I was stretched long on the front of that Lund boat, with a Berkley fishing rod dangling over the water. My father had one hand on the motor, gently steering our vessel over reefs where walleye hovered.
I was just a scrawny kid. I hadn’t even met the man I’d marry, but that didn’t matter. A girl could dream. When you’re hundreds of feet offshore, and when the hours and the shadows grow long, your mind wanders. Mine fast-fowarded to the altar, and to the man who’d wear the tuxedo and the gold band on his finger. My man.
Even back when I wore braces and a training bra, I was a type-A planner girl — not one to overlook the important details. Like this:
Dad? I flashed a grin to my father at the back of the Lund. When I get married, I’ve gotta have a fisherman because someone needs to pilot my boat.
And somewhere on another lake, with another father, a boy in a boat dreamed of a girl who knew how to bait her own hook.
I don’t recall anymore who caught who, but we were both hooked right away. Seventeen years after we fell in love, he still says we’re “soul mates.”
It’s been years of dirty socks and PMS
and an occasional slammed door and
yes, some tears
but more so,
it’s love notes tucked under bedpillows and
and in the soil
and two Bibles marked in green highlighter.
The years are showing in the wrinkles and in the pages of the Bibles and in the nicks on the hardwood floors — and, of course, in the exaggerated fishing tales. (They get bigger with time, you know.)
He’s my favorite farmer, and he knows what it is to plant things in good soil. So he found someone to tend to the chores for a few days because, for us, a lot of life has unfolded in the confines of 18-foot fishing boats. There’s good soil for the planting even out on open water, and the farmer knows it.
They say that the family who prays together, stays together. And might we play together, too?
Who said holy matrimony had to be boring?
The four of us headed north last week to the land of the pines and loons — and gigantic mosquitos — for a five-day vacation.
We slipped slimy nightcrawlers on hooks, and stetched out limbs and poles and souls wide open on glassy lakes.
And yes, it was romantic and holy. Some women want the bouquets and the diamonds and the poems. I find love in a dirty, grimy, slimy shell of a fishing boat. I fall head over heels all over again with the boy I dreamed about years ago.
He baits a hook, and I’m smitten.
I’m at the front of a fishing boat, with the man I love.
And all these years later, I still think he’s the greatest catch.
It’s June — the month of anniversaries, including our own. Over at Ann Voskamp’s place
, she asks her community of writers to consider: The Spiritual Practice of Holy Matrimony.
And I keep thinking about how holy and fun it is to be married to a fisherman. And I keep thinking too how important it is for couples to make time for fun together. When it gets busy and we need a break, Scott and I joke that Jesus really wants us to go fishing. (After all, Jesus had a soft spot for fishermen, too.)
PHOTO: My favorite farmer, in one of our favorite places, on enchanting Mule Lake near Longville, Minnesota.