Tales of Oregon

A True Friend

Saturday, August 25th, 2018 - 4:16 PM

There’s a guy I fish with regularly whom I call Coos Bay Scotty when talking about him, even if he doesn’t really live in Coos Bay. I’ve long considered him a good fishing companion and a nice enough fellow, so he’s frequently featured prominently in my tall tales for the kids.

We’ve been having good weather and great seas down this way, so Scott decided to come on down to fish as a run-up to the Sunset Bay AOTD Challenge. I’m not sure why, because this is a good-enough place to fish, but getting to the water is a huge chore. Over the years, we’ve learned that a kayak cart is useless in the deep, soft, talcum-fine sand on the beach and we’d often spent way too much energy digging carts’ wheels out of the sand to make it seem worth the effort for four piddly rockfish.

Scott thought it would be easier to just drag the kayaks to the water, like they’re sleds, making fishing around here a bit more pleasant, so we tested the theory for the first time last Thursday. Shockingly – at least to me – it worked. It’s still a hateful chore to get a kayak to the water, but it was only half as hateful as it had been before.

We fished for a while, Scott out-fishing me in my home water, and beat it back to the beach just as the afternoon winds picked-up.

Somewhere along the trail, as I tugged my kayak back up the dune, the bow found an inconvenient pile of dog poo. I should add that to the chore of getting a kayak to the water – locally, we call that beach “Dog Beach” because that’s where folks take their beasts for a romp. Those who live here clean up after their dogs – it’s our backyard, after all – but the tourists seldom do, and this is tourist season. Poo-dodging is an art form, but it seems it’s not quite as demanding when using a cart as it can be when dragging a kayak behind you on the trail.

I didn’t know I had a smear of poo on the bow until I reached the truck and as I packed up to leave, I noticed something brown on the hull, and just as I stuck my fingers into it, my brain shouted, “It’s dog poo, you idiot!” Too late, too late.

The valley was ringing with the great guffaws my companion let loose and people were staring at the crazy guys with kayaks.

Fine. I can take it. I make mistakes. We all do. Most of us make fewer mistakes than me, but I’m not losing sleep over it.

Packed up, I was having a hard time getting my kayak back up on the ladder racks. Every time I tried to prop the bow on the rack, the stern would slide backwards on the asphalt before I could wander back and lift everything onto the racks. Scott came over to help – see? he’s a nice enough fellow – and I had the kayak loaded on the truck in no time flat. But, as I started to slide it forward, I remembered my fingers and the poo and remarked, casually, that I hoped Scott didn’t get poo on his hands from helping me.

As he examined his fingers, I saw it. A great, long and wide streak of poo on his shirt. My bow was again sparkly clean, but that shirt was, most definitely, not.

“Ack! That dog wasn’t eating premium dog food! Yuck!” In the hysteria that followed, I believe we scared away three or four tourists and I couldn’t stand up and laugh as hard as we were laughing. Someone was talking about peeing pants and I was hoping they meant their own pants.

I had to take Scott to lunch after that. Lots of folks will tell you they’ll take a bullet for you, but only a true friend will take a load of poo.

Thank you, Coos Bay Scotty! And I promise to keep a pack of moist towelettes in the truck from now on.