It was a cool morning with not a cloud in the sky as Ray drove into the parking lot at Horsehair Pond. Ray Daniels could see that there were eight cars already parked here. He looked but couldn’t see anyone fishing at this sixteen acre pond which caused him to assume the people who owned these cars were either walkers, joggers or bikers and they were on the trail that started here and ran through the large forest preserve that encompassed this area.
Ray was hoping that the break they had from the hot weather had cooled the pond water enough to where the fish had risen from the cool deep waters and were closer to the surface. This pond was said to have a depth of twenty two feet. Even if the fishing wasn’t good he still enjoyed sitting and looking at the scenery.
Exiting his car Ray took his fishing rod, folding chair, small tackle box and walked to the edge of the pond. He opened his folding chair to put it in the shade of a large tree. His spinning rod already had been equipped with a small black popper and a partially water filled bobber which would give him some weight on his fishing line that would translate into distance on his casts. He didn’t know if he would be successful but was hoping his fishing efforts would entice some bluegills or sunfish to strike his popper.
If he was asked to describe how fishing had been he would say something like, “The fish weren’t jumping into the boat.” But so far this morning fishing had improved in that he had caught three sunfish in the twenty minutes he was here.
He was working his popper when he heard from behind him a female voice say, “How is fishing?”
Before he could turn to see who said that a fish struck his popper. His attention was centered on slowly reeling in the fish as he enjoyed feeling it fight on the end of his fishing line.
He said without looking at who had made the inquiry, “Fishing is somewhere between a little slow and not too bad.”
Ray reeled the fish close to shore where he could see that it was a sunfish and he lifted it from the water to take out the hook. He now turned to see who asked him about fishing and was taken back a little as he saw who it was.
Ray was impressed and immediately took in the features of this lady. She was of medium height and was wearing a tight black workout outfit which showed that she had a very nice figure. She had an abundance of dark hair that she wore up in a ponytail. While she appeared to be a little younger than Ray’s thirty eight years it was her cute face and the smile she had that was drawing his attention. There was a little sheen on her face which Ray took to mean that she had been walking or jogging.
She asked, “Is that the normal size fish you catch here?”
“It’s about average for sunfish. There could be larger fishes in this pond as bass but I am not fishing for those.”
“I’ll bet Tommy would enjoy fishing.”
“Who is Tommy?”
“Tommy is my widow sister Emily’s eleven year old son, my nephew. His father was a reservist and was killed in a helicopter crash.”
“That’s a shame.”
“Yes it is. I am a third grade teacher and off for the summer. Between me and my parents we take care of Tommy during the summer as my sister works full time. I usually have Tommy on Mondays and Tuesdays and my parents the other days.”
“Can’t your father teach Tommy how to fish?”
“He is not into fishing but is into golf and has been teaching Tommy how to swing a golf club. He also takes Tommy quite often to the movies.”
While this conversation was going on Ray was observing her and couldn’t help but conclude that she seemed to be a genuinely nice person. She had a perpetual smile on her face both when she talked and when she listened. He was attracted to her but he didn’t know her marital status and it was time he thought to cross that bridge.
“Can’t your husband teach Tommy to fish?”
“I am not married and have been divorced for five years.”
“Before this goes any farther let me introduce myself to you. My name is Ray Daniels and like you I am divorced and have been for nine years.”
He extended his hand which she shook and said, “Nice meeting you. I am Elizabeth Walters but my friends call me Beth.”
“Well Beth if you want I could come here next Tuesday about this same time, weather permitting of course, to do some fishing. If you could bring Tommy I could give him a little teaching lesson on how to fish.”
“Oh that would be wonderful. Are you on vacation that you can fish during the week?”
Laughing a little he said, “No, I am just going into work a little late. I enjoy fishing as it gives me some time to think and to set my priorities as I plan out my day. I own a company that makes precision measuring instruments. The company practically runs itself so going in a little late is a perk of being the boss. I do have good people working for me which is a big plus. Here let me give you my card.”
