There was only one gas pump open this morning, since a truck pulling a boat was using both of the pumps that still have the little lever that lets you prop the trigger on the pump handle so you can eat your biscuit while you fill up. So I had to wait till I got on the road to eat my biscuit, but I didn’t complain. Those guys were fixing to have to fish all day in the rain.
I was opposite the pump from the man filling up the boat, holding the trigger and grinning in the rain. We made eye contact, so I had to say something.
“Y’all gonna get wet today.” I said. It doesn’t sound that profound as I write it, but it was all I could think to say at 6:30am. Besides, it’s an unwritten law that the weather is what you talk about when you don’t know what to talk about with a stranger. It’s usually a safe bet unless you get some crackpot that wants to talk about global warming. You can usually spot those folks from a ways off though. He didn’t seem to mind.
“Man we been getting wet all week!” He laughed. I might add that the weather forecast has called for twelve inches of rain this week.
“Y’all been catching any?” I asked.
“Man we ain’t caught hardly nothing!”
“Well it beats going to work I guess.”
“Ain’t that the truth.” Both men agreed.
“Well, I hope y’all do better today.” I said as I shut off the pump.
“It can only get better from here” he said.
I’ve done my share of fishing in the rain. Dad wouldn’t plan to go fishing if it was pouring rain, but once we were on the river he wouldn’t crank up and head to the house just because it came a little shower. Sometimes we’d set under a bridge if it was convenient. When we were little, we could stand up under a stiff adult rain jacket that stayed in the boat. In this pop up booth we were safe from the elements. It was great fun, but I guess mothers worried more back before cell phones.
The mouth of Locust Creek sits directly across the Coosa River from the Coosa River Golf Course. I’m pretty sure that I’m not giving anybody’s secret fishing hole away judging by the number of lures and miscellaneous tackle that I remember seeing there as we trolled slowly up the creek. It seemed like we used to catch quite a few in that creek. I say we, but really Zach and Dad caught quite a few. I usually stared into the murky water and ate Doritos and drank Grapico out of a cold can. You probably ain’t supposed to do it, but once I finished the can, Dad taught me how to hold the empty can under the water until is was filled, then let it go and watch it sink slowly to the bottom. I don’t do that anymore since I don’t drink Cokes. But I had just done it in the mouth of Locust Creek when the bottom dropped out of the sky and it began to rain hard and fast, the stinging kind. There was no scrambling for cover, we were caught in it. Zach and Dad reminded me of a newspaper comic. In the first frame they were fishing. In the next frame you could only see their unchanged outline through the blinding rain. They kept fishing completely unfazed by the deluge.
A flash of lightening lit up the sky and everything under it became as bright as the noon day sun. The light seemed to linger for a long time, long enough for Dad’s eagle eyes to notice a group of men playing golf across the river.
“Look at that boys. Them idiots is out there playing golf in this weather.” With a half grin, he shook his head at his disappointment in humanity.