Shifting gears

As spring continues to break its promised arrival, gears were being shifted at the Bakery in Drizzle Creek last week.
The next major safari is the Great Lake Trout expedition to Whitefish Bay in the coming weekends.
Around the debating table, lures, evasive techniques, bait (legal and otherwise), barbecuing techniques, and other relevant and irrelevant details were being bantered about with reckless abandon.
Time allotments scheduled for the exercise were being carefully calculated.
“Boy, I don’t know if I can go for a whole three days,” worried Bugs as he swilled down his first cup of high test.
“What? You just retired. You should have all the time in the world now,” I offered, stunned that Bugs, known for his appetite for overtime but never missing a fishing opportunity, should be considering shortening the opener trip.
“Oh yeah, but now that I’m not on the road, the ‘Honey do list’ has been resurrected and would you believe she’s dredging up promises that are nearly 30 years old,” sputtered Bugs, a tear forming in one corner of his eye thinking of all the rash promises he had made over the years.
I nodded my head in acknowledgement, having been through the same experience with the “Pearl.” Nine years of retirement and she’s still remembering promises I made back in the good old days.
Fortunately, my procrastination has been more effective than most and the Pearl has pretty much given up on reforming me.
I started to give Bugs some pointers, but was interrupted as Pickle and the Runt pulled up to the table.
“How about it? Are you guys going on the great trout quest?” I quizzed after they quit their pointed comments on how certain parties at the table twisted the truth.
“Well I might,” admitted Pickle, more desperate than most to escape town for a while, particularly at this time of year.
Pickle’s penchant for picking up various pieces of lawn and garden equipment that have only one thing in common—they don’t work—comes home to roost. A few hours of tinkering has them at least sputtering along whereupon Pickle vends these pieces of junk . . . er, “previously-owned quality implements” with a “limited lifetime warranty”—if you can catch him at home.
The universal greeting to him at this time of year is, “Pickle, you know that piece of junk you sold me. . . .”
The Runt was more emphatic.
“Go out there and sleep on a rock with all those wood ticks. Not a chance!” he snorted as he tied into his large order of toast.
The image of a ring of naked trout fisherman standing around in a circle each morning checking each other for ticks nearly spoiled my appetite.
“Hey, how come you got three pieces of toast and I only got two,” I quickly noted, examining his order while contemplating my own remaining crumbs. A tear formed in the corner of my eye at the slight.
“That’s okay, Jack. Don’t cry. They’re crusts, which I don’t like. You can have them. Here, have some peanut butter,” he offered, pushing the crusts and condiments across the table.
I wiped the tear from my eye and tucked in, struck mute by this unexpected generosity.
“Besides, Pickle promised this weekend he would fix that tiller he sold me. The gears won’t shift. When can I bring that piece of junk over?” asked the Runt.
Pickle muttered something under his breath about some people outliving their life expectancy.
Then he cringed as the doors swung open and the latest entrant called out, ”Pickle, you know that piece of junk you sold me. . . .”

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