Sunday, November 08, 2009

This Is A Fishy Story...

There are several reasons why Mardell will not go fishing with me. Some of those reasons were initiated prior to our getting married in 1963. When you consider that we have been husband and wife for 46 years then do the math. It has been at least that long since her disdain for fishing began.

Mardell and I met in the Panama Canal Zone in 1959 where her dad and I were stationed in the military. One day I decided to take her fishing at the Bay of Panama (See picture).

Very soon after getting her hook into the water, something really strong got hold of her line. Her fishing rod nearly doubled over. After a few minutes of holding and tugging, guess what surfaced? A stingray. Yes, Mardell had caught a stingray. This was her very first experience with fishing. We had to cut the line as I was afraid of the stinger on that creature. I assured her that catching a stingray was a fluke—that she should try again. She agreed to give it another fling.

Soon, something else grabbed her line. Mardell pulled this one up and guess what it was? An eel. Yes, she had hooked an eel. It was long and black and had wrapped itself around her line. I was afraid of it so we cut the line. Mardell did not want to fish anymore so I took her home.

Two years later when I was discharged from the Army, Mardell and I married and set up housekeeping in Beaumont (TX).

One day I encouraged Mardell to go fishing with me. I convinced her that since we would be fishing at Pine Island Bayou, she would not have to worry about catching stingrays or eels. She agreed to go.

We fished from the bank for nearly two hours. Unfortunately we did not catch anything so we went home.

That evening Mardell exclaimed, “Honey, I’ve got redbugs all over me.” Sure enough, she was covered with the little varmints. Mardell still was unimpressed with fishing.

A few months later I convinced Mardell that if we rented a row boat out at the bayou and fished from the boat that redbugs could not bother her because we would not be in the bushes. She agreed to try fishing from a boat. Again we did not catch anything so we went home.

That evening Mardell yelled out, “I’ve got redbugs all over me.” I did not understand how but she was covered. I believe that is when Mardell lost faith in my vast knowledge of fishing.

One year later, Mardell and I went down to Crystal Beach. I wanted to do some surf fishing. Mardell agreed to wade out with me and steady the Styrofoam cooler that held my cut shrimp fish bait. The cooler floated so all she had to do was to keep hold of it.

We waded out to the third sandbar which meant the water was about chest deep. But that also meant that when the waves washed by, we had to do little hops to keep our heads above the water.

The problem arose when Mardell mentioned that the waves were washing over into the cooler and spraying her face with dead shrimp juice. Finally Mardell blurted out, “Nowhere in our wedding vows was it mentioned that I would have to stand in water over my head and allow shrimp juice to splash in my face.”

With that revelation, she tied the cooler to my waist and went ashore.

Do you know what is strange? Since that day at Crystal Beach, Mardell has never gone fishing with me again. Not once.

It’s always been hard to figure women out.

Winston Hamby

The Beaumont Enterprise


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