Thursday, August 04, 2005

Fish Tale with Reality

Went down to the river yesterday with a couple of buds (friends - not the beer or weed) and had a rather pleasant evening with a jolt at the end.

The river level continues to drop and algae is starting to show in the slower moving areas. We managed to catch a few brim, a couple of stripers, and about 15 or so smallmouth. Yes, will be having smallmouth for dinner tonight.

We also saw a bald eagle cruise on by, circle a small island upstream a bit, and then flew on. Love seeing those.

Ospreys are plentiful down there and we see them all the time. Not too long ago about 6 or 7 of them were dive bombing a wide deeper area towards the middle of the river. Awesome thing to watch.

About 9 o'clock it's too dark to see, the biting insects come out in full force and it's time to go. The path down to the river is very narrow, steep and rocky in some places. It's very overgrown and come nightfall in order to get out of there you basically just look down for the lighter part of the ground, and that's the path.

Well, Joe was up ahead a little bit cuz he was getting chewed by 'skeeters and wanted out of there fast. He's about ten feet away when I see he's stopped and spot something on the ground in front of him. At first it appeared to be a mannequin, and then I realized it was a body.

Face down, mostly in the weeds with their legs on the trail.
When I say face down in the weeds, that's exactly what I mean.

We thought it was somebody that jumped off the bridge at first, but then she moaned and moved a little.

To sum it up quickly, it was a homeless woman apparently lost. She came up with all kinds of stories as to why she was where she was at that moment. None of these stories made any sense.

She said she had been robbed by a teenage couple and they piled rocks on her head. She told us that they took her purse.
"When did this happen?" I said, and she said "last week".

Joe said he saw a purse near the tracks earlier and then dashed off to get it. When he came back and gave it to her she was overjoyed. It was hers. It had a bottle of meds in it she shook a couple of times, and then rifled through the rest of it she found her driver's license and a small pouch.

It's already dark but it's getting darker. Too dark to see anybody's face or anything specific. There is some light filtering down from the bridge but not enough to discern anything unless you get up close, so that's exactly what I was doing. I had knelt down to watch her rummage through the purse and see what she came up with.

She did find her 'meds' and quickly threw them back in. That small pouch was what she was interested in. She unzipped that pouch and I could see a rolled up plastic baggie that had either crack, meth or heroin in it, and a metal pipe to smoke it in. Once she found that, suddenly she was able to stand and actually walk again.

She asked which way to the railroad tracks, we pointed, and off she went. Somewhere out there her friend had a tent and that's where she was headed.

Don't know if that last part was true exactly, but I have discovered a few homeless camps down there on some of the smaller islands.

It's a beautiful river with a couple of small mansions on the bluff overlooking this area, and down below these bluffs, the drug addled homeless wander the tracks and live in camps.

Gives one something to think about and be grateful for while fishing. ,

7 Opinions:

Blogger Paul the Spud speaks!

Nothing like a really surreal experience to make you appreciate what you have, eh?

I never was much for fishing; I get bored doing it really easily. But you just made me really nostalgic for the days of rods & reels.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Redjalapeno speaks!

Impossible to get bored fishing in the James River unless you just don't like the great outdoors.

There is an old adage, "a bored fisherman is one that doesn't know how to fish".

Ok, I just made that up.

When I can't fool the fish (don't use live bait, that's cheating) I just walk around the river and observe all of mom nature's creations, the wonder of it all.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Pepper speaks!

Now that is one creepy sight! I'm impressed with your calm, as I've never seen anything that wild in the woods. And now you have a story that is much more fascinating than "I caught a huge fish today! It was THIIIIS big!"

3:37 PM  
Blogger oldwhitelady speaks!

What a story. That would creep me out. The woman was lucky you all found her purse. If not, she might not have been able to.

Do you have West Nile disease over there?

1:01 AM  
Blogger pattygal speaks!

Wow. I'm impressed with how you all handled it... some (most?) would have walked away upon realizing she was homeless and not a crime victim of some sort.

Although. Sad that she is a victim of addiction I suppose.

Makes for an interesting fish tale!

10:05 AM  
Blogger Redjalapeno speaks!

Yes, we do have the West Nile virus popping up here and there, but it's my understanding that medically there's not much to worry about unless you are really young or really old. So I'm ok for now.

As far as how we handled it; yeah, probably a lot of people would have ignored her and moved on. We did what we thought we could do to help her in the immediate.

It is my opinion that the only way this woman is going to overcome her problems would be through incarceration. Not in jail, but in a treatment facility of some sort.

It was sad, it was tough to see, but it's was a reality.

When I fish down there by myself, I get a little nervous come nightfall. People like her don't bother me, it's the possible other nut jobs that might be down there preying on people like her, or waiting for a fisherman to come off the river and jump out of the woods and attack.

I always use a double treble-hooked lure as my last lure, just so I can leave it on the rod, which will be yielded as a weapon should the need arise.
That and I'm as quick and fast as a deer. :)

10:27 AM  
Blogger Dr. C speaks!

As someone once said, pissing is not my fashion or vice versa. Anyway, this sounds like Cormac McCarthy, or Flannery O'Conner (how come all those Southern writers are Irish?). But, in the end, it is exceedingly sad. Clearly a life that is on its last legs. She was probably someone's mother or lover or at least sister. Certainly someone's child.
Wouldn't worry about West Nile; it moved West a couple of years ago. Worry about bird flu. REALLY worry.

9:23 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home