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April 07, 2010


The Big Florida Fish Fry


One of the highlights of our trip to Florida was the great fish-fry my in-laws put on. My mother-in-law invited close to thirty people but, thanks to my father-in-law, there would be no problem providing the fish. You see he has become quite the fishing magician.

Over the course of the last couple of years Darwin has purchased two small bass boats: one for the North and one for the South. He spends his summers out on Lake Erie emptying the Great Lakes of perch and the winters in the small lakes of central Florida pulling in Crappie by the boatload. This retired farmer lives to fish and fishes to live.

He and my Uncle Joe (He, formerly of Henderson, North Carolina) spend the sunny summer days catching their limit out on Long Point Bay. They have had many adventures such as having mechanical breakdowns out on the water, fish hooks snagged in their fingers and knife wounds from their frantic filleting of the days catch. Sometimes you can’t tell which is fish blood and that of the fisherman.

One time Uncle Joe had the anchor rope around a finger when it slipped out of his hands. He lopped the entire end off of that finger, my friends. Poor Darwin, who hates the sight of blood, and has a hospital aversion, had to get Uncle Joe to shore and off to emergency. Uncle Joe told us, “I just kept my hand wrapped in my shirt cuz if Darwin saw that the end was gone he would have fainted.”

If you remember Bob and Doug McKenzie from Saturday night live, that’s Darwin and Uncle Joe.

Anyway, in Florida, Darwin had been stocking up on his fish fillets and, knowing that his dear wife often indiscriminately spreads the Fish Fry news throughout the park, brought several bags of contraband perch fillets down from Canada as well.

Two deep fryers were set up by the shed, the fillets were defrosted and battered and with 15 minutes or so, over 200 beautiful fillets of fish were prepared. My job was to have the baskets emptied onto my platter, then run the fish into the pot luck line. Even though we were busy, Willy Boy and I continued to drink massive amounts of beer.

The crowd ate up those perch as if Jesus himself was the caterer (Sans the loaves, of course). And, the wine and beer and sweet drinks flowed in torrents of good cheer.

I’m sure several laws were broken that night such as the illegal importation of fish, the over-the-limit storage bags yanked from the freezer (You’re only allowed to store one days catch) and the DUI golf cart driving that followed this extravaganza. But, everyone survived unscathed and a good time was had by all.

My big observation regarding the evening was that crappie tastes a lot like perch, except the crappie fillets are 10 times the size. I forgot to tell you these crappies were the size of small mouth bass. And, can any of you Southerners tell my why my father-in-law refers these fish as “Florida Trout”?

Dick Thread is a Dickhead

Old Jimbo picked up a nickname on this little holiday. It’s something I want to put on a tee shirt sometime soon.

It all started on the way down. We had stopped late at night at one of those all night gas stations along the Interstate. I’m always a little wary because our women are attractive and our daughters are young and nubile. You see some of the people you meet in the dead of night are what my kids call “sketchy”. There’s usually guys in there who look a little rough and ready.

Anyway, at this stop I had a creepy feeling about a couple of dudes so I went into my protect mode. This involves keeping an eye on the girls as the literally sleepwalk into the joint in order to relieve their bladders. It’s like watching a troop of Zombies.

Everything went well until my daughter emerged. It was starting to rain and she was alone, standing under cover by the doorway, waiting to make a run for the van. I was standing by the van, waving at her to get a move on it. The creepy dudes were just emerging from the door and were scanning my little beauty with wolf-like eyes. Visions of a kidnapping danced in my head.

I hollered at my wife to open the sliding door and she fairly ignored me. My daughter wasn't going to dash unless escape from the rain was certain. But, Zombies have slow reaction time, you see. 

Annoyed, I hammered on the window saying, “Open the door. Open the door!” Out of the corner of my eye I could see a look of panic in my daughter’s eyes. She was making her move.

So, I kind of lost it. I wasn’t rude or harsh, just a little over the top.

I knew, of course, that I had shot myself in the foot. Because when the door opened, the Zombie, who had come back to life, and said, “You’re such a dick!”

Now you know where the first name came from.

You see, the crew had been calling me “Thread” (like Fred) all night long in recognition of the story I had told about the thread that nearly severed my penis a few years back. You can go back and read that Blog when you have time. You can find it under the title, “The Incident in Row B!” Given my wife’s anger, I’m thinking this was another night I might just have lost my ding-a-ling for good.

So, after this all happened, I was addressed as “Dick Thread” for the remainder of the holiday. Yes, it does sound a little like “Dickhead” and I’m sure that was the intent. My new name was like a running joke and it certainly evoked plenty of guffaws.

Our Florida people had no idea why this was happening except that it might have something to do with the massive amounts of beer Willy Boy and I consumed.

The tee shirt I want to get made will say “THIS IS HOW DICK THREAD ROLLS!” Hey, maybe I can come out with my own clothing line or store called Dick’s Threads.  Watch out Old Navy, here I come.

SIDEBAR TO THIS STORY: Maybe you think I am a bit paranoid, given the fact I feel vulnerable at these stops, at least in terms of my girls. But I just learned that after 17 hours without sleep your brain is impaired as if you had drank yourself to a .05 level, and once you reach 24 hours your are impaired as if you had a 1.1 blood alcohol level. That’s why I don’t advise these 24 hour drives, especially if you’re already a crazy nut bar like Dick Thread.

SIDEBAR # 2: I ordered that T-shirt on line today. It will read, "THIS IS HOW DICK THREAD ROLLS" and will have a graphic of a clown with the circle-stroke- through symbol over it and these appropriate words "NO BOZOS". I will wear my new shirt at Willie boy's 50th birthday bash where, you guessed it,  massive amounts of beer will be consumed.

BTW - "Have you ever been stung by a dead bee?"

And so on. . .