THINGS YOU'LL NEVER REGRET
Let’s visit Boudreaux and Thibodeaux in their pickup.
But first, a trip into the dictionary - Lamentation – a term meaning an extreme expression of sorrow, most frequently seen in the Bible. Leave it to the Bible to have vocabulary that’s practically unusable in a pickup truck. Grief – is generally considered to be a good psychological release, but it is unpleasant, so it is not much sought after. Yes, doctors say grief is good, but unwanted, and too cerebral for the pickup. And then there is Regret, which is something no one wants to have, but it is constantly hanging around – and that’s where fly fishing comes in.
It was a wet midnight. Boudreaux and Thibodeaux sat in the pickup with stale cellophane wrapped sandwiches, wonderin’ if there was gonna be any place left in public where they could smoke. Boudreaux had tried chewin’ Red Man until he swallowed some, and that ended that. Thibodeaux did the pinch between his cheek and gum till he lost a tooth cause Ethyl, that’s his wife, smacked him with a box of frozen waffles for spittin’ in the fresh flower bin of the general store.
As the rain fell, the fishermen ate in the truck cab amongst a dense smoke cloud. Thibodeaux was dizzy sick from rebreathing nicotine, but wasn’t gonna admit anything. Bluegill were everywhere and Boudreaux was already three kinds of hacked off for gettin’ skunked...again.
Rule Number Two: there are three words you never say to your fishin’ partner: “woulda, coulda and shoulda.” They’d come out of Thibodeaux’s mouth before he could stop himself, which mightn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t have said it while tossing an ice chest half-full of Thibodeaux-caught fish into the truck bed. Since he was running off at the mouth, he also happened to mention that he had told Boudreaux several times what fly to use. There’s only one sin worse than woulda-shoulda-coulda-ing your partner, and that’s Rule Number One: never even think “I told you so.” If the ice chest hadn’t been in the way, Boudreaux’d probably strangled him right there, but it was, so he didn’t and now there was tomorrow to plan for – and Thibodeaux’d better not even think of askin’ for help with scaling today’s catch.
“You gonna use that stupid fly again?” Boudreaux grimaced ‘cause microwaved filling station burgers always taste a little on the off side. Good thing there was lots of beer.
“Probably.” Thibodeaux was the father of the ugliest fly since the dawn of time, something yellow and white and wooly worm-ish he called the “stoner twinkie” cause he said it was for fish with the munchies. “Did good today.”
Another rule – don’t brag after you’ve I-told-you-so-ed your partner.
Boudreaux took stock of what parts of Thibodeaux were in punching range. “You oughta be embarrassed to catch fish with that thing.”
“Caught fish didn’t it?”
“I offered you some.”
Rule Number One, again.
Dawn came with the cab smelling like an ashtray somebody spilled on the floor of a bar. Boudreaux was rigging a new leader while Thibodeaux was applying ice to his black eye. He watched, with his good eye, as Boudreaux tied on a pair of store-bought flies that looked exactly like a grasshopper and a dragonfly nymph. While the hopper was tangling it’s legs in Boudreaux’s knot, Thibodeaux slid out of the cab and checked his own rig, then patted his pocket where an old Copenhagen tin held a half dozen stoner twinkies. He looked to make sure the truck was in between, and then offered a fly to Boudreaux.
“You’re gonna run outa luck soon enough,” Boudreaux predicted.
“Take it or you’ll be sorry.”
Thibodeaux forgot Rule Number Two is one of those rules you can break in advance. Boudreaux chased him three times around the truck before they had to stop and remember which bush was the designated privy. While Boudreaux was occupied, Thibodeaux hooked a stoner twinkie in Boudreaux’s cork grip, and then headed for the lake, dragging the ice chest behind him.
Near noon, deer flies fought the birds for possession of air space over the lake, and won, so fishing got pretty tough. The fishermen came back to the truck, both dragging full chests. Boudreaux swore he’d only used his store boughts, but the stoner twinkie was hooked on his hat lookin’ like it had lost a fight with a meat grinder. Thibodeaux didn’t ask, but noticed Boudreaux didn’t offer to give it back.
Ethyl was about four colors of purple mad when Thibodeaux got back to the trailer, but calmed down to a bright crimson when she saw the gallon bags of cleaned bluegill. Boudreaux went straight to his vise and tied up a dozen flies that would have been stoner twinkies except they were brown. He called ‘em Ho-Hos. If they worked, he might just let Thibodeaux have one.
Things you’ll never regret:
Hours spent at the vise
Not getting an ugly tattoo
Time spent catching fish
Remembering her birthday
Days spent not working while trying to catch fish
Not piercing something intimate
Buying a truck you can actually afford
Teaching a kid to fish
Not having a drink “for the road”
Telling your parents you love them
Giving your old clothes to Goodwill
Having a friend to fish with