Fishing The Catch The Company The Irreplaceable Memories
It's Not Always About the Catch
When I came upon a question yesterday by Peggy W about my best fishing experience it immediately brought back not only my best fishing experience, but a moment and memory in time I will never forget and a bond that has lasted a lifetime.
When I was a very young child our family vacations consisted of going to my grandparents house in Palacios Texas. Mind you if you lived in Palacios back then you usually had something to do with the shrimp business. My grandpa was a shrimper, uncle a net maker, and I had like 20 cousins back then so we fished, cooked shrimp, worked on the boat, and then sat in the swing on the porch overlooking Tres Palacios Bay (Palacios means palace in Spanish and that's just what it was to me) and listen to stories about it.
One of my cousins Jack Lee and that's what most of us called him instead of Jack used to go fishing on the pier a lot. We were always careful because we knew if we were to get hurt or in trouble that would be the end of that. We were always kind of close when I was there it was strange because we knew, well everyone knew that despite our age difference (he was several years older) that while I was there we were buds. Thank the big guy upstairs relationships like that weren't strange back then because as the tears roll down my cheeks I thank him to this day for giving me such an incredible friend.
One early bright summer morning Jack came to the house and asked if I wanted to go to the pier to go fishing. Of course I couldn't get my shoes on and my pole fast enough and away we went. We went all the way to the end of the pier so we could cast out far enough to catch the big ones. As we sat there waiting patiently for the big bite we talked as if somehow he already knew everything I needed to say and I listened to his girlfriend and daddy issues. Then I don't if it was because I wasn't paying attention or the sudden impact of the hit on my pole I ended up literally half way off the pier with the pole still in my hand. I looked at Jack Lee I'm sure with the fear of death in my eyes as he dropped his pole to try and get me up. He was a lot shorter than I was but strong as an ox. He told me to let go of the pole but I wouldn't knowing whatever was on the other end was probably gonna be the biggest fish I had ever caught (yeah even back then I was bullheaded). He got me back up and just as we both thought whatever I had caught was lost, the battle began.
Jack helped me real him in and it was this big old sand shark. I thought I was the best fisherman that walked. When he asked me if I wanted to keep him I knew we weren't gonna eat him and I asked him to take the hook out and let him go. With all the excitement there was a couple other people back towards the shore on the pier who had come over and I started talking to them.
Next thing I know there are words coming out of Jacks mouth that I had not heard him say before. When I turned around to see what was going on there was blood all over him. I was petrified until I saw him shake his hand and the blood was coming from a nice size gash where the shark had bit him. One of the ladies that had come over grabbed a cloth wrapping it around his hand putting pressure on it to stop the bleeding She hollered at her husband to go get our parents and we looked at each other as if that above all that had happened would hurt worse than anything imaginable. We begged for her not to do that and tried with everything we had inside us to calm down and make like as if it was no big deal. We knew that if our parents found out what all had happened that would be the end of us running off anywhere together. It wouldn't matter if it was to the MooMoo Drive In (and yes that was the name of it) for a float or to the pier we couldn't let that happen.
She agreed and after awhile they left us alone to undoubtedly figure out what kind of story we could cook up to make this all not a big deal. We didn't have to worry about me because other than some scraps on my stomach and a scorching sunburn no one would know. So we told them about me catching the shark (without the almost falling off the pier) and that Jack had cut himself with the knife trying to get the hook out. We had washed his shirt out in the bay so the blood wasn't so bad and I don't know if they really believed us but (especially my grandpa because he gave me the grin) they let us still go fishing and whatever else we wanted to do.
The Catch The Company The Irreplaceable Memory
You might be thinking that the catching of that big old sand shark and Jack Lee getting bit are the memories that are irreplaceable, but they're not. You see that day I knew with all my heart and soul that Jack Lee was irreplaceable. That I could literally trust him with my life and tell him things that would go no further. It was a bond I don't think I've ever had with anyone else and I miss that.
Why do I miss that irreplaceable bond, because a few years after our fishing expedition Jack was in a horrific motorcycle accident when a lady ran a stop sign nearly taking off both his legs. He spent over a year in the hospital and went back over and over again for more surgeries. He was finally able to walk but I assure you was never the same.
Several years later after we thought things were getting better we lost him and a piece of my heart went with him
Thank you for the question that reminded me of just how much trust, faith and strength you can have in someone so special.