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Tribute to Brandon

This page and story I dedicate to Brandon. This little boy has contracted AML Leukemia. It has moved me enough to contribute the following story. I hope you like this Brandon. God bless you and best wishes to a recovery.


Brandon’s Fishing Adventure by AL “Hawgmaster” Williams

I was sprawled out on a hammock that was swinging in the wind. Eyes half opened I watched the sky swing down to the ground where I had a glass of ice tea. It was hypnotic going from sky, tea, sky , tea, sky, little boy with a sucker in his mouth. What!! I shook and was startled by the sudden appearance of this kid. I closed my legs together gripping the net hammock with my knees while I gripped the sides of the hammock . The hammock swung around. There I was, upside down, staring at the ground knowing sooner or latter I would have to let go. A sudden pain shot to my head as I finally did.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“Bwandon!” the little voice replied.

“Bwandon? You mean Brandon?” I asked puzzled.

“BWANDON! That’s what I said!” the little voice spoke like this was the thousandth time it was asked.

“Where did you come from, Bwan...I mean Brandon? I asked confused.

“My house! Where you tink I came fwom?” Said the little voice.

I seen Bonnie Sue and a lady come out of the house and head towards us. Bonnie Sue stated “ Hawg, I see you meet Brandon. This is his mother and we meet at the store. I’m going to take her into town to the craft store and get some stuff to make today. Can you watch Brandon for us?”

“Well I’m going fishing this afternoon” I tried to get out of it. Bonnie Sue gave me them puppy dog eyes and blinked while she pouted. “ OK! OK!” I couldn’t resist.

She looked at me, “ You wanted to try them new fly rods out. Brandon can break-in mine.”

“We going fwishing? GOODY!” Brandon yelled hoping around.

Bonnie Sue and Diane took off in the car. The little voice spoke up as they took off, “Why you got an ewing in your ewer and nose?”

I replied, “Wong stowy, ugh I mean LONG STORY! Geez I’m going to learn a different language before the days out I see.”

“What wangwage is tat Hawg?” said the little guy.

I shook my head and sighed. With a new breath I said “Ok sport, lets pack up.”

“My names BWANDON! Not spowrt!” the little voice exclaimed angry.

“OK, OK! I get the picture!” I answered.

I took the little guy in the house and to the kitchen. I got some ice for the cooler, some sodas, some chips, sardines, some braunswiger and some crackers. The fisherman’s snacks of the champions. Brandon had a little cooler with him and said he had his own lunch. I wrote a note on the table for Bonnie Sue telling her we was going to Little Bear River and for her to pick us up and the South end by the stone bridge 7 miles down the road from where we were starting at.

Out to the shed we went. I got my new fly rods and the new box of flies out. I never fly fished before and got a starters kit for Bonnie Sue and myself. I loaded up the canoe on the truck and we was ready. Brandon hopped in and immediately held his nose.

“Peww! You twuck stwinks Hwag!” Brandon said turning a shade of green.

“That’s HAWG and my twuck...TRUCK don’t stink!” I said in defense of my truck.

“Din it YOU who stwink Hwag” He said.

I took a breath “ Rules of the truck Brandon. Rule one, trucks don’t stink. Rule 2, smeller’s the feller.” I laughed.

“Smwells like my howse when daddy pways hevwey equiptwent operwater.” Brandon said.

Again the look of puzzlement came over my face and curiosity took me, “ Plays heavy equipment operator?”

“Daddy wocks himswelf in the batwoom and dwives a dwump twuck.”

I couldn’t hardly drive as we took off from laughing so hard. But we managed and off we went. To the country back roads to Little Bear River we went. I was glad to have the little guy along. He brightened my spirits and besides he had his own lunch.

We arrived at the site and I unloaded. Once we had every thing in the boat we got in. Brandon sat in the rear of the canoe. I got in the front and Brandon began yelling, “HWAG, HWAG!” I turned around and the back of the canoe was sticking straight up in the air with Brandon hanging on. I got out and the canoe hit the water with a splash.

Brandon looked at me and said, “You a cwazy man Hwag!”

I got a few concrete blocks from the truck and put them with Brandon. Then I tried it again. Level as could be, we were ready. I pushed off and we floated down stream. I set the fly rods up and opened the fly box to choose a fly. I choose a gray nymph for me and a yellow crustacean for Brandon. Brandon looked at me shaking his little head, “ I wanna use dat one.” he said pointing to the box.

“We will try these first Brandon, I’m the expert here!” I said with confidence as I tied each of them on.

I gave Brandon his rod and I took mine. Letting some line out I was read for my first few cast.

“Brandon, the idea behind this is to make a cast then pull out some line then snap it back and cast it again. By pulling out the line each time you cast it will go out further.” I told him as I made my first cast. Whomp, I hooked my hat and it sailed to the water going under like a sunken submarine. Never to be seen again. Brandon just sat there. Silence befell us as I watched my favorite fishing had fade into the darkness below out of site.

Brandon’s voice broke the silence, “ Hwag, do we have to hook owself owr can we trow the fwy out there in the water?”

