Yesterday morning we loaded the Suburban, picked up Bren’s girlfriend Olivia are 7:45 a.m. Central time, and headed to Bismarck to fetch our eldest from University of Mary. Olivia rode shotgun (five bucks who can explain why I decided to call her “Coach”) to the campus, and we played the letter game, the license plate game, talked, sang along to the iPod, and ate Hardee’s for lunch in Jamestown, N.D.
Been sleeping on the houseboat with the full moon for a night light. Jill and her kids (plus her boxer) came up to the lake, too, and the boys (minus Trevvy) went fishing. Lots of too-small walleye.
Then Brendan finally hooked something. The pole bent double. The drag whined as line was pulled out against the reel’s wishes Dziadzi was ready with the net, and Gabe and Kyle were cheering him on … and it spit the hook. Oof. We all felt terrible, and Dziadzi shouted something it’s best I don’t repeat here.
Brendan took it in stride. He imagines a massive fish and tells a good story. Dziadzi tells him his great-grandpa caught few fish, but always caught the biggest. He sees himself in that light.
Gabe suspects the fish was “Old Mocker” – the fish who’s been jumping on all sides of the houseboat this entire trip. Gabe imagines a wise and clever fish who, like Moby Dick, can show up in one place and then somewhere else entirely nearly simultaneously.
He called the fish “Old Mocker,” of course, because it continued to mock us each time we set out …
Spent the day at Hardy Dam, and the kids learned a bit more about fishing and camping – namely that, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, you never know what you’re gonna get. Bren, Gabe and I went fishing with Dziadzi early in the morning and caught seven or so small walleye (8 to 13 1/2 inches; minimum to keep ’em is 15). I caught a 22-inch pike (minimum is 24 inches). So, no keepers, and Bren didn’t catch any at all!
Jodi and Busia went to town for groceries (our family changes the entire feeding dynamic at the camp site) and the kids decided to read (Bren = The Silmarillion; Gabe = The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen) or nap through a good part of the afternoon, so Dad and I read (East of Eden continues to be a masterpiece; Dad is reading Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising). When the ladies returned, we took the kids to the beach, but a steady breeze had blown a thick layer of pea-soup muck into the swimming area. The kids played in the sand, instead, and I went with Dad to install two more bunks in the houseboat.
Afterward, all of us set out to go fishing, only to be blown in off the lake by a rapidly advancing storm. We barely got the houseboat docked again before the rain began – the cabin catches a lot of wind! So we went into my folks’ fifth-wheel to eat supper and watch the Olympics. Oh, and we learned that smallmouth bass are quite good to eat – cousin Kyle had left one behind. Not really what we planned, but it all worked out. Amen.