Not fond of boats, but have fond boating memories

Published 6:15 am Wednesday, July 26, 2023

By Bonnie Brown

The year was circa 1955 when a new Thompson wooden hull 14-foot boat with an Evinrude outboard motor was introduced into the Brown family in Jackson. Many hours were spent at Lake Hico (Hinds County) and on the Pearl River.

Fast forward to 1983 when the boat made its way to Oxford and Papa Brown gave the boat to the grandsons. The vessel underwent some repair and patching and was deemed worthy of sailing at Sardis Lake. Our sons Dennis and Jeff couldn’t wait to begin the voyage on Sardis and navigate the waters there in search of crappy, bass, and bream.

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I was not as enthusiastic as the men were about this adventure. I’m not a good swimmer and certainly wasn’t a good sailor either. However, I cast my anxieties to the wind and prepared snacks for the outing.

Let me just say that launching a boat is a worrisome task. It is imperative that the vehicle that tows the trailer on which the boat rests reaches the precise location where the boat can be lowered safely into the water. And that said, then Tom would move the vehicle and trailer to the parking area.

What happens to the boat that is now floating in the water held there by me? Well, knowing that I had to keep a tight grasp on the rope and keep it close to the dock until Tom returned to get us loaded and launched, I was committed to keeping it as close as I could to some portion of dry land or pavement. It was a nerve-wracking experience.

As I recall, I was in charge of nothing after that. After all, I had packed the snacks. I didn’t want to handle the bait, I wasn’t particularly interested in trying to catch a fish, and I certainly didn’t want to have to take a fish off the hook. You don’t know how intimidating the fins are. So, I always took a book to read as the fishing derby took place just feet from my perch in the boat.

It was almost always windy, and there was almost certainly a snake hanging in a tree or swimming near the boat that drew my attention from my book. I hate snakes! Even the “good” ones are scary. And it seems that there are no “good” snakes at the lake, only the poisonous, menacing ones.

The boys seemed unfazed by the snakes and were more opinionated about any noise that I might make that might disturb the fish. Really? They are underwater and probably can’t hear my conversation.

I will admit that each outing was a fun experience, albeit exhausting and a little frightening upon reflection. Like I said earlier, I’m not a water person.

After our return, I would think about the day, the excitement when the guys caught a fish, the natural beauty of the lake and the shoreline. But I would also stop to think about the depth of the water we had been in for hours that day. And what if the brakes failed as the boat was being launched or retrieved from the water? Or what if my grasp of the rope failed and the boat floated away?

But I must admit that it was a fun, bonding experience for our family. And the tales we can share are all very positive and upbeat. And most importantly, we returned home safely after each fishing expedition. So how do you like yours — fried or grilled?

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