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  • Maybe I'm a Redneck After All - by Slabsrus

    Yesterday was a day I will most likely never forget, and it really opened my eyes to a few things I had never seriously looked at before.
    As I shook hands with a man from southern Michigan, who I had just met and was taking fishing in a kayak for his first time, we stood in the rain looking down the gravel walk to the pool below the dam where we would begin our day. It was a steady rain, but warm so it was not uncomfortable just wet. We hauled or supplies for the day down the 150 yard walk and to the rivers edge where we loaded it into the kayak and I gave a brief instructional on what not to do in the kayak if we wanted to stay upright.
    2 men, 4 fishing rods and reels, my 2 tackle boxes, his back pack tackle carrier, a cooler full of food and drinks, and a camera case, I never really paid that much attention to how much stuff would actually fit safely in my kayak.
    The river was down quite low so I stepped into the 4 inch deep water and pulled the kayak full of gear a hundred feet or so down stream to where the water was deep enough for my new fishing partner and I to both get in without scraping the bottom off my kayak. We only floated about 200 yards before I had to step out again and drag us through another shallow area. Standing in shin deep water in my tennis shoes and jeans while the rain now poured on us, I realized it never really bothered me to be fully clothed tromping around in the muck and silt of the local lakes and rivers, all the while being in the midst of a torrential down pour.
    A couple hours down river, and a dozen or so fish caught and released or put on the stringer, we decided it was time for a break. I pulled the kayak to a weedy, yet stable, section of the shoreline where we both got out and enjoy some lunch during a temporary break in the rain. As we stood there eating our sandwiches, gazing at the beauty that surrounded us it dawned on me. I was eating my sandwich with my bare hands that were definitely a bit smelly and covered with fish slime, and I really did not care.
    Another couple hours down river we pulled into the local campground where a couple of my fishing buddies from Ohio were camping. We unloaded the kayak and dumped out the 100 pounds or so of water that was laying in the bottom and met my friends as they were just pulling in off the lake from a morning of fishing. We were due for a break and had 7 nice Smallmouth Bass on the stringer that I really wanted to fillet and get in the cooler. My friends from Ohio invited us to their campsites where they were kind enough to let me use their fillet knife and a couple of baggies to put the fillets in. A I stood their filleting the fish the sky began to rumble with distant thunder. In no time that distant thunder was on top of us and the sky erupted with a bolt of lightning and a load crack. One of my buddies asked if I wanted some rain gear and I just said " No thanks, I will be done shortly." as I stood there with fillet knife and fish carcass in hand as the water streamed off my the bill of my cap.
    Back on the water we made our way further down river to the main lake where we were going to fish for crappies. Along the way we had to stop and unload so we could drain out water once again, for what had been just a steady rain most of the day became a monsoon like storm between the campground and the lake. Our gear was practically floating in the kayak and I joked about having a live well.
    The rain subsided a bit as we made it to the lake. We managed to catch a few fish and jokingly curse when the it decided to pour on us again. After putting a few nice crappies on the stringer, we decided it was probably time to start heading to the landing and calling it a day. Just before we started paddling to the landing I said to my new fishing buddy, " It sure would be nice if the clouds went away and the sun came out just long enough for us to get to the landing and load up our stuff." Believe it or not, this is the honest truth, it was not 2 minutes later when the clouds started to separate and were replaced by a bright blue sky with the sun shining high.
    My wife and son were at the access site where we had spotted my partners truck. I did not want him to go home with whole fish so I looked for a place where I could fillet the crappies we had on the stringer. The park bench would do as it was sure to rain again shortly and wash off any scales or other fish debris that might be left from my filleting. As I knelt down at the bench I just chuckled to myself thinking, who would carry a fillet knife in the glove box of their pick up truck. I gave my fellow fisherman the bags of fillets and wished him a safe trip home and invited him up anytime.
    As my son, my wife and I pulled back into our driveway I just had to look around and smile. Yes we live in a trailer. It is not a real nice trailer but we keep it clean, sometimes cluttered, but clean. The lawn is not always mowed, but enough. There are deer antlers nailed to our porch and on our living room wall, where there is also a mounted duck, a pheasant, a crappie, the tails of a pheasant and a partridge, a chipmunk skin, and on my youngest sons wall is the skin of the 1st raccoon we ever trapped together.
    It really hit me right there and I had to admit to myself, "Maybe I am a redneck after all."
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