Ray handed Beth his business card which he took from his wallet. She looked at the card then back at him and said she would be here with Tommy next Tuesday.
He watched her walk away from him and saw that the tight black workout outfit she was wearing outlined her very nice figure. Her bottom had a nice jiggle as she walked and presented a very nice picture.
During the time that passed till Tuesday Ray’s thoughts would drift back to Beth. There was something about her and that constant smile on her face that just intrigued him. He somewhat hoped that maybe she was a little intrigued with him.
In getting ready for this Tuesday fishing he had time to look at what he came to realize was the abundance of fishing equipment he owned. He selected two open faced spinning rods and reels. One rod he setup like the one he was using with a bobber and black popper. The other rod was setup with only a casting bobber on the end of the line. He would use that fishing rod for Tommy to learn how to cast before he would let him use the other fishing rod. Ray had neglected to ask if Tommy was left or right handed. The odds favored that he was right handed which had him setup the reels for a right hander but they could be easily changed if it turned out he was left handed. Ray was looking forward to seeing Beth again.
On Tuesday morning Ray was sitting in his chair by the pond and he heard, “We’re here.”
He rose and turned to see Beth walking toward him with a young boy next to her. He extended his hand to the young boy and said, “You must be Tommy, please call me Ray.” There was a big smile on Tommy’s face as he shook Ray’s hand. He could see that Beth had on that same workout outfit and was grinning at the exchange Ray had with Tommy.
Ray gave the rod he had setup with the casting bobber to Tommy and explained how the bail opened and how the line needed to be held with the forefinger and then released as the cast was made. Tommy was a quick learner and in a short time was able to master casting the plug. Ray emphasized it was the rod that made the cast with wrist action and not arm action.
Seeing that Tommy had learned to adequately cast the plug Ray gave Tommy the other rod and asked him to cast the bobber with the popper. After showing him the proper retrieve, Ray stood aside and let Tommy fish. As luck would have it, on his third cast a fish hit the popper. Ray gave Tommy instructions to keep the rod tip up and reel steadily but not too fast. Ray watched Tommy bring the fish to shore.
Tommy was excited in catching his first fish. Ray could tell that Beth was equally excited. That perpetual smile she had on her face became even larger if that was possible Ray thought. Ray showed Tommy how to hold the fish and take the hook out. He couldn’t release the fish back into the water till Beth took a picture of him and Tommy holding the fish with her cell phone.
Ray needed to go to work. He told Tommy that the spinning rod was his to keep and gave him a container that contained additional poppers along with a needle nose plier in case the hook in the fish was in too deep. Beth couldn’t thank Ray enough for what he had done. He just couldn’t help but feel good about himself as he saw the joy on their faces. He watched Tommy catch another fish before he left.
In the days that followed that good feeling persisted for a while and then it turned into one where he was mentally kicking himself in the ass for not doing something so that he could get know Beth better. He didn’t know if he would ever see her again and that would be a major disappointment if he didn’t.
The following Tuesday in going to work Ray took a chance and went by Horsehair Pond not to fish but to see if Beth was there. Turning into the parking lot he saw the usual amount of cars that were normally there. He also noticed that at the water’s edge Beth and Tommy were there fishing.
Walking up to them he said, “How is fishing?”
“Hey, that’s my line,” said a smiling Beth.
“I caught two so far,” said a grinning Tommy.
Ray watched Tommy fish as he chatted with Beth. She told him that Tommy was excited about fishing and wanted to go anytime he could. She said Tommy told his mother and his grandparents about the fish he caught.
Ray asked Beth, “Does Tommy like baseball? The reason that I ask is that the Joliet baseball team has a night game this Friday and I was wondering if you and Tommy would like to go to the game?”
“I am sure he would like to go and I would too. Here let me give you my card and what time will you pick us up?”
Ray told her the time and watched Tommy catch another fish before he left to go to work.
.... There is more of this story ...