In a Sow’s Ear 9-7-09
While I might have made up the names of Clem, Clyde and Rover the Dog, the following is an absolutely true story. I’ve put the report in the form of a letter.
I am writing to thank you for the entertainment provided to me and two cowboy friends. I refer, of course, to your rod and reel fishing skill in the Gallatin River. Cowboy Clem drove the pickup. Cowboy Clyde rode shotgun while I sat in the back seat with Rover the Dog.
As you know, the river snakes along between tall walls of a canyon in the Gallatin National Forrest. Descending as it does from the Missouri, it flows somewhat sedately southward through a wide valley. Then it narrows, takes on speed and can be compared to a run-away horse slashing madly over sharp bed rocks, whipping below trees that have fallen crosswise out of the shore-crowding forest, and slamming up against fat boulders.
The one lane blacktop (Highway 191) twists and turns parallel to the river. A driver needs to take care as he or she motors round the frequent bends in the road. White crosses mark places where speedsters have met with fatal accidents.
So when Cowboy Clyde said, “Tarnation! Would ya look at that!” both myself and driver Clem glanced to the right. The sight that met our eyes was, to say the least, a surprise.
Driver Clem’s eyeballs bulged. Passenger Clyde’s mouth hung open and the snuff he’d been enjoying threatened to choke him. As for me, although I’ve observed many spectacles, places of interest and odd manifestations in my life’s journey, I have to admit you flaunted something I hadn’t counted on seeing.
For a moment or two, Clem battled the steering wheel as the highway swept around a curve. Clyde regained control of his snoose juice. Seconds went by as all three of us truly wondered if we’d been hallucinating.
You, sir, were fishing. At least I assume the rod and reel you held meant to give that impression. It was your clever new-fangled fishing garb that gave us pause. You were unclothed, uncovered, undressed, stripped, bare, exposed, starkers … in a word, sir, you were naked as the day you were born, but not nearly as cute. Plus the water came barely to your knees and you did not have your back to the road.
But you certainly elicited a topic of conversation for Clem and Clyde. In fact they conversed about you for the next 10 miles.
“Dang,” said Clyde, “that guy’s gotta be freezing. What kinda fool fishes in his altogether?”
“Well,” said Clem, “could be God sent him. Maybe that was Adam.”
“Naa,” argued Clyde. “The idjit didn’t have no fig leaf.”
“Wouldn’t take a very big one in that cold water,” drawled Clem. “Good thing there ain’t no piranhas in the river.”
“Maybe he’s some kinda cult nut,” mused Clyde. “You know, do somethin’ stupid and you can be one of us.”
“How long d’ya think the bugger’s been exposin’ himself there,” wondered Clem.
“Dunno,” said Clyde, “but seein’ him standin’ in that chilly water, why, I was kinda embarrassed fer the guy.”
My comments, Mr. Fisher Person:
1) I do not believe you were entirely nude. I’m betting you wore shoes of some kind. Else the bed rocks would have mashed your tootsies to bloody stumps.
2) I do hope you’re not planning a career as a tourist attraction.
3) Montana: Home of the Unabomber, The Freemen, and The Naked Angler.
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