“ Go ahead smart guy, you try it if you think..” I started to say but stopped mid sentence.

Brandon flicked that fly out just like he was born to it. Snap Snap Pop Pop. That fly twanged the water. Whoosh, the water swelled. Brandon’s line went taunt. He gripped the reel end and started turning. That pole was bending like it was ready to snap. He raised it up and the biggest three pound bluegill I have ever seen popped into the canoe. I couldn’t do anything but stare.

“Well,” I said trying to get my composure back, “ That’s, ugh, fine and dandy if we was hunting bluegill. But no sir! We looking for something bigger.” I said trying to make it look like his huge catch wasn’t bothering me. “ Now we will head down hear and look for..........” I was saying, just as I turned ot face him again . “NOOOO!” It was too late, a splash was all that I heard as I seen Brandon holding the rod in hand and an empty fly with the other. Brandon let that monster go. “ OHH son, why did you let it go?”

“Cause you said it was too smaw and we looking for bigger fish. You de expirt Hwag, wight?” he asked. He looked as if he didn’t mind. I guess he thought we were going to get a moby dick today.

“Ya, sure kid.”, I said feeling like the biggest heel in the world. “We gonna get a whopper. ”

“Buwger Kwing owt here.?” He asked with a look of excited amazement.

“Not that kinda whopper little buddy.” I said swallowing guilt. “Tell you what though, I’m kinda hungry.” I said trying to change the subject, “ Let eat!” I opened my cooler and rummaged around.

Brandon asked, “Hwag, will them whoppas eat wowms?”

I still had my head down in the cooler and replied, “Ya buddy but we in the middle of the river. Where we gonna get worms out here?”

Brandon quickly replied, “ Here one!”

I had a log of Braunswiger in one hand and a package of crackers in the other when I looked up to see what he was talking about. I almost pee’d my pants. Brandon had picked up a baby water moccasion! He had it by the head so it couldn’t bite him and it was writhing around his little wrist.

“BBBBRRRRANDON!!” I tried to remain calm, “Listen to me boy. That aint a worm! What I want you to do is to throw that thing away as hard as you can, OK!”

Brandon reared back and hurled it as hard as his little arms could. Unfortunately for me, his throwing wasn’t as good as his fly rod casting. That snake soared only three feet. Right between my legs. I began hitting it with the blood sausage and pack of crackers. Half my meat flew off in the air and the package of crackers exploded all over the place with every strike I made. I stunned it enough to grab the tail and toss it out. I leaned back with sweat pouring off my face.

Brandon sat twitching his nose, “ Peewww, I smwell somting again and im not the felwer.”

I was breathing like a race horse, “Na buddy, you not the feller.. I thing I just played dump truck!”

It took me awhile to speak again. I looked at Brandon and said, “Well so much for my lunch, looks like plain fish in a can for me.”

Brandon opened his little cooler and pulled out two sandwiches and two Yahoo’s. He took one of each and came over to me. “Hwag, we can shware.” He said handing them to me. “I got pweanut bwutter and jewwy and you got swardines.”

Down the river we went eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches garnished with sardines while drinking yahoos. Brandon sitting downwind and I trying to sit comfortably in the current situation I was in.

After a while we came to a fast part of the stream. I put another fly on my line and asked Brandon to choose what ever the little guy wanted in the box. He choose a large green WooleyBurger. I tied it on and we were back to business. I was able to finally cast without snagging us in the process as we drifted sideways down the stream. Brandon flicked the woolly burger in the rough water. It floated down and into the current. Again his line went taunt as he hooked another fish. But ohh what a fish. A thirty pound steelhead soared from the water thrashing about trying to spit out the fly. The huge fish shot down stream as the line tightened. The canoe swirled abruptly and tossed me half way out. My feet was the only thing in the boat as I found myself gasping for air in the cold water. Down the stream we went. Brandon holding on the rod, me bobbing up and down the rough water with my feet caught in the canoe seat. The steelhead was pulling us like a speed boat in the fast current.

Finally the fish gave out as we floated in calm water once again. I was checking water as I got my feet unhooked from the boat and plummeted into the water. I managed to grab the side of the canoe and pull us to the bank. Weak and exhausted I stood on the rocks of the bank. Brandon got out of the boat and pulled his prize to the bank also. He dragged the monster on dry ground as it was as long as him. Clapping and cheering could be heard from above. We were under the bridge as people pulled aside to cheer us. Him for the fish and me for the great performance as a bobber. Bonnie Sue and Brandon’s mom Diane were waiting there for us.

After packing up the boat, gear and fish we headed to the house. Shower and new clothes made me feel like a new person. Brandon at least thought so, his nose stopped twitching.

After the story telling of the days adventures to Bonnie Sue and Diane. We made supper. With peanut butter, jelly and sardine sandwich in one hand and holding hands with the other we stood outside in the sunset.

“Hwag, I had fun twoday. Can I come back and visit wou agwain?

“Sure you can!” I said looking into the sunset, “ Anytime you want little buddy. Anytime you want.” I put my arm around him and held him close, “ You are my partner and us fishing buds always stick together! FOREVER!”

The End

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