Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wilbo Discovers that You Are Not a Vagrant Sleeping in His Car if You Are Parking with the Salmon Fishermen in Elk Rapids @PureMichigan

Elk Rapids calls the final reach of the Elk River a fishing park. If one vagabonds, finding where the fishermen, fisherpeople, park their cars close to the water means finding a place where one can relax and stay all night. I wouldn't be surprised if the local law enforcement sweep by and check plates, all in the interest of public safety. The prospect didn't worry me. Leaving the Clam Lake Brewery Saturday night, I wasn't on Mitchell Street more than a minute before a State Police Cruiser pulled behind me and turned on his red and blue flashers. I thought I had signaled my turn and made an acceptable right hand turn and I pulled into a parking spot to learn what had made my car stand out. September marks my birthday month and I had a paid up auto policy, a fresh sticker on my plate with a P for recreation passport and all paperwork in order. I had enjoyed a pint slowly and was pretty sure my hefty body had absorbed the alcohol.

I am respectful to officers of the law. Too many friends have parents who have now retired from the thin blue line for it too be otherwise. The badge has a heavy weight although pinned to a blue shirt, the badge hangs lightly. One woman I got to know about a year ago had passed years getting to know her father, building a relationship, an officer who had death threats called to his house when he arrested a Detroit celebrity for drunk driving in Bloomfield Hills. The celebrity had been foolish enough to toss a cup out the window, compounding drunk driving with littering. The drunk driving laws had just been added to the books.

Last I knew the relationship had progressed to the point where the two practice together at a firing range. For a while, I texted her copies of Niagara's serigraphs of film noir beauties, all good with pistols. One heroine blasts away and exclaims, "The fastest way to a man's heart is through his chest"! Another one of my former flutters who was more badass the my bad self.

One friend pretty much runs the police department for a suburb on the shores of Detroit's Lake St Clair. Although she's vacationing most of the time.

I doubt my life will ever veer to the dark but it is my plan to be polite and cooperative should the handcuffs be unlocked for me. Then I'll dial Gary Segatti or Eric C. Grimm just to hear them say, "Where are you, you dumb cluck"?

Remembering the advice of my friend, the attorney Gary Segatti, I rolled down my window, placed my arms visibly on the window sill and cheerfully said, "Good morning officer!" as he walked up with his flashlight. 

"Your right headlight is out. Might I check your driver's license and record that I reminded you?"

He didn't ask me to reach into the glove box where an envelope on top held registration and proof of State Farm insurance. I have fumbled through documents with the assistance of a military flashlight too many times to have it any other way. All data can be found online and pretty soon, as the Geico oinker says, I'll be just keeping gloves in the glove compartment. 

He returned but was I really worrying about an outstanding warning turning up for me in the system? He asked to see my headlights work. 

"Might I turn the car on, officer"? For some reason the lights didn't respond until the engine revved. A year and a half in my Subaru hadn't taught me all her secrets.

"That's fine".

The engine revved, the officer glowed in the headlight. "Yes, it's the right headlight. Hit your brights". I hit my brights. "Ok, you have brights".

He came back to my window and asked, "So what's up for this night?" 

"Heading up to the Irish Bar in Mancelona for a visit. Never seen the inside before".

"Good people at Shamrock. Get that headlight fixed." He didn't write a ticket for an inspection follow up.

"Thanks, officer. It's ironic officer. I had all the lights checked at Van's Oil Change before I set up north".

"Drive safely", he said and returned to his car and kept his lights flashing until I entered a traffic lane rolling. 

The car parked next to me in the fishing park lot was a Nissan Subaru and he had been parked when I got here at five in the morning. He was walking back with a bucket, a pole, a net and a frown. 

"Fishing for Salmon?"

"Yep, nothing biting".

"Run is late this year".

"That's what I hear. So's the fall colors".

He loaded his gear in his back seat and took off, maybe to go to work. The six men on the ledge above the power plant flume keep working their spawn sacks in the roiling water. I haven't seen anyone working the net all of them seem to share. It has been that long since I heard the flopping of a fish on a line above the turbine hum.

I have had my tackle in the car since Friday night. I have no idea what I would do if I caught a salmon. One friend, a trained Marine, would fillet the $&@@&$ out of it. I wouldn't post the fact on Facebook as a long time friend has been routinely defriending hunters. My Rapala fillet knife has yet to leave the package. I would have to ice down the fillets of a King Coho caught going up river to spawn. Too much to eat roasted over a beach fire. Catch and release has a quality of kindness. Giving a salmon to a subsistence fisherman does too.

I have a phone interview at 10 AM. Thanks to cell phones and libraries with internet, I can ramble around the state and look for a job. One call and this hunk of manpower is ready to report for duty, sir!
 — at Elk Rapids Hydroelectric Power.

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