Larry Parks called me early on a Saturday morning to say something like this: “My column Monday will be similar to the one you wrote today about discourteous and inconsiderate drivers, but I just want to let you know I had already turned in my column before reading yours.”
Larry, a nice guy and a local columnist who wrote two interesting volumes about fishing along the Gulf Coast, available at The Facts, wrote on July 15 that, “there is absolutely no difference between burning up the concrete and throwing a big wave along the Intercoastal.”
I relate by reminiscing about what occurred when I lived on a canal at Hide-A-Way on the Gulf. In my little fishing boat with low sides, I wet a hook at the entrance to Oyster Creek at the Intercoastal Canal. An ocean-going fishing vessel with three decks blew by me, sending a tsunami my way. My skiff bounced around like a jack ball thrown up and missed by a child.
Rubbing salt in the wound, the fishermen on the bridge were amused by my plight.
Fishing spoiled, I gave up on the day and headed in.
But a funny thing happened on the way home. I caught up with the belligerent captain and his crew because they had tried to blast into Hide-A-Way without regard to the no-wake sign and ran aground on the oyster reef hiding 4 inches below the waterline in front of the canals. “Captain Big Britches” must not have known about the narrow channel for navigating the reef, marked by sticks and stobs.
I spied his $100,000 boat beached on the vile reef. Vile, I write, because oysters are razor sharp and have no respect for beautiful gel-coat finishes or fiberglass hulls.
The crew knew they had damaged their boat, and they were bewildered by how to get the behemoth off the reef. With “egg on their faces,” they had ruined their own fishing trip by causing themselves hundreds of dollars in damage. Then, nobody was laughing on the tall tower.
Slowly motoring my way to the helpless vessel, I tossed a line in spite of my heart not wanting to be merciful. My Christian faith had its way, and I ministered to the unlovable.
I kid you not, the captain said as he latched my line to his boat: “I’m sorry about how rude to you I was back there.”
“Meh!” I muttered, still thinking he had exposed his true character.
I eased forward until I took the slack out of the line, and then I gave my 90 horsepower more and more throttle. The motor roared louder and louder and the prop kicked up water under the load. Finally, my runabout won the tug-of-war with the reef and the ark ground free to rock happily in the waves.
Retrieving my line, ever the counselor, I said, “You need to have your boat hauled and the bottom inspected before you got back out into deep water. Oysters can do a lot of damage.”
With that, we parted company.
I agree with Larry, “There is absolutely no difference between burning up the concrete and throwing a big wave along the Intercoastal.”
By the way, Larry’s books in two volumes, “Dancing with the Waves,” might be a little pricey, but that’s because they contain color photos that forever document fishing in these parts. I have the books, I enjoy them and I’d buy them again.
Some of his photos show stringers of fish. I teased Larry, saying, “I turned your book over to a game warden to be sure all your catches were legal. You might be hearing from him.” Smile.
On July 21, Gin Crawford, another local columnist, wrote this about operators of vehicles: “Some people are just not smart enough to know things like killing someone because you had to send a senseless text will be a life-changing experience for you and change the lives of the people you hurt forever.”
Yours truly wrote the following July 13: “I consider driving a litmus test because, except for peace officers who can identify license plates, people are anonymous. Your true character is revealed to you when you’re anonymous. Do you like what you see?”
“Consider your ways,” the Bible urges.