My husband loves to fish. On average, Joe takes a trip to the coast twice a year. Apparently he has a good time. Since I have no desire to sleep on sand, I stay home.
(The wise man built his tent upon the rock.)
One would think a man-trip to the beach would require minimum preparation. Grab the tackle box, rod & reel and a cooler for beverages. Done. Ready to go. However, Joe does not pack for a fishing trip. He packs for a fishing expedition.
The stress begins a week before leaving port. Slowly items start descending from the attic. The tent, sleeping bags, the Spiderwire tackle box and the awesomely named Ugly Stick. Add to that a canopy and lawn chairs. Gradually more items appear on the scene. One item being the largest cooler known to mankind. Joe purchased it at a church garage sale. Because the money was going toward an ill member of the congregation, he paid about 10 times what the leaking piece of crap was worth. Ironically, this ice chest holds the beer.
Then there is the wagon. No, not the Red Ryder of the Sea World Incident. I am referring to the Cadillac of wagons—the manly term would be steel yard cart. It is bright yellow and designed for landscaping. It is also great for hauling items to and from the beach. Joe has rigged the wagon with dissected PVC pipes. These pipes are secured to the back of the wagon. Their purpose is to hold fishing rods. (Joe calls this ‘Mexican ingenuity’ I call it ‘kinda trashy.’) The wagon also holds lanterns, flashlights, a small grill, grilling accouterments, paper towels, bug spray, citronella candles, coozies, sunscreen and—toilet paper.
Joe was never a boy scout, but he knows how to prepare. The day before the journey, Joe makes a trek to our local HEB, just in case they are unable to catch any fish. A moderately sized cooler contains Johnsonville Bratwurst, tortillas, bologna, cheese, and mustard. A paper sack contains bread, chips, a monstrous sized bag of sunflower seeds and the most disgusting of all snacks—pork rinds. Joe only buys these for fishing trips. Sometimes I think he goes fishing just to drink beer and eat pork rinds.
With the truck bed loaded, the guys are ready to head out. They leave before dawn, get to the beach around 11 a.m., set up camp and begin to fish.
Each evening, this is the phone conversation with my beloved:
Me: Did you catch any fish?
Me: Okay, miss you.
Joe: Miss you too.
Joe and his buddies have not brought home an aquatic animal of any kind in their last 9 fishing trips. If it were not for the photos Joe sends (because he is proud of the studley campsite they constructed), I would be suspicious that all that preparation was just cover for a trip to Vegas. My angler arrives home sun burnt, tired and smelly—and I am always glad to see him—even without a single speckled trout. I have learned not to bother preparing any room in the freezer for Joe’s big catch or anticipate a meaty bite of grilled red fish.
I wonder if I should preach to Joe that he cast his Ugly Stick on the other side of the island. Well, there is always hope for the next trip. If anything is certain, it is that there will be a next trip. As a matter of fact, why is there a package of pork rinds next to my Kashi bars?