It is dark. The sun is shining bright, but it is dark. The warmth of the sun is joyous on this cool day, but the darkness has reached my soul.
I remember the times we spent on the river, the wind blowing in our faces as we raced to check our next “trotline.” Paul would be at the helm, his cap turned backwards, singing, “I’m the leader of the clan. I’m an alligator man.” Paul loves the river. He may love the river more than all other things.
Living in the middle of the woods with a good woman and no one else around was a dream he had. He could turn his dogs loose and listen to the sounds of the forest, at peace with the world.
The first marriage was not good for Paul. He had rushed into the partnership with dire results. Fussing, running around places they shouldn’t go, doing things that shouldn’t be done if a marriage is to last. He ran and ran. Alcohol, drugs, dealing, the law. He ran until there was no place to run. Divorce, probation, seeking, searching, never finding.
We are searching the river now. This is the third day of the search. Who knows what we will find.
Being together, riding the back roads, somewhere, sometime, some life, we were connected. Communication soul to soul, that is what it’s like, my being with him.
Divorced together, we chased women together. Who’s next? For me, getting a date was an effort. When we went to a joint, women tried to pick Paul up. One after the other, women were there for him. Finally he found a lady that seemed to fulfill him.
Marriage, work, rebuilding a life, time passed. The river was always there.
Fishing the river, a person needs a flat bottom john boat to jump logs in back water and a motor strong enough to move the boat against the current when the river is up. The fancy fiberglass bass boats won’t work. Bass boats cannot be maneuvered in flooded woods. When you hit a log with a fiberglass boat, it cracks. For Paul, the ultimate is 14-foot john boat with a 20-horsepower outboard motor.
Children growing up, work here, work there, needing money, Paul took positions of responsibility he refused in the past. He always wanted to be able to quit work and go fishing whenever he felt like it. But he enjoyed the things money could bring: long trips, special places, maybe even a bass boat.