After waiting out the never-ending winter, I was looking forward to and getting ready for a great fishing season.
But my status changed abruptly.
After two doctors’ visits with tests and x-rays resulting in medication increases, nights unable to rest and sleep, in great pain and with no appetite, I was admitted to the hospital.
I was in the capable hands of the doctors and nurses on the seventh floor at the Sayre hospital. There were more blood tests, x-rays, scans, medicated patches and rubs, and stronger medication during my five-day stay. And—don’t you know it—some medications have side effects. I was released with restrictions and scheduled for physical therapy.
During therapy I was taped, given exercises, and maintained the medicated rub. After a few weeks of visits with improvement, I was released.
To add a little humor to all this, I had the therapist write a note to my wife Linda. It stated that it was okay for me to go fishing.
During my time out of commission I missed a few events. The first club tournament starting the season on Hammond Lake and the next three tournaments were over. A fishing trip to Canada with three fishing buddies was out of the question. Then a family get-together at daughter Lisa’s, on Kanasatka Lake in New Hampshire over the Fourth of July, was missed.
The irony is: all the above came about because I was washing and waxing my boat in preparation for the start of fishing season. While in an awkward position, stretching to reach under the boat to wax the spot in front of the motor, pain shot up my back and my troubles began. It was a long, long time to be out of action.
Finally, able to fish, my third tournament was on Honeoye Lake, one of New York State’s Finger Lakes. I had the five-fish limit early and was culling through the day to upgrade my total weight. Casting far under a dock, I had a solid hit on my lure. As I reeled in the fish it went the wrong way around a far dock post. It was a nice one, splashing on top of the water. I thought: landing this one might be the lunker. I kept moving back and forth in front of the dock while letting out and reeling in line, hoping the fish would unwind itself.
All the while a man stood in his doorway watching. He came to the dock and asked, “Is there a problem here?”
“Not really,” I answered. “I’m in a tournament, and I have a nice fish on that’s wrapped around the post.”
“I’ll help you,” he replied. Then, bending down, he said, “Okay, you can reel it in.”
There was no weight on the line. As he headed toward the house, he said, “I let it loose.”
Back at the weigh-in, finishing in second place, I told my story.
They said, “Really? How do you make up stories like this?”
“All my stories are true.” I replied.
Then they asked, “What did you say?”
Well, it wasn’t my first thought, but I said, “Thank you.”