by Randal Sumner
Its only been 43 years since Iíve been to the Base lake
in Nebraska Iím probably old enough now to revisit the memory. In 1962 my Dad
was assigned to Offutt AFB, Omaha Nebraska. Offutt (or Awful) AFB was the home
of Strategic Air Command. In case your
too young to remember SACís mission was to keep a fleet of B-52 bombers in the
air loaded with nuclear weapons twenty four seven in case the Sovietís decided
to try a first strike: the doctrine of mutual destruction. You might also
remember that October 1962 was the height of Cuban missile crisis, I was 10 my
brother Gary was 8, interesting times.
None of this made much difference to
Gary or myself we were just kids; school was enough to sweat out. In the summer
we had it made, just lying in the cool basement watching a little black and
white TV with our psycho dachshund, Hanís. The dog was full size pure breed
Dachshund about 35 pounds of terror, he would hide soup bones in the sofa and
growl like a Doberman if you happened to sit down, a wiener dog with a bad
Outside the basement the summer
Midwest temps were over a hundred with as much humidly. One thing my Dad the
old Chief couldnít stand was to see his boys relaxing, he had lots of yard jobs
to keep us busy, sometimes not even our yard.
Then one day he had an epiphany ď You two are
going to the Base Lake tomorrow and your taking the DogĒ. Fishing was always a
part of his life and he passed it on to us like a family business. The next
morning early we made a lunch, ate some eggs, found the dogs chain and the
Chief took us to the Base lake.
The lake was five acres of sludgy
still water sitting in the middle of a cow pasture. After unloading our fishing
gear, lunch and the Dog, Dad drove off leaving us stranded in this sweltering
prairie landscape. The lake supposedly had some bass in it but we just sat
sweating, catching sunfish by the thousands no bait needed. Iíve never heard
the expression: smart as a sunfish.
Of course the first thing the Dog
would do is run off a couple miles and start digging up a varmint or a snake.
This added some anxiety to the adventure because if we lost the Dog there would
be big trouble when the Chief returned. I must say by the end of summer we
didnít really care if the dog ever came back.
In hindsight realize that Dad was not trying
to torture us at the base lake, he really thought that was a great place for us
to be. Nobodyís perfect, after all it was his one and only shot at parenting.
To this day I never fly fish in lakes,
although I know the trout are usually larger and the fishing is easier.
Maybe if I had a dog to take along.