By Ted Werth
Spring and summer meant Saturday fishing trips with my Dad. The early morning tap on my shoulder would signal the start of activities that included the dawn drive along the river followed by the chilly five-minute walk across a bridge, down a winding trail and across the rocks to our fishing spot on the McKenzie River.
Worms were always the bait of choice, matched with a heavy sinker to keep it in place on the snag prone river bottom.
I was only 6 years old when I started tagging along, my Dad took care of all the knot tying.My job was to put the worm on correctly so the soft end properly covered the hook.
I have fond memories of these trips.The early sunrise and the warmth that followed. The joy of catching the first fish of the morning.Like any kid, as the day wore on my interest would start to wane, replaced by anticipation of a stop at the store for snacks on the way home.
There was one thing I feared though.The thought of getting my line snagged on the bottom.My Dad always reminded me to lift the rod tip and reel quickly. This helped to avoid catching the rocky bottom.Nevertheless, I still managed to lose my line all too often.Dad would come over and tie on a new swivel, sinker and hook along with a friendly warning to lift and reel.Once was ok.Twice was, shall I say, highly discouraged.
So you can imagine how I felt one Saturday, when I went to retrieve my line and felt the steady resistance that told me I was hung up again; I had already used my free pass for the day. With a sinking feeling, I gave a steady tug and realized that my line moved a little; I was hooked on something that was moving.I quickly pronounced, with great relief, that I must have caught a large piece of wood.I continued to pull, reel and pull again.
Eventually the end of my line arrived and was surprised to pull out a large metal telephone.I’ve often wondered what the story was behind that phone. Someone had to carry it across the across the bridge, down the winding trail and across the rocks before throwing it in. Why? I guess I’ll never know.
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