THE HIGH NOTE
by: Eddie Trapp
Last day of our early August, Gulf Coast fishing trip: Thursday morning the surf was too rough south of High Island to wade out chest deep and cast our lines so we moved on down the coast. Stopped at Rollover Pass to people watch and catch mullet from “the wall.” Jean would stand about five yards from me looking down in the swift water and when she would see a school of mullet coming, tell me to get ready. As they swam by almost beneath me I would cast the net and pull up several finger size mullet, one of the favorite baits for the Gulf. The surf was too high along most of Bolivar Peninsula so we moved to a place more “out of the wind” near the ship channel. Retillion Road is about three miles from the ferry on the opposite side from Galveston. It has a very nice beach and the gradual slope of the bottom allows kids or anyone to safely wade out a hundred yards or more.
After setting out a couple of surf rods for Jean in our rod holders I kayaked out to a sunken shrimp boat laying on its side. About half of it is showing above the water and the structure attracts a lot of fish. It seemed like it took an hour to paddle out to what locals call “the whale” but Jean timed me and said it was only twenty minutes. Several large ships lay at anchor nearby waiting their turn to move on up the ship channel. After anchoring I fished for two hours, only caught a few small sharks, then raced a thunderstorm back to shore. The cloud brought heavy rain and we sat under beach umbrellas waiting for the wind and rain to pass.
There were very few people on the beach due to the weather and it being a week day. On weekends many people come from Galveston. Just as the rain and wind began to subside a homeless type man appeared from behind us. I knew the type; they always have a sad story. This one was named Leo and was from Houston. His girlfriend, DeAnn, had driven off, leaving him and his camping gear on the beach the day before. Wanted to use my cell phone to call her and see if he could talk her into coming back to get him. No answer after calling her twice and his mother once. While he talked on my phone I got him a ham sandwich and a bottle of water.
After today’s poor luck fishing we were about ready to quit anyway so heck, we’ll give him a ride to the ferry. After loading all our things we drove a mile further southwest along the beach to his campsite where we were surprised to see a huge pile of gear. Three fishing rods, a twelve volt television, DVD player, tent, sleeping bag, and more. He and his gear rode in the back of our pickup toward the ferry. With nothing else to do, Jean and I decided to take him on across the ferry, through Galveston, and drop him off near Interstate 45 where he could probably hitch on in to Houston.
Before getting in the ferry line I asked him if he had any drugs because there is always a chance of being searched. Our pickup and contents have been searched twice within the last few months. He assured me he had no drugs and we got in line. One of the officials told him he could not ride in the back of the pickup as we boarded but would have to walk on. There is a nice convenience store just before Interstate 45 and we dropped him and his gear there on the shady side. Let him call his mom again and leave a message. Gave him ten dollars after sternly saying, “This is for food, okay?” We drove off as he went inside the store, hopefully to get something to eat. Good luck, Leo, and you may want to get a different girlfriend. Before crossing back on the ferry we stopped at Joe’s Crab Shack for shrimp and crab cakes. After another night in the nice rented travel trailer in High Island we were ready to start for home Friday morning.
There aren’t many television programs that make me laugh out loud. One that can is The Honeymooners. Yes, it still comes on a night or two a week. I forget what channel. That Ralph Cramden and Ed Norton can sure get in trouble sometimes. Last week Ralph was depressed about his life, and said it was just like when he played the clarinet in high school and could never manage to “hit the high note.” He and Norton both determined to make a change. Went to a lot of trouble applying for better jobs but were both not successful. As Norton walked out the door he said, “I’m just a hangnail on the fickle finger of fate.” Alice, ever dependable, gave Ralph a hug and told him everything was okay. Hugging her back he ended the program by saying, “At least in life, I hit a high note when I found you.” I think there were a few misty eyes after that.
Abraham Lincoln lost several bids for public office but persevered. Once, upon losing his party’s nomination for United States Senator someone asked him how he felt. He was notorious for answering questions by telling a story or giving an example. Answering that particular question he said, “Like the barefooted boy that stumped his big toe. He was too big to cry and it hurt too bad to laugh.”
Lincoln told the story of a man that got mad at a butcher in a meat market. Next day the mad man entered the crowded meat market carrying three dead cats, plopped them on the counter, and said, “Okay, that makes twelve today. I’ll be back tomorrow for my money.”