Not Florida! I’m impressed.
Do you really call your dad, “Sir”? In the 1980s? Sounds like a total git.
It’s a Southern thing, culturally appropriate†
† For some values of “culture” and “appropriate.”
Holy bubbling flesh batman, that’s just horrifying. I had a great-uncle that died a horrible death as a young boy doing something similar involving kerosene and a heater (but most definitely not on instruction from his pa).
Golly, that’s a great story, and wonderfully written.
I think my father started fighting cancer when he was twenty. By the time I was four, he’d already lost a leg in a failed attempt to prevent the cancer from spreading. I don’t know why the doctors thought he developed cancer, but even if they had an idea I’m sure grandmom would’ve stuck to her prevailing theory. See, Dad had a Jeep Willys and a fever for off-roading. In the year before he was diagnosed with cancer, he’d managed to fling himself from the Willys in the act of flipping it (no seatbelt, natch), and managed to land his leg under where the Jeep would land. Achievement Unlocked.
And so, on a bright and sunny summer day when I was four, he took me fishing in his old, wooden, flat-bottomed johnboat. I don’t think the boat had been used in a while. He was in the back with his remaining leg, paddling and steering. Up front was his friend, Jimmy Dunn. By the way, this is my only Jimmy Dunn story. I know nothing of the guy other than he broke his leg prior to that fishing trip. We’re talking full plaster leg cast from the groin down and around the heel.
So, there we go, out to the middle of the lake, with a 4:3 ratio of good legs to people. Mom was on the shore with her friends, livid. Then again, she was always livid. Her friends were of the sort that were probably estimating the odds of survival in case the boat flipped. “One-leg guy’s otherwise fit and has a shot.” “Have you felt how heavy Jimmy Dunn’s cast is? No way.” “Not sure about the brat’s chances.”
Dad set up my fishing rig. He baited a hook, strung it on a yard of line, and tied the line to a nail on the inside lip of the rail. He also offered instructions: since my bait was so close to the boat, I had to be quiet lest I scare the fish off. I didn’t catch any fish, hell, I didn’t even see any, but Dad and Jimmy did catch an hour of silent fishing. During which they managed to put a hurting on a 12-pack of canned beer.
Getting kinda bored of the lack of fishing action, I became fascinated with the way that the pondweed was swaying in the puddle of water in the bottom of the boat. I pointed out to my father how curious it was that the pondweed was getting sucked into the gaps between the floorboards and was slowing the leak. Neat!
My father handed me an old Maxwell coffee can and taught me a new verb: bailing.
“Why me?,” I asked.
“Because we’re rowing.”
I commenced bailing.
When we made it back to shore, he told Mom that he was never worried.
This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.