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Marcia Miller-Twiford

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The Fishing Trip
By Marcia Miller-Twiford
Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A beautiful, sunny day ...


With his favorite baseball cap on backwards Timmy was circling the table at a run hollering over and over, "We're going fishing. Daddy's taking me fishing. We're going fishing."

After several runs around the table Carolyn gently plunked him down at his seat and said, "Eat your breakfast young man or there'll be no fishing for you. And no more hollering either." Then she went back to making the picnic lunch for them to take along. Peanut butter sandwiches and fruit were the best choice. Not their favorites but peanut butter would insure no spoilage. Bill would eat any type of sandwich as long as it was slathered with mayonnaise and mustard. Timmy would have preferred tuna or egg salad but it was going to be a hot day and anything with mayo was taking a risk, even stored in a cooler.

The early breakfast over, outside they went where the small boat was trailered and hooked up to Bill's pickup truck. She put the lunches into the cooler along with some canned drinks, bottles of water and then said to Bill, "Don’t forget to reapply the sunscreen every couple of hours and make sure he wears his life vest."

"Carolyn, you've told me that at least ten times. He's a good swimmer and nothing is going to happen, but I'll make him wear the vest and I’ll make sure he’s got the sunscreen on. You know how he hates that damn vest. When he complains I'm gonna tell him that Mommy said you have to wear it. You can take the heat. I'm not going to."

Her two men got into the truck, backed out of the driveway with Timmy standing on the seat and waving good-bye. "Sit down and put your seat belt on." She hollered.

Arriving at the lake Bill backed the trailer up and unhooked it. With the boat in the water they boarded. "Put your vest on Tim."

"Oh Daddy, do I have to? I hate that thing. It's for little kids and I can't move around like I want to."

"Mommy says you have to wear it so put it on."

"Oh shoot. Okay." Timmy put the vest on and reluctantly buckled it. Bill was busy baiting their hooks.

After only ten minutes or so of cruising the lake Timmy hooked a big one. Hollering with excitement he began reeling it in and lost it. "See Daddy? If I didn't have this damn vest on I could have moved better and I wouldn't have lost that fish. That was a whopper."

"Don't cuss Timmy and okay, take the vest off but don't you dare tell your mother."

"I promise, I won't. I won't say a word. It’s not really lying if you don’t say anything." That said he shrugged off the life vest and happily sat next to his Dad. Bill wasn’t about to give him a lesson on lying by omission, they were there to have fun.

In no time Timmy hooked another one, another big one. He stood up and leaned forward to have a better angle to reel it in, slipped, hit his head on the edge of the boat, fell into the water and quickly sunk beneath the surface. Bill dropped his pole, grabbed for his son but not in time. He kicked off his shoes, dove in but no sign of  Timmy. The water was murky that day and it was difficult to see more than a foot or two in any direction. He dove, came up for air and dove again, over and over until he was totally exhausted and finally realized that Timmy was gone forever.

In the meantime Carolyn had a strange experience. She'd been sitting reading when she thought she heard Timmy's voice pleading "Mommy. Help me.  Please.  Mommy......." It was a haunting sound and one that led her down to the lake to wait for her family to return.

Bill turned the boat around and headed for shore. He didn’t know what he was going to tell his wife. There was no excuse to offer. It was negligence, his own negligence that had caused Timmy to drown.

Scanning the lake Carolyn saw their boat heading for shore. "That's odd. They weren’t out very long. They must have had a good catch right off," she thought. As soon as the boat was close enough she began to wave at them. Her arm up in the air, her hand waving back and forth and then stopping, her arm raised, her hand still. Bill was alone in the boat. Then she heard it again, "Mommy. Help me.  Please.  Mommy......." and she collapsed onto the dock.

When she came to Bill was holding her, tears streaming down his face. She shrugged out of his arms, walked over to the boat and saw Timmy's little life jacket on the bench. Looking at Bill she uttered, "You Bastard!" Then the world went blank.

After two unsuccessful suicide attempts, Carolyn spent a year in a mental hospital. During that time Bill moved away to a location unknown to anyone.

Upon her release from the hospital she went back to their home where she spent most days sitting on a large rock at the edge of the lake staring into its depths. On some occasions, when the water was clear, she'd think she saw Timmy's face at the bottom of the water looking up at her. His blonde hair floating, his blue eyes wide open. Then the image would slowly disappear. This happened over and over and she somehow found comfort in it.

One afternoon, five years to the day after his death, she saw him again. As she gazed at him he began to surface with one hand outstretched towards her and he was smiling.  When he was almost to the surface she stepped into the water, took hold of his outstretched hand and together they drifted away.

© Marcia Miller-Twiford




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Reviewed by Annabel Sheila 6/21/2010
Oh Marcia this is a heart-wrenching story!!! Just one careless moment and life can change forever....Wow...very powerful and timely since the summer season is just beginning. I hope those who head out onto the water are doing so safely, especially with children. Well penned, my friend!

Reviewed by Georg Mateos 6/20/2010
A heart can hold so much sorrow...after it, there's nothing else to beat for.


Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 6/19/2010
Powerful writing, Marcia; well done!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :(
Reviewed by Donna Chandler 6/19/2010
What sorrow! Another story that grabs hold of the reader.


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