Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Planning is Overrated

Part the First: The Original Plan

This past weekend I had planned to go camping with my nephew Andrew and his dad RJ. It was going to be a quiet guys only weekend. Pedernales Falls State Park. That was our destination. The weather guys said the climate was in the zone; we’d have a great time.

Couldn’t go, turns out. There were no available spaces to camp. Dang. We were disappointed, but undeterred. I called RJ to make sure that since we were already free that weekend, and it was in stone, we should take advantage of the schedule. Even if we didn’t get the venue of first choice, we should at least pick an alternative. You don’t often get second chances, since the system for weekends out is not based on credit.

Our standby was going to be a fishing trip. One day, or part of a day, but we were going to commit to doing whatever we wanted to, and there would be an attempt to capture fish involved. Spontenacity was our watchword!

After the decision was made to fish, we quickly assessed what we would need for this day-jaunt. I volunteered a case of water so we wouldn’t dehydrate. Nothing spoils a day like turning into a raisin and then fainting. I asked if we needed food, and RJ replied that we likely as not would just run into Freeport or even Lake Jackson to eat in the event that we began to waste away. Settled. It was clear that fish were only secondary players in this production.

The plan was hatched and solidified on our cell phones and it was determined that I would meet Andrew at my sister’s house (since he was coming in from San Marcos) at about seven a.m. and we would get to RJ’s, then blast off to the mouth of the Brazos river.

Saturday morning was almost dawning when I piled my gear into the car and headed to meet Andy. The transfer to his truck was made, and my sister came out in her robe to deliver the care package bag of Slim Jims, cheese crackers and Oreos.

As we sped along 288 to Lake Jackson, Andrew and I had a nice conversation, and we also anticipated a great day of fishing. Remember, a BAD day fishing is better than a GOOD day working, so our definition of “great day fishing” was fairly loose and the bar was set fairly low.

When we arrived at RJ’s house, he was standing in the yard, talking to his neighbor, an older man who seemed to be very nice and who also happened to be standing next to what appeared to be a boat of some kind.

We got out of the truck and ambled over to meet the neighbor, and RJ introduced us to him. This was the legendary Paul, of whom RJ had spoken before. Renowned as a great neighbor, he was offering some suggestions and even the use of some of his very own equipment to us. He had been fishing at least twice that week already, and was imparting some information to us that would likely be useful. He asked where we were going, and we told him that the Brazos beach would be our destination to throw out some lines and see what was going to happen. He offered some equipment again, and I indicated that we could probably use a couple of rod holders.

Paul said, more than once, “I wish I could take you guys…” to which our polite reply came back, “Oh, well, that’s cool, we’re just gonna see what happens…”

In his heart, Paul knew that we were destined to get skunked that day, and we could see the regret in his eyes at letting us go out unguided. Once again, he said, “Yeah, if I could, I’d take you guys, but I have something I gotta do this morning…” and as he trailed off, the inner smart aleck in me could no longer be stifled and I said, without thinking, “What, you ain’t got a phone?”

I immediately wanted to clamp my hands over my big mouth and recapture the words that floated on the cool early morning air. Fortunately, Paul laughed and went to go get the rod holders. As he rounded the gate of his house, holding the items, he paused and said, “Wait a minute guys,” and skipped into the house.

We figured that he was going to get some other vital equipment, but instead, emerged a minute or two later, clapping his hands like a coach, saying, “OK guys, I’m taking you, let’s load up!”

We were shocked and a little embarrassed, at least I was embarrassed for spouting off the “What, you ain’t go no fone…” comment. But Paul was serious, as he hopped up on his boat and started loading my ice chest and slapping rods in the on-board rod holders!

Falling backward into a guided fishing trip was the last thing our little troop had expected, but here we were, on the way to the Brazos River with our very own skipper!

8 comments:

the photoSmith said...

man i'm jealous! i can't wait for part dos! you know, if you would have had a good community organizer you would have already had a boat lined out for the weekend...

DammitWomann said...

Chapter 2 ..........now..... I'm just dieing to read the next chapter.

Andrew said...

Hey, I think I vaguely remember the very same thing happening to me, my uncle and dad this weekend. Weird...

invigilator_tex said...

That guy's real name wasn't Jonas Grumby I hope.

aA said...

iTex, it was more than a 3 hour tour, and was nowhere near Hawaii...thanks for caring, tho!

aA said...

I am working on the follow-up feverishly! Nearly done.

Howlsatmoon said...

Planning is definitely over rated......'cept if you need airline tickets or sumpin'.....

DammitWomann said...

aa - Disregard Wollf's comment. . . He's A.D.D., remember? He probably plans and then forgets the plan. he he he he