Now that I’ve introduced you to myself, I guess it’s time to meet some of the “gene pool” from which I come. We’ve always had some real characters in our family!!
Take for instance my Uncle Egbert. This crusty old guy once was a finalist in Maine’s annual “Greatest Old Curmudgeon” contest. He spoke with a Maine accent so thick you’d swear he was talkin’ some kind of foreign language. Most of his sentences consisted of two syllables: “Ayuh,” “Yes suh,” or No suh.” Not a real talkative sort of fellow was he…
Uncle Egg, as we liked to call him (but never to his face!) always wore the same thing: a green and white plaid flannel shirt, tan Carhartt trousers held up by black suspenders, brown boots, and a faded, sweat-stained Boston Red Sox baseball cap. He had one great passion in life: he loved to fish. He had himself a “summah camp” way up “theyah” in Brownville, or Greenville, or one of those other other “-villes” usually found out in the most remote forests of Maine. His camp was ’bout midway between Moosehead Lake and the Great Wannaketchabassa Lake.
Uncle Egg was a fishing legend! Every year, on the first day of fishin’ season, he’d get into his little motorboat, go out to some secret cove on the Great Wannaketchabassa Lake, and catch his limit of fish. It was totally unbelievable!
About a year ago, a new Fish and Game Warden was appointed to the area around the Great Wannaketchabassa. He was one of those real young, “wet-behind-the-ears” fellas that used to drive Uncle Egg absolutely nuts!
Last year, on the day before fishing season started, this warden walked up to Uncle Egg at the local gas station. Egg had his motorboat in tow behind his ancient Ford F150 pick-up. He was picking up supplies for his fishing trip in the morning.
The warden reached out to shake Egg’s hand as he introduced himself. Then he said, “I hear you’re a real fishing legend in these parts.”
“They say you always catch your limit on the first day of fishing season every year.”
“Ayuh.” (Egg was feeling talkative today.)
“I’d kind of like to see how you do it. Tomorrow’s the first day of fishing season. Mind if I tag along?”
“Suitcha self.” (Real talkative!) “Goin’ out tomorrow mawnin’ at five a.m. shahp. Meetcha right heah, if ya wanna go.”
“Great! See you then.”
Next morning, right on schedule, the warden met Uncle Egg at the gas station. They drove out to the lake (about a twenty minute ride). They put the boat in the water, fired up the 5-horsepower Mercury outboard, and cruised across the mirror-still lake to a nice secluded cove. The sun was just coming up over the treetops when Egg dropped anchor. It was completely silent.
Uncle Egg lit his pipe, took a puff, looked around a bit, and opened his tackle box. He pulled out a stick of dynamite, lit it, and tossed it overboard.
A huge geyser of water erupted from the lake and shot skyward. For a few minutes, it looked like it was raining! Then, after the water finally subsided, the lake’s surface was covered with floating fish for as far as the eye could see. Uncle Egg grabbed his fishin’ net and started rakin’ ’em into the boat.
The warden stared at this scene for a few moments, glassy-eyed, uncomprehending, his mouth agape. Once he recovered his senses enough to once again form words, he stammered: “S-S-Sir, you can’t d-d-do that! It’s illegal!! I’m g-g-going to have to arrest you and t-t-take you in!!”
Uncle Egg just kind of fixed a steely gaze on the warden for a minute. Didn’t say a word. Then a sly smile crept across his lips.
He took another puff of that pipe of his and reached into his tackle box once again. He pulled out another stick of dynamite, lit it, and tossed it into the warden’s lap.
“Now, then, Mistah,” he said, “You gonna talk… or are you gonna fish?!?”