Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Dad

I told this story as part of the toast for my younger brother's wedding.

When I was probably about eight years old, my father took my brother and me fishing. It was part of an adventure that the Fish Family men undertook from time to time, to test their mettle against the wise and mighty sunfish of the world. Of course, we were always trying to catch more than sunfish, but that's all we ever seemed to get (until one day my brother caught an 18 inch bass and then it was fish-on for real!).

So, we went to our favorite family spot, a little bit of water that can best be described as larger than a pond and considerably smaller than a lake. A lake-pond, if you will. We got set up as we always did and proceeded to cast and catch very, very little fish. And very few of them. Being an adventurous 8 year old who was clearly not catching fish, I decided to explore the lake-pond and see if I could locate a better fishing spot (or at least a more interesting place to throw rocks where nobody was fishing).

I came across a tree that had been blown over in a storm, and as luck would have it, it had blown over in such a way that it was hanging over an island about 15 feet off the shore of the lake-pond, with a clear cast to some deep running, promising looking, water. To my trained and finely honed eight-year-old eyes, I saw Big-Fish Water. Surely, this is where all of the lunkers of lake-pond resided and I now had access to them. Sort of.

My Mission Impossible plan was executed thusly (and without the help of my MI Team, I might add): I put my rod and bait in my left hand and used my right hand to balance as I kind of shimmied out on the fallen tree about ten feet from the bank to a spot directly over the island. I dropped my rod (The Horror) and bait down to the island. It seemed a long drop by eight year old standards, but I was after the Lunkers of Lake-Pond. Then I hung down from the tree, chin-up style, and let go.

Whump. I hit the ground. I am fairly certain I added a tuck and roll, MI-style, right after hitting terra firma. I was in my spot. I had the rod and reel, the bait and access to lunkers. I felt brave and smart and even a little proud of myself for devising and executing this clever plan.

I fished for about an hour and noticed it was getting dark. I don't remember if I caught more fish. I do remember I didn't catch bigger fish. Certainly no lunkers. And, it was getting dark. And, I was eight. It was around this time that my father appeared at the top of the hill, where the tree was overhanging and said it was time to go.

My predicament was immediately apparent. With a sudden panic, I realized I had dropped down from a tree I couldn't reach back up to. I had landed on an island, which by definition is surrounded by water. I was stranded on an island with deeper water all around me and no way to get up. So, I did what any eight year-old would do in this situation.

"Dad. I'm kind of stuck down here. Can you help me."

My father assessed the situation with lightning quickness and said, "Son. Never get yourself into a situation that you haven't figured how you can get yourself out of it. We're leaving in five minutes."

And he turned around and walked back to the car.

I ended up wading through the water (warm and deep, as I recall) and got to the car in time. My dad didn't say anything more about it, just handed me a towel to dry off and sit on for the ride home.

I remember being mad at the time, as furious as an eight-year-old can get, wondering why he didn't help me. It wasn't until many years later that I realize just how much he did.

Thanks, Dad.

Happy Father's Day

Finally, something for the dad who has (almost) everything.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rush Limbaugh

I didn't think Rush could get any dumber. Apparently, I have underestimated him.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Han Solo, P.I.

But before I go...


What a weekend. So far I have:

-- Cleaned out the garage, powerwashed it, purged a bunch of junk and took another yard-sale boatload downstairs

-- Fixed teh powerwasher and powerwashed the deck and the furniture

-- Got the deck all set up, including the daybed for Mrs. Fish

-- Mowed the lawn, did the weedwhacking and did some weeding

-- Went on a hike with Little Fish and Murphy

-- Hung out with Little Fish, including a Home Depot run to make new keys, a car dealer run to look at cars, and a Verizon run to look at phones for the two of us

-- Biked 45 miles to Boiling Springs and back...cramped terribly one mile from the house and had to get off and take in an extra gel. I think I need to add some salt to my long, hot rides

I could be wrong, but I think it's time for bed....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Plagues?

Topping off the chicken bone from two days ago would have been tough, but Mother Nature obliged, yesterday, with a massive hailstorm. While I was driving. Down 81. In the truck corridor around Carlisle.


I miss that chicken bone.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

My Day...

So today I had a tractor-trailer roll over in front of my car on the way to York.

I was in a place that was declared at high risk for a tornado.

I was almost crushed between another tractor-trailer and a guard rail on the way to York.

I just missed a hail storm that dumped golf-ball-sized hail on the midstate.

I passed through a storm where I was in sunshine one second and could not see the next, like those old movies of walking into waterfalls.

And, on the way back to the office, I asked, "What else?" The guy at the light next to me rolled down his window and tossed out a chicken bone drumstick right in front of my car.

I'm so glad today is over.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


How does one hit three pars and three eights in one nine-hole outing? The problem with golf is this: you must either invest a lot of money and time to get better, or resign yourself to mediocrity and accept that you will never get better. Both of these options appeals to me not at all.

I hate this game. I hate this game. I hate this game. I hate this game. I hate this game. I hate this game. I hate this game.


I love this game.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Top 10 Signs The Fish Might be Getting in Shape

10. No longer makes "the old man noise" when he stands up or sits down.

9. I can almost breathe while riding in the drops.

8. That 60-something-year-old guy I see in my travels no longer seems REALLY fast.

7. The guy who yelled, "Go get 'em Lance" doesn't know about the surgery.

6. I can climb the hill near my daughter's school and the sound I make at the top is "breathing" not "wheezing".

5. When I jumped on it after passing a posse of guys near Harrisburg's MUT, one of them was heard to say, "Man, that s**t is crazy."

4. I went with the breakaway group on the club ride and I didn't die...

3. My wife asks how my ride went and I can manage more than monosyllabic grunts.

2. Passing a rather large woman tonight, she asked me to pick her up on my way back.

1. I sprinted past two pit bulls and felt I had what I needed in my legs if I needed to go, go, go....