Walter Mencken 2:08 p.m., Aug. 27
- Community Blog
Far Side of the Lake
The trip had been planned for weeks. My fishing buddies and I would hit Lake Miramar in Scripps Ranch and take over the state record for number caught in a single day. Ah, a day fishing...where a man can be a man: can respond to his every natural instinct: can revisit his inner masculine survivor without the social restraints imposed by the tradional male/female relationship. So my wife says as we pushed off from the rental dock, "Let's run past the point there and try our hand at some early feeders on the bottom." It's hard to argue with the best fisherman on board. The other two were our nephew Dale visiting from Oregon, and our friend Johnny from parts unknown. The motor sputtered out early on that fateful morning. The last of the food followed shortly after. We kept a brave front and continued fishing as we were cast adrift into uncharted regions of the lake. I was softly jostled alert as the boat came to rest on the sandy northern shore. Shaking the cobwebs I could tell the others had been dozing. The lack of food was beginnig to get to us all. I quickly surmised the situation called for calm. "We need a plan of action," I shouted. "and some rules." "Rules? What the heck for?" Johnny eyeballed me. As captain of the ship I realized the need to nip this sort of mutinous attitude in the bud. I reached down and rummanged the bottom of the boat; grasping a glass container I raised it above my head. I identified the talisman. "He who holds this Pabts Blue Ribbon bottle has the right to speak...and no other." I anticipated awed silence. "You've had too much sun, Buddy-Boy," Johnny confirmed. Dale glanced back and forth between the two of us and asked, "S'up, Uncle D?" "People, people, let's not get hasty. I'm your leader. We've got to have rules!" I repeated. My wife patted me on the knee. "OK hon, why don't we all get out and stretch our legs." The party moved ashore. We had no food and we were dangerously low on fresh water. I split duties and chores amongst the members of the group. Johnny was to hunt for food. Of course, with the lake so near, fish seemed the best option. Dale was to scale a nearby mountain top and scout for any possible occupants of this desolate land. My wife and I began work on a shelter since we could not guess the duration of our trail. I realized my dear wife was suffering from shock when she asked, "Do you thing a lean-to is really neccessary?" I tore the sleeves off my shirt as we worked--actually as I worked, my wife having refused to take part in such "silliness." I considered discussing with her the importance of insuring the continuation of the tribe, but decided there would be time later. While searching for more wood to finish the shelter, I came across a mud puddle. The rich mocha mud had an even consistency and smeared onto my face easily. It quickly dried into an excellent war mask. Johnny suspected nothing as I stealthfully exchanged sharpened sitcks for his "other world" spin-reel and rod. I had returned to camp by the time we heard Johnny crashing though the undergrowth. "What the..?" My wife and I looked up as Johnny emerged breathless and agitated. "OK that's it..." I stopped him short with a raised hand. "You don't have the PBR," I offered him the sacred bottle. Johnny snatched it from my hand. "Someone has ripped my pole and left these crazy sharpened spear-sticks." I took one of the spears in my hand and tested the weight and balance. "May I?" I reached for the PBR. Johnny pushed it into my hand. "Feels pretty good to me." I returned the spear. "Good for what?" Johnmny asked in no small voice. "For fishing," I said brightly. My wife took the PBR and said, "I've had just about enough of all this. Can we head home soon?" The poor thing was delusional. Not wanting to distress her further with a dose of reality, I decided the best thing was a dose of comfort. A FIRE! Yes, a fire. That would make us all feel more comfortable, more civilized, more like home. Having lost my shoes somewhere along the way, I now walked barefooted to the obsolete nautical vessel we had floated in on. As I stood and considered the best way to dismantle the shipwreck, there came a strange mechanical sound from back towards camp. I first heard my wife's raised voice, then Johnny's, then Dale's. My survival instincts kicked in; I dropped everything and bolted for camp. The three of them were busy loading poles, nets, jackets, and selves ito some king of 4-wheeled device. "What is all this?" I asked. "Hey, Unk," Dale smiled and patted me on the shoulder. "I hoofed around the lake and found your Hide-A-Key." He gestured to the idling vehicle. "May I present this royal chariot for your rescue, Sir." He looked at me and frowned. "What's all over you face?" "Egg, Dale," my wife explained. "It's egg."
Daniel J McAuliffe