Wednesday, December 4, 2013


     What do you talk about with a twelve year old?  Yeah, we were father and son.  We'd know each other for a long time.  No doubt that was part of the problem.  Too much authority figure baggage.  A kid's gotta watch what he says.  Don't let any cats out of the bag.  Like all kids, me included, he had a side to his life that I knew nothing of.  And some of that stuff could get him in trouble.
     On the other hand he probably didn't know a lot about me.  And at that goin' through puberty age, did he really care?  I'd been on the job in one form or another for better than a quarter century.  Been in a war, done a lot of stupid things and survived them.  Did any of that mean anything to him?  So we schmoozed, BS-ed about nothin' in particular and passed the time with the fill-in of where to fish next.  Al needed a little time in the adult world and I needed to remember what it was like to be a kid.  All the while we were beginning our history of life together in the woods and on the water.  Building memories to look back on someday.
     We cooked on the coleman stove and slathered ourselves with bug juice to create a little space around us that was mosquito free.  Yup, the 'skeeters were something fierce.  But they're livable so long as the DEET's nearby.
     At night it rained.  Bucketsful.  Sometime after the sun went down we'd hear the rumble from back behind the Sawtooths.  Even though I'd been in combat I'd never heard the distant blast of howitzers.  My father-in-law had been in the recapture of the Philippines and had spoken of the cannon reports as they rolled across the mountains.  Almost sounded romantic in a 'someone's gonna die' way.  So when the thunder started up and it tumbled down on us, I heard it through John's ears.  Then, an hour later, the skies would open up and come visit.
     The tent leaked.  Not directly on us in our sleeping bags but in little streams near the side walls.  So long as we kept to the middle of the floor we were okay.  But a couple of times each night I'd wake up and check the water level.  Even once dreamed there were brookies in the tent trying to make it to their spawning gravel.
     But we slept well.  Rain on the roof does wonders for butt on the ground.  Come morning the rain was long gone.  Probably takin' a nap somewhere so it could play the next night.

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