Tenderfoot fishermen.

by kfrego

This is another memory precipitated by a very loud commotion in the side yard of our home. Being awakened and frightened at the same time have the effect of imprinting the experience in your memory forever. No wonder people who live in true fear go berserk. In this case the fear was only temporary and it was out of bed to see what was going on.

The sources of all the noise made it to the porch, thru the mud room, and into the kitchen. In the door came my stepfather and two of his brothers. They were dressed in their wool plaid hunting shirts over their normal clothes, but nothing else in the scene was normal. They were all carrying their boots and with considerable amounts of discomfort trying to walk on the tip of their toes. Each of them grimaced in pain as they tippy toed thru the kitchen to find comfortable seats.  Mom was standing with a look of awe on her face and my little brain couldn’t even begin to comprehend what was going on. These three grown men had just put on quite a show. They were still arguing over who was at fault for their problems.

As Paul Harvey would say “Time for the rest of the story”. As a young child my memory drifted off as the kitchen returned to normal. Through the years the story was passed down many times. The sturgeon fishing had been pretty slow, but the beer was flowing pretty fast. One of the brothers went to a farm and returned with a few sticks of dynamite, caps, and fuses. The not so sober trio climbed into their old wooden flat bottomed boat and headed up river past a deep hole which normally held sturgeon. One brother held the lantern, but you couldn’t see very far. Brother number two rowed the boat. Good old number three was the powder man.

It was never known or established what really happened. Number one got disoriented on location, number two turned too far or the wrong way, or good old number three threw the dynamite the wrong direction. Can’t you just imagine peacefully floating down the river in the dark anticipating the blast downstream? What a surprise when it went off close enough to literally demolish their boat. The shock wave from the blast transmitted through the floor of the boat directly into their feet. Two of them bailed water as the third rowed the boat. When they entered the kitchen at home they still couldn’t walk on the soles of their feet.

While seeing only the end of this comical near disaster, it is truly another great adventure. Not many people have seen a ballet of real fishermen tippy toeing thru a kitchen.

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