Saturday, September 14, 2013

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

Jesse and Dale fished the tournaments for the longest time,
Friendly competitors, in search of trophies or a cash prize.
Now, the two were fishing partners, each far past their prime,
Sharing successes and failures, as well as whopper's lies.

Jesse had a good boat, and an outboard motor with get up and go.
Dale had an array of rods and reels and tackle, next to no one.
Each had a pickup truck with a sturdy bumper and hitch to tow,
Their competitive days behind them, now they fished for fun.

At an isolated campsite, they put in for a full day on the lake,
A location neither would share with others, call it a honey hole.
In the early Autumn, low humidity, not a day to sit and bake,
They came to a bed, known for small mouths, each grabbed a pole.

These hybrid bass would fight like a big fish wished it could,
Don't set the hook too hard, you can get a mouth full of steel.
Too much line slack, it will spit a lure at you, as it should,
These experienced anglers knew the game, and each had the feel.

Dale caught a hook in the hat like that, back in the early days.
Jesse laughed his ass off, until he saw it caught Dale's ear.
That mistortune was the event that ended their competitive ways.
It's fish, not fishermen, that are supposed to succumb to the gear.

Dale retired that hook that day, and it became a hat decoration,
From that day forward, his camouflage hat would glean with glare.
Rain or shine, hat never came off, Dale's signature decoration,
Not just in a boat on a lake, he'd wear the darn thing anywhere.

The fish were biting that day, but landing them, another story,
You know the tales told, about the big ones we fail to secure,
Where you reel them almost in, only to lose them, and the glory;
The fish get bigger from year to year, those that took a detour.

This day was proceeding, in typical fashion, no sign of alarm.
Jesse caught a glimpse of Dale, out of the corner of his eye.
Dale slumping over, mumbling incoherently, grabbing his left arm,
Jesse assumed it was an issue of the heart, now what to try?

They kept a kit of medical supplies, in the deck of the boat,
But Dale's dilemma was not a cut, scrape or even a snake bite.
Jesse's cell phone had no service, as such, could not connote;
Helping his partner lay down; he could no longer sit upright.

It was a frantic full hour before they could find help to access.
An ambulance met them, and took Dale, on the out skirts of town.
"I got him here as fast as I could," was all Jesse could confess.
Upon examination, siren was silenced, evidence, Dale was gone.

Come Tuesday, Jesse sat with the family, on the front row to view.
When it came time to revue, he paused longest, and with them cried.
Afterwards, he offered give them Dale's tackle; that wouldn't do.
They told him to keep it all, and assured him, they knew he tried.

Saturday afternoon found Jesse in his boat, late for water today.
He tried in vain to speak aloud to his friend, now passed and gone.
Gazing at Dale's hat, perched on the chair, these words to say,
"In the race to that big lake in the sky, Dale, you beat me home."
He bowed in silent prayer for his friend... the one that got away.

Michael Todd  (2013)


  1. Wow Myke, I got chills reading this. Absolutely enjoyed reading it. Jesse needs to make sure he has a radio on his boat so he can contact land should he need to in the future.

    1. Thanks, Laura... I have spent a good deal of time, lately, at a hospital, visiting... When I was leaving for home tonight, it occurred to me, I had not posted a blog, of sorts, this week. I have not missed a week in seven years. So, with that task before me, this story was all that I could conjure, on the drive home. I am glad I did.

      Oh, and... Nice FRISTING !!!

    2. WooHoo I have not fristed anywhere in many years. Hhmmm for some reason that does not sound right. But you know what I mean. Lol

  2. You are the ultimate storyteller. Loved it.

    1. And, you are the ultimate artist. Aren't we a pair?
      Thanks for taking the time to come visit. I appreciate that.

  3. Very touching story. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Such a sad ending, but a great poem :)

    1. Thanks, Joleene, for stopping by and reading. It is so nice to find friends here.

  5. We should all pass so well my friend.
    Nice piece! Has grumpy old man finger prints...

    Gotta love that

    1. I have never seen this grumpy old men show, but my dad has made several references to it. He loved it.

      Thanks so much for the visit. I truly appreciate that.

  6. He left doing what he like best with who he liked best. You can't do better than that.

    Surprised the hat didn't go with him, though.

    1. You know, Christopher... that thought never occurred to me, about the hat. Glad it did not. I would have been shy one prop for the poem.

  7. Myke, wow! This really hit a home run! My Grandma and Grandpa were avid, I mean really avid, fisher people. Every week rain, snow, sun whatever they were on the lake in their favorite spot with their cane poles, night crawlers and bobbers! Your blog brought them back to me. Thank you!

    1. So happy you were able to relate to this, on a personal level, Dave. Thanks for sharing that with me, Sir.

  8. A very fine piece, Sir Myke. Maybe the true bond begins where the competition ends? Sounds like Jesse is already looking forward to the time when he'll be sinking his hooks into tha big blue lake together with his pal... :o)

    1. Now, that is taking this in the spirit it was written, and beyond...

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Sir Ruggi. You make this place seem even more like home to me, which it now is.

  9. This actually hit me hard, Myke. A friend I used to work with passed away on the ice this past winter while waiting for his 4-year-old grandson to meet him for some ice-fishing. When his wife called to tell me he was gone,I thought she was calling to get timing for a dinner theater we were all going to the following weekend. I was shocked, sad, and mad all at the same time...the poor bastard had planned to retire this August, and he never got a chance to get out of the factory and enjoy life. His usual fishing buddy was there at his wake, all broken up. Man, you did strike a chord with this one.

    1. Sandra, I am stunned and saddened by your revelation here. Honestly, this story was not based on any past history of mine, or personal relations. Most of my stories and poems do have a tie that binds...

      I am very sorry about your friend passing, and the circumstances that surrounded.

  10. Replies
    1. Many thanks to my favorite Walmart Greeter of all time.

  11. Oh Myke, what a sad but endearing tale of friendship.... and loss. You certainly pulled at my heartstrings with this beautiful and touching write!!!!! <3

    1. Thanks, C.B. ~ I did not realize the effect this was going to have as I was writing. I guess it turned out to be more than just a story, to some.

  12. Got misty eyed at the end. Excellent story so well told!

    1. I understand, Jessica... I read this on our radio show, and the end was really difficult to manage...
      Thanks so much for the visit. Glad to see you here.