Monday, October 24, 2005

Pith Helmets and Hula Poppers

Crappie's Cove Thirty Years Later

If you visit you will get Roscoes version of the tale.
Or scroll down past my account of what really happened that day and see what my brother Chuckles memory conjures.

Abandon all hope ye who enters these paragraphs. I have a tale from the sea so terrible that upon first reading you would beg to have your most personal uncharted parts dry shaven daily with the splintered skull cap of Blackbeard himself for all eternity, rather than reading the tale again!
The story, based on fact but rendered inaccurate ,hobbled by my memory, I think it happened a long time ago. I may remember it as a tale of my courage and grace under fire, that is how my memory best serves me.
Memory I have found is not a servant called upon to dutifully reply to my every need but a jester that makes me look silly and the fool without effort, without fail and without thanks.
Around 1975 myself ( a man of uncommon courage) Roscoe , Roscoes twin brother Joe, my brother known as Chuckles and Roscoes big brother known as big John. Ventured fourth on the devils waters of Eagle Creek Reservoir on a small 14 ft. pontoon boat, an experience that would change us all, even my memory. We borrowed the boat from my dad and it was not in the best of shape, powered by a10 horse unreliable aka "Johnson" motor. In today's dollars I would guess he paid around $2.00 large for the entire vessel.
We somehow launched the boat and went to Crappie cove as I will call it because we were going to catch some Crappie. I was sitting at the head of the boat, the front part not fenced in, sitting in a aluminum chair cushioned with nylon straps next to "Joe" he sat proud and ready to pitch in and help with the lines if need be, an able seaman if ever one lived. We were jointly in charge of watching for stumps and such and I also had the highly esteemed job of anchor boy. Not a small responsibility when you consider that an anchor can keep a boat from falling off the edge of the earth and such. Never mind that it was a small mushroom shaped anchor which even in my young mind I considered to be of little prestige but I was still in charge of something, my peeps trusted me!
Again I sat at the head of the boat, huge tackle box at my side saddled with duties and responsibilities, I was proud and maybe a little cocky. My brother "Chuckles" was at the helm, or holding onto the outboards tired and trembling arm. "Roscoe" was in his chair and "Big John" was sitting beside him in his chair I have to think it was not made of aluminum and nylon because even at 16/17 the boy was not suited for a mere mortals chairs, hence the name "Big John".
We anchored off a likely spot for crappies, bass, krakens god knows what else but there was structure and anyone worth their salt knows that where lie structure there lies fish. I tried every lure in my arsenal and nothing, not a soul on the boat got a byte so I was given the order , pull anchor and lets "move on up away". I did so with much theatrics , a determined look in my eye, a certainty of purpose , feigned muscle strain and finally laid the anchor beside my chair calm on the exterior but barely able to contain my excitement about the coming order to drop anchor.
Brother Chuckles had the old Johnson wound out and we had to be doing nearly 7 knots when all the world became confusing. The boat began to dive nose first into the water, my legs were wet all the way to me bum, I looked behind me and first saw the Johnson's propeller spinning in dead air, I could count the spin of the blades , my brother looked very confused trying to shut down the power, "Roscoe" was holding tight to his pith helmet with both hands and his brother "Big" was holding on to Roscoe with one hand and the side rail with the other.
Funny thing about big brothers they can treat you like hell your whole life and all at once in time of need they are protecting you from plunging into the depths of the devils waters...God this is a long story! GAW!
Here is what happened . Ole Anchor boy set the anchor to close to the edge of the boat and it fell off while we were speeding down the cove, the wimpy mushroom anchor gained a tight purchase on something and almost made us end over end the 14' pontoon boat. My tackle box was swamped with water, I lost a hula popper out of my tackle box, the boys would not help me fetch it as it drifted into the stumplands, and to this day I curse their names. I lost some other priceless items but will refuse to hold a grudge, I think the boys where just frightened , an emotion I am unfamiliar with. However I did recognize the look in my friends eyes.
We figured out what happened, I was chastised for no good reason and then we went back to the ramp and loaded the boat, most of the crew a little shaken, as I remember I was calming them with cheerful words and distractions. Since Chuckles and Big John were around 16/17 we went to Shakeys Pizza afterwards. The elders ordered a couple of their famous pizza pies, with black olives and a couple of pitchers of beers, the youngin's (13/14) snuck sips of the beer when the help was not looking. We may have even sang along to the "If you knew Suzy" follow the bouncing ball prompter on big projection screen. All of us changed one way or another, all of us trying to forget or make light of our brush with death, all the while I tried to distract my friends and sibling so as not leave their psyche's damaged for life, I needed them to grow up normal and responsible, hell one of them might need to bail me out of jail sometime, keep em sane was my thinking, no need to molly coddle the poor bastards just keep them sane.
Consider this tale of the sea and tell me it does not rival, if I may be so bold the "Flying Dutchman" ? Dare ye counter? I thought not.
It is said even to this day that if you venture onto Crappies cove late in the afternoon, you can hear a ghostly popping sound, said to be my lost hula popper searching for a safe purchase in my beloved tackle box. Copyright Josh Williams 2006


At 9:58 AM , Blogger Roscoe said...

Our stories are so close yet so divergent. Oh yeah, liar, your pants are on fire!

At 11:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The critics say:

“Is this about you or josh?”
– Roscoe’s sister, N

“i don’t know who to believe!”
- Roscoe’s sister, J

At 11:35 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

All the good stuff about me is true.

At 12:07 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

Liar eh? Pants on fire eh? Did you read the part about my pants being soaked with lake water to me bum. Splain that?

At 4:50 PM , Blogger madman said...

The tale chills me to the bone---lucky you lads could tell the tale!

At 5:44 PM , Anonymous Blackbeard said...

Dont be so sure we are telling you! The lake is haunted I tell ya! Tread lightly my friend.
Kind Regards
Blackbeards Jagged Skull Cap

At 3:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow You are still visably shaken and totally effected by this stream of events! Yes they say war changes a man but so also does a venture on anytype of vessel along the high sea's. I will post an excellent story on my blog witha story about a problem at the dock when I was near the same age (13). Stay tuned. Thanks for the tale it was extremly well written and I was on the edge of my nylon strapped lawn chair the entire time I read it. Qudoos for the mentioning of the Shakeys pizza with the sing a along and all!! Mamories like the corner of my mind!!!LOL

At 3:19 AM , Blogger BigBill said...

Hey I wrote the last comment but it came up anonymous!! WTF!!

At 3:57 AM , Blogger Chrissie said...

LOL Nice! Was almost like watching it on TV... truely vivid story lol

At 5:09 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

Madman: thankee for the concern
Blackbeard:Ye sir are right
Bill: Thanks, good ole SHakeys!
Chrissie: Thanks to you and maybe if I make the right a connections a 2 part made for TV can be made. You can name your part, in fact all of you are welcome to the Two part made for tv movie of Pith Helmets and Hula Poppers!

At 8:00 AM , Blogger marriedman said...

uhm. well. I. uhh.

thanks for reading my account of rosa parks.

At 3:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh remember the time when you moved dad out of his office and turned it into a psychedelic den, and we went on the gong show, I think ma was the best dancer, and you made a volcano that was messy, and CHarlie threw a football at me and broke my nose and Tony didn't want to take me to the dance? Are you still wearing the tiki totem 'cause my butt hurts? Caitlin

At 3:38 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

Dont remember it that way.


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