It was another time. We had gone for a Sunday drive. I wonder
how many families still do that. It was all part of the 50's "see the
U.S.A. in your Chevrolet" period. Television and computers did
not rule our lives.
There was a destination that Sunday. We were driving to Bay Port, Michigan
about 40 miles from our home. Dad had an old friend there who had a small marina.
He was looking for a place to launch his small garage-built boat. It was a neat
boat, 16 foot, built from a Chris Craft kit. Since I was an only child, dad
figured I should be able to do the things he would have taught a son. I
learned how to cut a board, pound a nail, and screw brass screws in
straight without messing up the head. He put gold decal letters on the
transom with my nick-name. It was christened Dee Dee.
Bay Port is on Wildfowl Bay, part of Lake Huron. The fishing was for
perch, large and smallmouth bass, and catfish.
We arrived at the marina, the old friend turned out to be a Michigan State
Conservation Officer named Chuck Forge. The folks settled in for what
appeared to be a long afternoon. I walked around the docks some, until
Chuck called me back and suggested I go fishing with his son Bill and a
couple other boys.
Actually the guys were very nice, and encouraged me to go with them.
I wasn't properly dressed for fishing, and tried to beg off. Dad went
out to the car and retrieved a fly rod and reel and fly box from the trunk.
Can you picture me in a blue embroidered sun dress and white high heels
climbing into a steel row boat with a cane rod headed for the edge of the marsh?
Oh yes, with a pearl neckless and matching earrings?
The guys didn't laugh on the outside at least - I've often wondered
what they really thought though.
None of the guys had ever seen anyone use a fly rod. Zebco's were
the flavor of that time, and spinning or bait casting the only way
anyone fished there.
I opened the fly box and grabbed a small green colored frog popper.
They were already fishing before I got my first cast out. Casting just
at the waterline of the bull rushes, then skittering the popper a little, my
third cast did the trick. I took the first fish of the afternoon. And
the second, and the third. All nice smallies.
Eventually the guys did catch fish. But it was the initial shock of
seeing a gal, dressed like that, with a fly rod yet, out fish them that
did the trick. I was accepted by these guys.
We fished together, hunted together, trapped turtles, raided Grandpa
Charlie's smokehouse for hot smoked herring, cooned melons
for an occasional beach party, introduced each other to our friends,
and grew up.
I hope somewhere kids still do that. It was a special time. I still