My granddad liked to fish, and every summer he would take my cousin, Tom, and I out to the Texas coast near Galveston Island to catch golden croakers, speckled trout, red fish, gafftopsail and hardhead catfish, and even an occasional shark. Those fishing trips were fun, but the summer when I was eleven, I got more than I bargained for. My granddad said I could bring my friend Terry to a local fishing spot, but reminded me we’d have to get up early so we could load all the fishing gear, make the drive, and get an early start on catching all those fish.
Our alarm went off at 6 a.m. and granddad opened our door and said, “Hurry up, I need you two to untangle the trotline.” When we got out to the boat, we realized the snood lines were tangled and twisted around the main trotline. It felt like it took forever to finish that job, and then we had to check the hooks. There was a small lake in the front yard of my grandad’s place, and the next job was to check the motor and make sure it cranked up and started. We had trouble getting it to start, but granddad said we probably flooded it, and to give it a few minutes while we checked out the status of the minnow trap bucket. There were a few minnows in the bucket, so we added another piece of bread and as Terry threw it back out into the water, the bucket came off the line and went flying into the middle of the lake. It took us at least ten minutes to retrieve the bucket and I felt like we were never going to get to our fishing spot…and we still had to crank the motor. It would start up and then die out again.
After taking the cover off the motor, cleaning the air filter, and adjusting the carburetor, we were another thirty minutes out and still had to walk down to the barn, get the trailer, and load the boat. When we reached the trailer, Terry blurted out, “That can’t be a flat tire!” It was so flat that it was separated from the rim, and using the air compressor didn’t do a thing. We had to use a rope to get the tire edges to seal around the rim, so the tire would inflate, and then granddad handed us the grease gun to grease up the wheel bearings. It was just one thing after another and our morning was slipping away. Two and half hours after we started, when everything was done, the boat was loaded on the trailer and we were finally in the car driving out of the driveway. All of a sudden I heard Terry blurt out, “My God Adam, what’s next? The damn boat blows out?”
We must have been a sight to see. A 1972 Chrysler Imperial pulling a cattle trailer with a flat bottom boat. My granddad wasn’t easily embarrassed, and figured he didn’t need a boat trailer if he had a cattle trailer. Just five minutes after pulling out of the driveway, we felt the car jerk, heard a loud suction noise, and granddad slammed on the brakes. With his head in his hands, and one eye looking in the rear view mirror, he just calmly said, “Boys, get the boat!” Terry rolled his eyes and said, “I knew it.” When my granddad had accelerated, the boat flew off the cattle trailer and was airborne for a few seconds before a hard landing onto the middle of the highway asphalt.
Lucky for us, there wasn’t a lot of traffic, so we were able to make quick work of getting the boat off the highway and back onto the cattle trailer. We positioned it in a way that was more secure and once again we were on our way. Finally at our destination, we got the boat in the water then worked our way out to set the trotline when we noticed the boat was taking on water. Apparently, the boat's earlier flight onto the asphalt loosened the rivets and we started sinking fast. I started pulling the cord on the motor and of course it was struggling to crank. After what seemed like five minutes of hell, I heard the motor start and we went as fast as possible to get to shore, narrowly escaping a complete disaster. At that point, we loaded the boat back onto the cattle trailer, fished from the shore for about an hour and then called it a day.
Not every experience is going to be as memorable as that one, but it’s been a story that I wouldn’t have been able to tell had my granddad not been open to making it happen for us. That’s really the point of fun and adventure. It’s to make it a priority in life so that we enjoy life. If we’re lucky, we’ll create some amazing memorable experiences. The challenge is that life demands get heavy, work keeps us busy and we fall into the trap of all work and no play. The problem with this approach is that it isn’t sustainable and leads to burnout. The solution is to make a habit of incorporating fun and adventure into your life. Maybe it’s a fishing trip, a road trip to a new place, finding a new vacation spot on a beautiful island or like Luke and Holly in the next blog you’ll literally “jump” into something exciting and adventurous.
What are some of the things in your life that used to provide excitement and bring you joy? Are you still enjoying some of those things today? What would it take to get you excited about life from a fun and adventurous perspective? Start making a list of the things you think would be exciting, get it down on your calendar, and then make it happen. I love what the character Andy Defrane says to Red in the movie, Shawshank Redemption, “Red, the way I see it, you’ve got two choices, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
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