Hey Kid

Hey Kid (Part One)

“Hey kid”, he yelled gruffly
From his wheelchair
In the wisterias shadows
Of his falling down porch
“Come here”, impatiently
He ordered like a king
As I tried to sneak
Across a corner of his empire
To the creek border
For a day of fishing
On a promising May morning.

I was a boy of a dozen years
The past one mourning for my father
Who died the summer before
Confused and lost
I sought refuge by myself
Escaping the trauma of grief
My mother’s struggles
My younger sibling’s pain.
The shortcut to the waiting fish
Interrupted by the old mans voice
Challenging my right of trespass.

Obediently I complied
More my nature than strategy
“Yes sir” I heard my voice
For the first time, unafraid
And approached his throne
With certain steps and curiosity
About myself and his intent
He was called old man Alexander
By my playmate friends
Creating legends of his meanness
A fear untested till this moment.

Then I saw those piercing eyes
Smiling at me behind the wrinkles
And a softened voice welcomed me
Like a soft embrace they drew me in
“Goin fishin” he questioned
“Yes sir, I again replied
“What for” he continued
“Whatever will eat a worm”, uncertain
He smiled, and paused thoughtfully for a moment
“Ever catch any trout” his face brightening
“Some” I said, “but not many”

Without a word he turned
And left me there at the stairs, startled
Wheeling his chair he disappeared
Beyond the door into the darkness
Returning a moment later with a leather case
And worn canvas bag
And waved me to the top stair
As he fumbled with the strap and buckle
And pulled a long bamboo rod onto his lap
“Tonkin Bamboo”, he spoke gently
“Made in England”, reverently

Deftly he fit the silver reel to the rod
And wove the thick line through the guides
Tied a handmade fly to the thin leader
A grasshopper made of feathers and fur
“Do you know the bend below the barn?”
“Yes”, I answered, “where the willows bend
And touch the water on the corner”
“Yes”, He smiled, “that’s the place for the big ones”
Brown Trout the size of your arm”
Dubious I thought and spoke
“I have never seen one that big”

“I know”, He said, as if telling a secret
“Worms get tangled in the branches
So most fisherman skip this place
But big trout live there, a perfect ambush
Darting from the shadows for minnows
And unlucky bugs carried there by the currents”
He handed me the rod and patted my hand
As I held it radiantly
The balance and shimmer of sunlight
On the age burnished eyelets and fine wire windings.
A piece of art that filled my senses with wonder.

“It’s yours if you catch me a trout for dinner.
Wade across above the bend and sneak low
And cast the fly in the ripples
So it will float near the branches
The fly must look natural and”, he paused
“You only get one chance, one cast
They will spook after the first try
It takes a lot of skill to ambush an ambusher”
He laughed gently at his turn of words
“On your way”’ he gestured
“You will figure out the rest for yourself.”

(To be continued)

Hey Kid

Boyd Miller

Newport, United States

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Artist's Description

I am writing an auto biography to pass on to my kids and grandkids…it is a series of short stories and this is one from the “Beginnings” Chapter.

Artwork Comments

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