe and then on some equally depressing ship bringing me back to the world.

We got to St. Pete’s Madeira Island, found the docks and got our tickets.

I had to go.

I found a men’s room. There was a sign on the door that said, “Please Knock.” I thought, “What?” I knocked.

I heard nothing.

I opened the door. Some guy in plaid shorts was just standing up and hollered, “Wait!”

I waited.

Well, I finally got to go and returned to the dock. We boarded the ship and picked up our rod and reel and went to a convenient spot, dropped the butt of the rods into the sockets on the rail and prepared to fish.

Fl Fisherman
The guy standing next to me was the guy with the plaid shorts. He had them covered up now! I learned that he was a truck driver from Wisconsin who had emigrated from The Ukraine. We laughed about my invasion of his privacy. He was a good guy!

We plied the waters of the Gulf of Mexico for about an hour and fifteen minutes and then the two big diesel engines were cut and we floated to a stop. Hooks were baited with cut bait, – shark – then the lines were dropped in thirty feet of salt water. We were “Drift Fishing.”

Larry got a strike! He set the hook!!

Missed it!!

Skillfully he moved the bait under the boat – well, the wind blew the boat over the bait. Another strike! He set the hook!

The graphite – or maybe it was fiberglass – or plastic – pole bent! ! Larry cranked on the reel!   The thirty feet of line slowly retracted onto the reel! After what seemed like an eternity, the white belly of a fish appeared in the water! Larry kept cranking! The fish splashed out of the water! He brought it in!

“Heeyyyy!! Congratulations!!!” I chortled!!

He was back fishing again. – I didn’t even get a nibble.

Suddenly there it was!! – My pole was jerking! I yanked back! Set the hook! “It must be a 30 pounder!” I thought as I cranked on my reel! – I was getting tired! I kept cranking! It must have been close to an hou – well, a few min – OK, a few seconds, I’m not as strong as I used to be! I pulled it in. A 10 inch grey bass, about two and a half pounds.

Larry and I caught 14 fish that day and had a great time doing it. We gave them to another fisherman who hadn’t caught many.  Then we had the hour and a half ride back to shore and docked. I took a nap on the way!

The ride back home was quite eventful, too. Larry and I discussed the heavy stuff of the large, expansive, universe and then reversed the process and went inward looking at the small universe of the cells and DNA, wondering at the power of a being who could think with an engineering mind to create such things.

It was an expansion of our poor finite minds!

If I ever have the opportunity, I think I’ll have a go at another Saltwater Excursion and catch some more fish! I probably won’t keep them either, but share them with another less-fortunate fisherman!

It was an enjoyable day and I slept well that night!

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