|One saturday morn in the early spring of my 10th or 11th year, dad and gramps left for town in the truck. Ike was in the garage getting both tractors ready for field work. I was helping, wherever I could. After they had gone, Ike fished a quart bottle of warm beer from behind the tool boxes. ' Last one hop. Find a clean coffee can and I'll split it with ya'. We saved all our empty coffee cans. We saved glass jars with lids and all manner of things that 'might come in handy someday'. So I was soon sipping the warm bitter bubbly liquid. A few hours later dad and gramps came chugging up the lane into the yard. The truck had an odd assortment of boards in the back. I went to help unload asking what was this for. Gramps answered it was a boat, what in hell's it look like? And that was the beginning of many a happy hours spent on the water.|
Dad and gramps went to work on the boat the very next day. I was amazed at how they could work without plans or blueprints. They wrote measurements down on paper, cut lumber, drilled holes to bolt rib pieces together and in a few days, a beautiful jon boat was ready for paint. Back then, good wood was still easily obtainable. The ribs were redwood, the rest cypress. No plywood whatsoever. Dad bought some dark green boat paint and gave me the job of painting it after the seamswere caulked. Angel wanted in on the painting. We gave it two coats. When they dried, dad filled the boat with water to swell the seams tight. Then came launching day. Dad, gramps and Ike got it on the truck and off we went to the pond. A lot of happy hours were spent in that boat that summer. At some point an old Evinrude 1 1/2 H.P. outboard motor was aquired. It was perfect for that pond. It would idle down to barely moving and throttle up to about as fast as a man could row.
One afternoon stands out in my memory. Gramps and I were fishing by ourselves. I was in the stern running the motor and gramps was on the bow. I ran in close to the bank under a low hanging tree branch, knocking a huge black snake off his perch and into the boat. All hell broke loose after that. Gramps, near as afraid of snakes as Daryl, grabbed up the canoe paddle and started wildly wacking at the snake, shouting the whole time. I cut the motor and drew my bare feet up so snake wouldn't go up my pant leg. Snake was thrashing frantically, looking for a way out of this crazy place. Gramps was yelling, hitting everything but the snake, with his paddle. I was fearing for my life when gramps hit my big toe a mighty wack, breaking it. That was enough. I went over the side, along with the snake. Gramps sat down breathing hard from his workout. When we got home dad asked 'hop, why ya limping'? Another time dad and Angel were fishing together. She was still using my casting rod and reel and was not quite up to par yet. Dad was running the motor, Angel was on the mid seat. She rared back to make a cast, snagged dad's hat with her bass lure and cast it out into the pond.
We kept our boat chained to a tree at the pond but took our motor home each time. One day while getting ready to go out in the boat, some other guys were fishing at the pond. One came over and asked dad if the boat was for sale. They haggled awhile ending in the sale of not only the boat but the motor too. I was crushed. But, before that summer was over, dad and gramps built another boat even better. Best yet, dad got a 5 HP outboard motor that ran great. We had that boat and motor for a number of years.
I still have my first bait casting reel that was dad's and given to me. It's still in perfect working order. I think of those days whenever I handle it.
Submitted By: Hoppy from IA on 2009-11-05