Friday, July 21, 2006

A little boy and a dinosaur ...

(Here's a story to go with today's coffee !)

He stood ankle deep in the water along the shore. The water lapped at his sneakers, but he didn't seem to mind, he was more intent on fishing. The rod in his hand was swung back and forth over his head as he cast out into the sparkling water.

At the end of his line was a tiny plastic dinosaur. It came with the rod. The rod was a advertised special from Zellers or Canadian Tire or somewhere like that. I was designed for practising not for real fishing. But to the eight year old boy standing ankle deep in the water, it didn't matter. He was enjoying the process of casting and reeling in, casting and reeling in, casting and reeling in ...

He stood for hours in the water casting his little dinosaur out, and reeling it back in over the sandy beach, only to repeat the action ...

This could have gone on all day. But then suddenly the line on his reel whizzed as it played out into the deeper water then the tidal flats he was standing on. His little hands tightened on the reel. His fingers twisted around the pole. He hung on for dear life.

Then the line ran out ... zing ... the line pulled tight. The pole strained under the pressure of the fish that had foolishly chosen the little plastic dinosaur for its lunch.

The little boy didn't know whether to laugh, or cry, or call for help. He stood, his face grimaced from the strain of holding the fishing pole. His knuckles turned white ...

Just as suddenly, yet strangely it seemed to happen in slow motion ... the line snapped with a loud 'twang', the wave ebbed just as the little boy fell back into the wet sand beneath him, and the tiny v-shaped wake left on the surface of the water disappeared as the unseen fish made off with its prize of a tiny plastic dinosaur.

The little boy sat up as the next wave crested on the beach, leaving him soaked to the skin and covered in wet sand. He looked around, then picked up his rod and himself and head up the beach to his father, who was heading down the beach as he was heading up dragging his pole behind him.

The tracks he left looked like some strange wet creature emerging from the surf. Two footsteps and a long trail from a tail dragging out behind ... the little boy didn't know whether to laugh or cry. In the twinkling of an eye his afternoon of fun was undone by the one that got away ...

"You know," his dad offered as he gave the little boy a hug, "the really good fisherman always have that happen to them."

The little boy looked up at his dad hopefully, "really?" in his eye the beginning of a tear.

"Absolutely," said Dad, his voice gaining confidence, "Every fisherman has a story about the one that got away."

"Really?" the little boy repeated.

"Absolutely," offered the Dad again, not letting go of his son.

For a long moment they stood on the beach in a hug. The little boy sobbed quietly as the loss of his dinosaur, and from the shock of falling in the cold water. Then the little boy turned and looked out to the water where his precious little plastic dinosaur disappeared. He drew a breath, his chest shuddering from the soft sobs.

"You know dad," the little boy whispered, "that musta been a HUGE fish."

The dad nodded in agreement and squeezed the little boy a bit tighter.

"It musta been a HUGE fish," the little boy repeated, "cause only a BIG HUMONGOUS fish could EVER eat a WHOLE dinosaur ..."

"Absolutely," agreeed the dad, "absolutely ..."

The two hugged each other a little tighter, and if the little boy had looked up he would have seen a tear in his dad's eye ... "Now," the dad spoke quietly, "you can tell EVERYONE about the one that got away !!"

"After it ate a dinosaur!" laughed the little boy.

"Absolutely," agreeed the dad, "absolutely ..."

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