We talk often about fishing, more so than hunting or trapping or anything else the great outdoors has to offer. We may start out reminiscing about a blueberry patch, but somehow, before the chit chat ends, we always end up on a fishing foray either he or I took, albeit we never took one together.
His favorite stories always include his wife, and as he says, she passed now, oh, been, more than fourteen years.
She liked metal pails for berry picking and would only use a cane pole, no matter what type of fishing they tried. She said any more than one pole would be a sin, a sin of greed, which she’d have no part of.
Over the years, me being his younger shadow, I have worked over some of his water and he asks about specific pools, do they still offer up a brookie, or he points out the best spots for what was in his day a truly whopper walleye hole, fingering the maps I bring with, And the skin on his fingers for some odd reason, look as soft as his milky eyes.
He likes siting by the window in the warm sunny afternoons where we are for the most part left alone. Nurses keep an eye on him, but every so often they get to man handling him as he puts it. After the nurses leave he says quietly, for just us to hear, I aint a baby ya know.
Absolutely Every time I come see him he says, one day I aint gonna be here, you know that, right. I say I know, no worries.
He wears old man clothes. Shirts that button all the way to the collar and his are buttoned, even buttoned at the wrists. The black suspenders, everyday I’ve ever seen him, black suspenders, if he could stand, might hold something up, but they just hang limp, about as much as he does. His face sags heavily on the left side and his body slouches even harder to the arm of the wheel chair on the same side.
Once I asked him what he did to end up in a place like this, thinking maybe he ran out of money, or just landed on hard times, and his answer floored me.
He said being here was one of the luckiest things ever happened to him. He figured for the only time in his life he had forty to fifty women to himself on any given day. Made it almost easy to get up every morning. The trout whisperer