by Gene Benedict
November 1,  2017

(Last week, Trouble described a storm that came up while he and his dad were at the launching ramp with the boat still on the trailer. We repeat here a few lines from Part 1.)

Then the roof of the shelter began peeling, leaving, going somewhere off into the marsh. By now the water was near my knees. Maybe I could make it to the car, perhaps to a haven. I squinted out one eye only to see that the boat, strapped well to that trailer that was well hitched to the car, was sometimes airborne, sometimes not. Not a good idea, that going for the car, so I just hung onto that post which had so far served me well.          

In these situations, time itself slows way down. Everything is in slow motion. All the senses seem to quicken. Awareness becomes keener, colors become brighter, winds become noisier. I saw no escape from the situation so I just hung on to that post. I was wet to the bone, cold, and getting colder. I remember no fear, only a certain sense of helplessness.

The wind. It was as if the wind had a mind of its own, abruptly changing direction again and again. The sky was very dark all around except to the southeast where it took on an eerie, faded yellow-pink color that seemed to be growing. I could nearly see thorough the storm in that direction so that is where I tried to focus.      

After what seemed like an hour, probably less than two minutes, the roar, the howl, the scream of the wind began to subside. I could again see the car, the trailer askew, the boat still attached. I could now make out the concrete block building, thirty or so yards away. And Dad sheepishly hanging on to one corner, poking his head around.          

I waved for him to stay where he was. While the wind was growing quieter, he still couldn’t hear me hollering. The water was still at my knees, but the worst was over. And then almost suddenly the tornado was gone. The storm was over. The rain even stopped for a bit. It took the water several minutes to start going down, to drain back into the Gulf.          

I let go of the post and waded to the car to inspect it. Dad joined me and started the car to get the heater going. We sat there trying to warm up and waiting until the water was off the road enough to head inland. About that time that big Coast Guard helicopter made another pass. It was a good feeling to know they were somewhere near all the time even though there wasn’t much that could be done. We blinked our lights to let them know we were okay.

We drove inland three or so miles for coffee and a second breakfast at the Port Inglis Restaurant. It wasn’t until we got there that either of us spoke. Then we talked, and did we talk. Even though it was again raining and the wind was up some, we still wanted some big reds. Fishermen are nuts.          

We left the restaurant and drove to the Barge Canal. We launched, and by hugging the south bank, we could stay out of the wind and the chop. At the mouth of the canal are several spoil islands from past dredgings. By aiming the bow of the boat into the general direction of the wind, a few degrees off, and feathering the throttle, we made it to the lee side of one island.          

The fishing was great. We caught our limit. We saw the helicopter again a couple of times, and once, the Marine Patrol came to check on us. They didn’t check our licenses, our boat or our catch. They just wanted to know if we were okay.          

I don’t think Mom ever heard the story. When we got home we were tired and we had fish to clean. It served no purpose to tell Mom that story. After all, it was just another day fishing.

I’m exhausted from just writing this, so I’m heading back out there to poke around for Trouble in Cedar Key.

Copyright © by Gene Benedict 1  November 2017