I really do remember all the details to my fishing trips. I remember catching walleye on chunks of hot dogs on Fish Creek at my great aunt and uncle’s camp on family weekends. I remember drives to the Judge’s camp, a good friend of my Grandfather. Collecting worms by a stream that passed by a barn. Bull frogs in the weeds along the bank and a goat that couldn’t be trusted once you sat on the end of the dock.
As we walked the dirt road in the rain, felt soles beneath wading boots hushed our steps. We remarked about all the worms lying about on the road, joking about all the flies fly fisherman tried to force feed to trout. Someone said it and we all laughed. “Trout like worms. They like worms you know.” I laughed and we carried on comically about it, but I was thinking of something else in my mind.
Out of the back seat I grabbed my gear. A fly rod tube, a fly box, a dry bag with a change of clothes and my lunch. I walked to the passenger side of the truck. I got in the front seat and looked over to see Mike holding out a pillow case. “Put this over your head.” It was at that moment that I realized there were two scenarios that could play out from this point. One, Mike was a fisherman serial killer who used the hopes and dreams of huge trout to lure his prey to their deaths. Or two, this was the first time I’d ever had someone tell me they had a secret spot with huge trout in it that was actually true.
I had a 1955 Chevy hot rod once, with a hula pig on the dash. You know, just like the old hula dancers they used to stick on the dash in the ‘60s, except mine was a pig in a grass skirt. It just fit the car better. The streamers fit the Jeep and in the bigger scheme of things just as well today as that pig did twenty years ago. The pig was just there, goading me into another hard launch at a stop light to see if I could make it kiss it’s toes, while the streamers are there now tempting me to stop at the barge canal as I drive over the bridge above it, the rain hammering the surface like a million drum sticks trying to beat out a rhythm that ends up just being white noise.