During my teenage years my family would vacation every summer for a week at a campground in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas called Many Islands. It was located on the Spring River and offered premier trout fishing.
Our first year we camped for a week in a tent. It didn’t take long to realize that this was not the best of ideas. The following years we rented a cabin with all the comforts of home.
Spring River had several springs that flowed into it. The water temperature was cold and colder. Remember this little bit of information. The shock of hitting the water would take your breath away.
Generally we would wade the water to trout fish. On this one particular morning my dad informed me he was renting a boat and trolling motor so he and I could get where the big trout hung out.
There was a concrete slab where one could pull the boat up to and tie it off. My dad had pulled the boat up to the slab and informed me he was going to show me how to tie the boat up properly.
I was thirteen and excited about my dad sharing his knowledge with me. I watched attentively as he explained the proper knot to use as he tied it off. He then instructed me to retrieve our tackle boxes and rods and reels. He began loading the boat with our gear. He took one load aboard and came back to get another load.
On this trip he set his foot on the front seat of the John boat and still had one foot on the slab. At this point the boat began to drift away from the slab. Little did I know my vocabulary was going to expand with words that if I had ever used would have ended with me getting my mouth washed out with soap.
Now you have to picture my dad with one foot in the boat and the other planted on the slab and the boat slowly backing away. The gap between the boat and slab has widened. At this point I began to wonder if at the age of thirty four if my dad could physically do the splits.
My dad is trying frantically to pull the boat back to the slab with his leg. I stood there in disbelief as I watched the knot my dad had tied begin to unravel and the boat was now free and it occurred to me my dad was now at the point of no return.
All of a sudden I was overcome with the urge to laugh. I immediately started biting my tongue and realized how much I enjoyed life. I didn’t want to be standing in front of the pearly gates at such a young age so with great determination I was able to suppress my laughter.
I watched in horror, but laughing on the inside, as the gap became too wide for my dad to maintain his balance. SPLASH!!! Did I mention how cold the water is? He rises out of the water and onto the slab with the agility of a teenager. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes!! My vocabulary was expanding with the speed of light. His language would have made a sailor proud!
Needless to say that pretty much ended our day in the boat exploring Spring River and a trophy Trout was spared. When we got back to the cabin we had a real good laugh. Ahh the memories of growing up.