by Loren Hanson
Mick Maguire, Al Booth, Jim Sharpe and I planned a fishing trip to Al's Trailer up in Tamarack, Minnesota. I asked Al if I should bring my boat & trailer along and He said we wouldn't need it because he had another boat & motor up there for us to use. As usual, the plan didn't quite work out. First of all, Al did not have his dock in yet and he forgot to take his tool kit along and, of course, we couldn't put it in. He also didn't have a motor and the boat he provided was not seaworthy. Al's boat and motor were fine though, so he and Mick set out for the other side of the lake, which is where the fish always are.
Jim Sharpe & I struggled to launch the boat from shore. It was a very narrow boat and with Jim in it, I couldn't push it out so we changed positions and he pushed it out & jumped in the bow. It was very windy that day and we were immediately swept out into the deep water. With Jim sitting in the bow, the stern was out of the water & I couldn't row in a straight line. I told him to go the rear of the boat. He stood up & grabbed the sides and stated that he had learned how to move about in the boat while he was a boy scout He immediately tripped over his tackle box & fell on top of me. Naturally, this scow tipped over sideways and I was underwater on my back with Jim on top of my legs. I kicked myself free finally & surfaced in time to watch Jim grab his nose & slide into the cold water. We were laughing so hard we almost drowned!
Mick & Al heard us bellowing from across the lake but could not see what had transpired. We held onto the boat & finally made it to shore against the wind. It took us about 15 minutes to capture all of the minnows swimming about freely in the water-filled scow. We finally bailed all the water out & once again set out across the lake. After rowing for 20 minutes, we got out to where Mick & Al were. We didn't want them to know what had happened because something always happened on our fishing trips and the people back at the plant couldn't wait to hear the stories when we returned.
Mick & Al were suspicious but didn't really know what happened. When we got back to the trailer, Al wanted to go into town and he did. Mick went with him. Naturally we deemed this as a good opportunity to dry out our clothes & billfolds. We declined & they left. Jim & I quickly emptied our billfolds and spread the money & pictures out to dry. We stripped off our wet clothing and sat down in dry clothes to play cribbage & drink some beer.
Unfortunately, Al & Mick returned prematurely and saw the wet stuff spread out to dry. We had to fess up. But we threatened Al with a lawsuit for providing a boat "unsafe at any depth" if he breathed a word of this incident back at the Ford plant.
Of course, everyone at the plant was asking us for details of the fishing trip but we all said it was just a "normal", uneventful trip, but rumors started spreading about a capsized boat & Jim & I decided it was time to hold a press conference in our office to tell them about our harrowing experience and how it could have been disastrous.
We spread the word around that we would have a press release the next morning in our office to quell these rumors. At 10:00 AM, our office was full of people from every department. Jim & I had rehearsed our lines and I started the proceedings by saying that we wanted to set the record straight. I said it was true that there had been a near-disaster but that we had managed to bring the boat ashore and subsequently reenter the lake, this time remaining inside the boat. I explained how Jim had tripped and fallen on top of me. I then turned the meeting over to Jim who stated that this wasn't true. "Simply put, Loren fell overboard & I dove in and saved his life." The meeting went downhill from there with Jim & I hurling insults & charges against one another.
It seems, though, that every trip had at least one major incident and the details always ended up back in the Ford plant, distorted and disputed. But that was how you bring the trip home.