This is one of my favorite stories of fishing at Bennett Spring on a Tuesday.
“We should form the Tuesday Fishing Club,” I said, “and we’d go fishing every Tuesday whenever possible.”
The others in the group – my husband, and Jesse and Nancy Zink – nodded, grunted (for they had fuzzy things and strings hanging out of their mouths) and kept working on attaching their tippets, bumblebees and ginger maribous to their lines, in preparation for catching trout at Bennett Spring State Trout Park on a Tuesday.
We had a marvelous day together, even though the wind blew, my husband only caught one fish and I caught two. The Zinks, of course, caught their limits of four each.
The next day I stood in a hallway at a hospital in Springfield, waiting for the therapists to finish working with my loved one. A guy my age kept passing me, doing laps around the corridors with his dad – who moved slowly with the aid of a walker and with his son’s gentle hand on his elbow. The elderly man wore washed-out rubber-bottomed sox and a hospital gown that I’m sure his son had cinched up tightly in the back. His son let him walk ahead.
I wondered how I got to this point in my life so quickly, where I worried about my parents and in-laws incessantly and wondered how I would go on without them someday.
The Tuesday Fishing Club
The Tuesday Fishing Club memories helped to quell that little panic period. I breathed a little easier as I recalled the ebb and flow of the stream, and the beauty that surrounded me just 24 hours earlier.
Before I started to fish, watching fly fishermen mesmerized me. I never thought I would have the patience or ability to cast a line out like that.
I still have not mastered the agile movements required of fly-fishing and I may never – especially if I have to spend time defending myself with my fishing rod.
That’s another thing I discovered, that a fishing rod makes a sufficient club when a water snake swims toward you.
“Just slap it,” said Jess, who was fishing a few feet upstream from me. “Slap it!” he yelled, as I stood awestruck.
I slapped that snake silly.
It floated upside down for a while, then turned sideways and retreated.
That incident made me think about how a fly rod had once worked as a club for an acquaintance of mine who was fly-fishing in Montana. He tells the story about how a cute baby moose appeared next to him in the stream. Unfortunately, the mama moose showed up thinking my acquaintance was into moose abuse, so he slapped that mama moose’s nose silly with his fly rod until she backed off.
Those experiences made me think about life being like nature and the river. You can be standing there mid-stream, having the time of your life or minding your own beeswax, when out of nowhere comes a snake (or a car accident, or cancer, you name it) and there you are, wondering if you should slap it silly, run away or take the bite.
Whatever you decide to do in your life, it might help if you get out into the Ozarks this spring. Take a day off from work. Live a little. Go fishing on a Tuesday.
If you go to Bennett Spring, just a few miles outside of Lebanon – which is another cool town to explore –on a weekday, you’ll practically have the whole place to yourself. Only the old-timers and homeschoolers will be there.
You can pack a lunch and watch the fishermen make their lines dance on the water, or you can partake of a trout dinner in the onsite restaurant. We headed down the road to the Sand Spring Resort café, where pork tenderloin sandwiches, a double hamburger and grilled chicken satiated our appetites and where the waitress didn’t mind that we wore our waders.
According to the vice-president of the Tuesday Fishing Club (Nancy), we displayed poor etiquette when we wore our waders into an eatery. No cleated waders were allowed, but otherwise, the management didn’t seem to mind.
All in all, this Tuesday fishing idea might just work. I’m already working on a Tuesday Crappie Outing. More to come on that one, later.