The Prairie Spy

Alan “Lindy” Linda

This past weekend was fishing opener, which, whether you know it or not, is to Some Folks the equivalent of Christmas, the Fourth of July, and New Year’s Eve, all rolled into one. For Some Folks.

I’m related to one of those Some Folks, and months and months ago he began to include me in a what-was-to-me completely preposterous scheme to jump in his boat on Friday night before the Saturday that was the fishing opener. Then we would homestead in his boat on a Hot Spot–guarding it from people who aren’t Some Folks– that only Some Folks know about, until one minute after midnight, at which point we would start reeling in The Big Ones. (Only Some Folks know where The Big Ones are, you see.)

Unspoken but I’m sure I heard in his invitation was the hidden promise that I was being extended a privilege not given to just anyone: A view into the group known as Some Folks and the as-yet hidden knowledge about The Big Ones.

Wow! Was I lucky or what!

Friday night came. And although the weather was doing its very best to dampen my spirits by being in the low fifties for temperature, and windy, and spitting rain, we loaded up and headed down the road in the darkness of night for the lake.

And what a boat he had. It was one of the new Lund 20-footers, the 2000 model, with sides camouflaged so, I guessed, those people who were not Some Folks wouldn’t see where we were going as we raced down the road to That Place where The Big Ones lurked.

You know, it’s really really dark at night on the lake, but he got the boat in the water, we got in the boat, and next thing you know, we were anchored in the swift current where the lake–swollen by snow melt–empties into the river. The Big Ones seemed to be somewhere else, even though we were in That Place where They were known to lurk.

But once in a while, we brought in a walleye, and spent quite a bit of conversational time on where The Big Ones were, since They didn’t seem to be Here. Things were as good as they could be, what with a stiff wind blowing, the temperature of the air sagging down toward fifty degrees, and a nasty spitting wind.

What fun we were having, though. Suddenly, one of the guys sitting in the front of the boat on a cooler apparently went suddenly to sleep. (It turned out that this particular condition was not unexpected of him, although since it was, why he didn’t have a life vest on was somewhat peculiar….) To make a long story short, he fell overboard, and in the process took a very expensive landing net with him, and a couple of fishing poles.

He was a big guy, you see, and this is a big, deep boat, with tall sides, so dragging him back on board was quite a fracas. At this point, he was quite awake, and the water was quite cold, and the water was only four feet deep or so, but the current was swift. He was pretty excited about how cold that water was. He was finally dragged gasping back into the boat.

At that point, you could see his cell phone lit up down there on the bottom, but the landing net with which one might lasso it was by now a mile down the swift river.

And no one was going back into that cold water.

It’s now the next day. I still don’t know where The Big Ones are. Or where That Place where The Big Ones lurk is. Or whether or not I’m now one of Those Folks who go to That Place where The Big Ones are.

But without a doubt it was a pretty exciting night.