And once again I am alone. I quickly attach another flatfish, since I have just lost one on the bottom of the log after watching that airplane, and I try another cast. Whhooooooooooo-powwww! Oh wow! Oh wow! Hardly a cast do I lay in that cove without something hitting it! Pow! Another smallmouth! He somersaults, he leaps, he glares at me, he swears, he tells me dirty jokes and then he tries to yell ‘sing to me a little bit—Yes sir, that’s my baby’—Pow! and ten minutes later he joins his fellow in my creel.
Oh, I’m drifting now, I’m just enjoying the beautiful, beautiful way it is. The world that I’m in. The water, the green trees, the fleecy white clouds, the remoteness, the alone-ness. And then I hear a strange sound approaching—from somewhere off-stage! A sort of gung, gung, gung, gung, gung. It is no boat—I know that. It is no train—I know that because there are no railroad stations around. It is no Hupmobile with bad valves, gung, gung, gung. I turn around and look behind me and not more than fifteen feet from me, I cannot believe it, is an airplane! He is coasting right up to me on floats. Gung, gung, gung, gung, gung. My boat starts to bob up and down and I see, sitting in the front of that plane, a man—in a uniform.
I look up at him. You know, you’re very small when you’re in a rowboat and you’re looking up at an airplane—that is coming right up on you with a pair of floats hanging out. And, capagung, gung, gung, gung, gung, he floats right up to me. What magnificence in this sylvan glade. It is romantic. I think to myself, well, he’s had a forced landing or something.
And then that uniformed head comes out of that cockpit. “Hey, bud, lemme see yer license, bud. Lemme see yer license there.”
And then it hits me. My god, no! I had left my license back in the cabin! Four thousand miles away! I brought that license and left it on the table and here I am! Oh no! No! I am down on my knees in the sylvan glade, in my rented rowboat. “But, but! No!”
He says, “All right, mac. Turn that boat around. You say it’s in your cabin? Turn around and I’ll follow ya!”
I am the first guy you ever heard who was followed home in a rented rowboat by a Piper Cub flying at twelve-hundred feet in circles above me. With the entire lake watching him. This was undoubtedly the most public pinch that has ever been made in the state of Maine.
That guy had everything but twin fifty-caliber sub-machineguns mounted on that little cockamamie plane. He followed me all the way back to the cabin. I went in and I got my license and came out on the shore. He landed his plane. “Okay, mac, carry it with ya. Where do you think you are—in the woods?”
And that little airplane went rrrrrrrrr down the lake and took off and I knew then that the long arm of the fuzz can never be totally escaped and I knew then also that there are people to whom things don’t happen, and there’s us. And there’s us.
The lower lake is Snow Pond, where Shepherd,
not discouraged about Maine,
still lovin’ it,
will one day buy a home and spend many
good times on vacation there with Leigh Brown.