I used to know a guy named Bump. He was a metal worker in my dad’s sheet metal shop. Bump was more country than anyone I’d ever known. He was missing the distal phalanges on every finger of his left hand, but it didn’t matter; he wielded a welding torch as well as anyone, but preferred wielding a fishing rod. Dude could fish. Bump had shoulder-length sandy blond hair with an uneven, permanent scruff on his face. He always wore a baseball cap.

When I was about fourteen, Bump and I were fishing in the middle of a Florida lake when a squall line came up on us from over the pines. We fired up the jon boat motor and raced to the edge of the lake. About halfway back across, the wind slammed into us and the chop grew to 1-2 feet. And in a jon boat, in the driving wind and rain, 1-2 feet is plenty. I looked over at Bump, who was steering the boat from the back, and saw fear in his eyes. Of course then I became afraid. But rather than hunker down in the boat and hope for the best, I then did something totally illogical. I stood up as best I could at the front of the boat and screamed into the wind, “LET’S GO! LET’S GO! LET’S GO!” Before being thrown back into the boat, landing with a thud. I smiled and looked back at Bump. He had lost his hat and was squinting into the rain, but was smiling too.

Then we both yelled like rebels all the way back to shore. With dinner.



Jim Mitchem

Dear Parents, Do Better

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.

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