You had to wake him up 3 times just to get in the truck to head to the water.
You bought him Pepsi, but it turns out he prefers Coke.
You swing through McDonald’s, and he orders a chicken biscuit, but it’ll be 10 minutes before they’re ready. You talk him into a Sausage McMuffin and head down the road.
At this point, you realize you really should’ve filled up the the truck night before. 10 minutes at the gas station, call it 15 after you track down an attendant to unlock the bathroom door.
You pull into line at the boat ramp 9 boats deep. Any urgency usually put into getting the thing ready to launch is lost on today’s partner; he’s dozing in and out of sleep in the backseat while 15 guys wearing high end sunglasses and driving high end boats are muttering cuss words under their breath at you holding up the line an extra 2 minutes.
You finally get the boy into the boat, the boat into the water, and begin idling out of the marina.
The fishing stinks. 2 short trout, a few “trash” fish . . . One decent bite and run, but whatever it was broke him off. He may have cried.
Boats break down. Lines snap. Reels fail. Ice chests get stolen. Pliers get misplaced. Engines sputter. Winds shift. Barometers rise and fall. Weathermen make stuff up.
All these things, on these trips, go “wrong” or “imperfect” – you just want something, anything, just one thing good to happen.
As you pull back into the driveway that night, sunburned and probably riddled with the Zika virus, this is the question you ask yourself: when is something good going to happen?
The boy has been asleep for the entire trip home. You look back to see his Mountain Dew spilling onto the leather next to him. You sigh as you turn onto your street.
You back the trailer into it’s spot, and you hear his door slam shut as soon as you put it in park. You do a quick rinse of the boat before slipping your shoes off and stepping in the back door, the one that leads him into the kitchen . . .
“And daddy triiiiiiiied to get me a chicken biscuit but they were all out of them so I ate a sausage one instead and it was. So. Good. And Dad let me steer the boat and we hooked something really really big but we don’t know what it was but Daddy thinks it was a shark or a redfish or a gigantic megladon – don’t laugh – he really thinks that – and then we caught tons of fish but none of them were keepers and Daddy got sunburnt but he didn’t let me get sunburnt ’cause he brought my special floppy hat and guess what? He brought Mountain Dew AND Pepsi and he let me drink as many as I wanted and we saw a dolphin and a manatee and I heard the oysters clicking under the boat and Dad thinks we may have seen a school of redfish but they just wouldn’t bite today and . . . ” On and on.
Finally my wife directs him to the shower and turns to me, grinning from ear to ear.
Almost as though she knows, she looks at my face and says “Still waiting on something good to happen?”
It already did.
If you enjoyed this column, you’d probably like this one, or this one. We’d also love it if you’d check out our weekly podcasts . . . We talk about stuff like our favorite Boat Songs or Bucket List Trips or Unwritten Rules of the Outdoors or, well, you get the picture!