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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1405487
by James
Rated: E · Short Story · Death · #1405487
I will never forget that day in the summer when I was 8 years old. Fiction {id:1221635}.
I remember that remarkable summer so many years ago. One day in particular sticks in my mind to this very day. I remember it like it was yesterday, even though I was only 8 years old at the time. Forty plus years do take the edge off of memories of course, but it is still vivid in my mind. Dad had decided that since the twins were old enough, we had to go experience the outdoors. We were to go camping, fishing and even swimming in the mountain streams. It was every boy’s fantasy summer! Ok, maybe not every boy’s fantasy, but it sure was mine!

Dad had rented a cabin on a lake for the first week that we were to be gone on vacation that year. It was an old cabin, with creaky floorboards and gaps between the slats on the side, and there were only two bedrooms. Mom and Dad slept in one bedroom, and I had to sleep with the twins in the other one. We made a game of it though, by pretending that the room was a tent. We had asked permission to move the beds to the side of the room so that we could sleep on the floor. We strung up a couple sheets between the beds and threw our sleeping bags on the floor under them. It makes my back ache now just thinking of it, but back then it was exactly what we wanted to do.

That memorable day started very early, well before the sun came up. I remember it still being dark outside when Dad woke us up. His bleary eyes blinking in the lamp light in the cabin, his uncombed hair and then seeing Mom with red-rimmed eyes just told us that it was early. Of course, back then, we didn’t think anything could ever go wrong with adults so it didn’t make any impact on us. Our parents were still our heroes at the time.

Mom moved slowly around the kitchen in her bathrobe getting little lunches packed for me and the twins and packing a larger cooler with food for her and Dad. Dad was busy putting stuff in his tackle box and then winding new line on his fishing rod. He loved to fish, but since I was born, he hadn’t had enough time to get away and throw a line in the water. And of course the dog was running around between everybody’s legs looking for a bite to eat as she always does.

Sam and Earl, the twins, had never been fishing before and they were bouncing off the furniture and Mom and Dad, anxious to get out to the lake. They had gotten new fishing poles for Easter that year and could not wait to try and catch a fish. I laugh when I think of it now, because they were deathly afraid of anything alive.

I remember one time when I found a small snake in the backyard at home. It was just a little garden snake. It couldn’t have been more than ten inches long and was very green. It was cute in the way that it’s little tongue came out of his mouth every few seconds or so. I had taken him in the house to show Mom, and the twins, who were just four years old at the time saw it and ran off screaming that the snake was going to eat them. It took awhile that day to calm them down, but eventually we did, and I got a stern talking-to from Mom about upsetting the twins. I never took a snake in the house again, or brought one around the twins. Sometimes, they even had a hard time with our dog Carly.

I spent a good portion of my time pulling my socks on and pulling my hoodie over my head. I tied my shoes and then went and got my tackle box. Of course, I had been fishing before so I was a pro. Sam and Earl brought their fishing rods over to me, nearly blinding me with the tip of one of them by using them as swords when I didn’t respond to them quickly enough. I grabbed Earl’s fishing rod from his hands, which of course immediately put Sam in the superior position of which he took immediate advantage of by swatting Earl on the butt with his fishing pole.

Earl started screaming that it wasn’t fair that Sam could swat him, and that he had to give his fishing pole to me to tie on a lure for him and get it ready for fishing. Big tears welled up in his eyes as Mom came over to put her arms around him and to tell him that nothing in life was fair. She gave him a big hug, and then pulled him down into her lap as she sat down in the chair with Earl. Mom was like that. She was not one to hear to children cry or scream, but she also did not like to mince words either. She pretty much told it like it was for the most part. She held Earl for a few minutes while he calmed down, and then whispered something in his ear which calmed him down immediately. He smiled, and then jumped off Mom’s lap and headed towards his room. I will never know what she said to him, because Mom didn’t talk about us kids to each other either. She thought it caused us to think that each one of us was special, and we were, in Mom’s eyes.

I wasn’t very good at reading signs, or I would have been able to tell what was going on. I continued on in my blissfully ignorant way tying a lure to Earl’s fishing line. Since I was the ‘expert’ fisherman compared to the twins, I was struggling with the knot on the lure to make sure that to them, it looked like I knew what I was doing. I finished tying Earl’s lure and grabbed Sam’s fishing pole out of his hands just as he was swinging it towards Earl again who had just come back out of the bedroom again with his hand deep in his pocket. I sighed, knowing that if it had connected, we would have had to endure another bout of frustration from him.

Mom and Dad had gotten all of their things together and then called to us to get our things ready. Our cabin was right on the lake, or at least close to the lake. We still had to walk a little ways to get to the dock that we were going to fish from today. Dad opened the front door and the morning chill rushed in the room. It was a very pleasant morning, but Mom told us all to put hoodies on to stay warm. I already had it on knowing what things were going to be like since I was the fishing expert of the family. I helped Sam and Earl find their hoodies and helped slip them over their heads.

Mom put on her jacket like she was cold or something and pulled up her hood. Dad put on a light jacket. Sometimes the wind blowing off of the lake in the morning was very chilly, so we were prepared. We let Carly run out the door ahead of us, and then we all filed out of the house heading towards the dock.

When we got there, it was just getting light enough to see. The early morning sky was reflected in the still lake. There was very little breeze blowing and we could see fog rising off of the lake. Dad, of course, was one of the first to throw his line in the water while the rest of us got our fishing poles out. Mom had not brought a fishing pole because she wasn’t all that excited about fishing. She just had said that she would watch us have fun.

About an hour later, Dad was still fishing and the twins had dropped one of their fishing poles in the water. Of course, Mom had to explain again that life wasn’t fair to Sam this time, but he seemed to take it a little better than Earl had earlier. Mom was watching us all and smiling occasionally, especially if one of us caught a fish and held it up for her to see. She was taking pictures of the fish that we had caught so that we could see who was the one with the biggest and most fish later on.

We were having a great time. Carly was running around trying to catch the little sun perch and fish that we had caught. She must have thought that squirmy thing on the end of the fishing line was a toy. She actually did get one in her mouth, but it flipped really hard and she dropped it which then flopped right back in the water. Dad had taught me how to remove a hook from a fish. We didn’t keep the fish that we were catching, but instead we were just fishing for sport, as Dad would call it. Catch and release. Sure it was fun, but we really didn’t have anything to show for it except for the pictures that Mom was taking.

Mom stood up from where she was sitting on the dock and walked over to Dad. I saw her kiss him on the cheek and whisper something to him. He nodded his head and she turned and started walking back to the cabin. Dad told us that Mom had a headache and needed to rest some so she was going back to the cabin to take a nap in the peace and quiet. We glanced at her walking to the cabin, and then watched as she turned, waved to us, and then went quietly into the cabin shutting the door behind her. It was the last time that any of us saw Mom.

The doctor said that Mom had a massive brain hemorrhage while she was sleeping, so never felt anything when she died. The only thing I remember is getting back to the cabin, putting our gear on the floor next to the door and Dad going into the bedroom. The next sound we heard will be with me forever. It was sound of Dad’s heart breaking.

Word Count: 1743
© Copyright 2008 James (grawolph at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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