Petersen: Jake and Jerome |

Petersen: Jake and Jerome

The following is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Jake and Jerome, two retired cowpokes sat in rocking chairs on Jake’s veranda discussing the meaning of life which often meant the conversation turned to the fine art of fishing. Some distance below the house, the Yellowstone River waters sped along as if in a hurry to get to an important destination as fast as possible.

Jerome: “Ya know the river’s lookin’ real fine. All the mud from spring rains has cleared out. Seems like good fishin’ weather. You been fishin’ lately?”

Jake: “Well, I tried awhile back but I’ve give it up for the time bein’.”

“Well, just as I was reelin’ in my line, Gladys stepped in front of me and bumped into my rod. Danged fishhook flipped up and jammed itself into my thumb.”

Jerome: “Say what?! You sick?”

Jake held up his left hand. “Naaa. Just got a real sore thumb.” A bandage, big as a bratwurst, capped the digit.

Jerome: “Yeah? What happened?”

“Gladys,” said Jake.

Jerome blinked and turned his head to inspect his friend. “Gladys? Yer wife? You ain’t makin’ no sense. What’s she got to do to with you havin’ a sore thumb?”

Jake: “She brought me a beer down to the river.”

Jerome shook his head. “Well, how is that a crime?”

Jake: “It was like this. I took my fishin’ chair and my rod and set up on the bank of the Yellowstone right there where that little gravel bar forms a kinda pocket of deep water. Figured I’d for sure catch a nice trout.” Jake paused. He sighed.

“Well? Well?” snapped Jerome. “What happened?”

Jake: “I told ya. Gladys showed up.”

Jerome: “So you said. Bringin’ you a beer. That ain’t exactly a felony, is it? What I’m tryin’ to find out is how did you hurt yer danged finger?”

Jake: “Well, just as I was reelin’ in my line, Gladys stepped in front of me and bumped into my rod. Danged fishhook flipped up and jammed itself into my thumb.”

Jerome: “Ouch!”

Jake: “Ya got that right. Danged critter dug in deep. I tried to pull it loose, but the blamed thing was buried clean down to the bone. A barb on a fish hook is kinda like an arrow. Tryin’ to pull it backwards, you’d just tear up the flesh. Not to mention it’d hurt like the dickens.”

Jerome: “Yikes.”

Jake: “So Gladys decided to drive me to the emergency room. She cut my fishin’ line away from the hook. At the hospital, the Doc stuck me with a syringe full of something to numb my thumb. Then he pushed the fishhook forward till it poked a new hole through my skin. Then he took a pair of what looked like needle-nose pliers ‘n drug the danged hook forward and out — including the little feather I’d tied onto it.”

Jerome: “So, I’m guessin’ that’s why you’re not fishing today?”

Jake: “Uh-huh. I’m waiting for my thumb to heal up. I figger by next week, I can grip the fishin’ pole in comfort.”

Jerome: “So did you save the fish hook the Doc pulled outta ya?”

Jake: “Yep. In fact, I’m tyin’ a matching feathered fly onto another hook.”

Jerome: “Should I ask why?”

Jake. “Well, Gladys said she won’t ever fetch me another beer while I’m fishin’. I’m havin’ the pair made into earrings for her. I’m hopin’ that’ll change her mind.” ❖

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