I haven't mentioned it before in this column, but I've been seeing someone for the past couple of months. He's a nice guy, but doesn't live in Ashland. At first, I was worried that my parents, long-time Ashlanders, would disapprove of me dating a man who lives in White City. He's the kind of guy who enjoys things my parents and I had never heard of before, things such as "quads," and "dirt-track racing." It turns out I was worried for no reason. My parents like him and my son, Silas, adores him. My mom once told me that dating this man, Eric, was sort of like visiting another culture. Eric still teases me about being an "exchange student to White City."
After several months of dating, I feel comfortable mentioning him in this column for a couple of reasons. One reason is that I feel he may play prominently in my life for the foreseeable future, but the main reason is that I have firmly established that he never reads my column in the paper.
I recently had my birthday, and Eric gave me my fishing license as my birthday present. Apparently, he had the idea that I would enjoy waking up in the dark, driving up to the mountain lakes in the pre-dawn hours, and then putting my hands in some horrible, stinky, neon-colored substance called PowerBait before I had even had a cup of coffee.
I might be lazy, I might enjoy sleeping in, but I was happy that for my birthday Eric wanted to include me and Silas in one of his favorite activities. So, trying my best to be a good girlfriend and a pleasant morning person, the three of us headed out to Howard Prairie last weekend.
As it turns out, fishing isn't half bad. Sitting out by the water, waiting for your pole to wiggle while snacking out of the cooler is a fairly pleasant way to pass the morning (if for some reason you have been forced to be awake during the morning hours). Eric was hard at work, baiting the hooks, helping Silas and I cast our lines and trying to convince Silas that fishing is fun, and not cold and boring.
Unfortunately, fishing was unexpectedly exciting for us. Only about an hour into our fishing adventure Eric fell down some large rocks. I scurried down the rocks after him to find him, face pale, sitting on a rock staring down at his leg, which seemed to be jutting out at a funny angle with his knee cap sitting on the outside of his leg instead of perching on top of his knee. Between Eric and myself, we straightened out his leg with a gut-wrenching "pop" while sliding his knee cap back into place. Eric managed to get back up to the top of the rocks, and we put the ice packs in the cooler to good use, wrapped around his knee.
Now, a week later, Eric is on his couch instead of a chair on the side of the lake, but he's still icing his knee and struggling to move around. My parents check in with me every day to find out how he's doing and Eric is enjoying all the support he's getting from the south end of the valley. Despite my first time fishing probably being the most exciting fishing trip I'll ever go on, I'm willing to go again. I'm sure there's a trout out there just itching to get its lips around my PowerBait. In fact, as the official exchange student to White City, I consider it my duty not only to go fishing again, but to try out those other exotic activities known as "riding quads" and "dirt-track racing."
Zoe Abel, born and raised in Ashland, is starting to venture farther out into the Rogue Valley. You can contact her at email@example.com.