“Red solo cup, I’ll fill you up, let’s have a party, let’s have a party”
You can get the damndest country songs stuck in your head hanging around with white friends, and growing up just outside of Ft. Sill Oklahoma a little black boy doesn't have many choices and the Indians are on the reservation.
Sport and I met when I was 13. Moms moved us back to Oklahoma to be next to Master Sergeant Grampa U.S. Army Retired and the pee wee football coach discovered I’d arrive at the ball hard and fast while Sport would get there fast and hard. I love that fool like people love brothers they don’t have to live with, like someone comfortable even though he is a country fuck.
When he called me that Saturday morning talking about going noodling I knew I had other things to do. Grampa said he was going to kick my ass if I didn’t get the pole barn put up on his land out the other way, but his threats usually came with a smile and I got things done anyhow even if it wasn’t on his time so I let him talk me into it without having to talk about my Momma.
You could always hear Sport coming even before you saw him and that’s even if he wasn’t saddled up to Miss Chatelaine his overly loud F-150 but when he was in her the next county could. Black folks aint the only ones who like loud music, but the difference is in the bass and not the guitar.
Sport got to the little trailer I stay in on Gramps land far enough away for privacy but close enough for dinner right as the sun was rising. Miss Chatelaine loud as ever would have brought gramps out with one of his guns if I were any closer.
“S’up Soul Brother”
we said repeating the greeting that we’d shared a million times before.
Sport’s actual name was Hartwell Carver and his family had been in Oklahoma since they first shot the gun to let the White man carve out sections of it for their very own. We were going to go to one of the many little lakes that dot the landscape that was on one of his uncle’s stakes.
“Soul Brother where’s beer?”
Sport didn't have many words but the ones he spoke had meaning.
“Yeah Sport grab the cooler, but us a case on ice before the stores closed last night. Was gonna take it to the head myself putting up the pole barn but I ‘spect there’s enough to share with yo ass”.
I don’t know how people go hungry in Oklahoma when there is noodling. It’s all about holes and you don’t even need bait, hell you’re the bait. You get yourself down in the muddy water and kind of bob along the banks looking for a hole. In a good 3 out of 5 of those things you can find a throwback creature that was going to be the star of my apology to Grampa the good out the frying pan 45 pound catfish. Just bob along the bank stick your foot in wait for him to bite it with that sandpaper mouth of his and yank his behind on out.
Sport and I filled up Ms. Chatelaine with the cooler and all the gear we’d need in ourselves and headed out before 7 in the morning had really got there stopped by the local McDonalds for 8 mcmuffins apiece as a light snack and headed for the spot. Sport had the ability to take a sandwich in multiples and had downed all 8 by the time we got to turn off the highway and the bare road that led to the lake I still had 3 left I’d leave in Ms. Chatelaine and let Sport try and talk me out of later.
“Sport I can’t take this sad shit anymore let a brother start the day undepressed”
he was feeling cool that day cause he let me without bitching and soon as I reached down into my backpack to pull out some ¾ beat BOOM both of us hit our heads on the roof as Miss Chatelaine bucked.
“The fuck Sport how many times we been down this road for you to be hitting bumps and shit”
“Ayup twernt no bump”
Sport said rubbing the contact on his head like it felt good.
“Well whatever, dude watch that”
he answered with the national gesture of Sportania his middle finger.
I hoped out of Miss Chatelaine to open the gate to the last quarter mile or so to the lake we were fishing in and let Sport drive on up. I wanted to get a little warm up in before we hoped in that cold water so I jogged the last bit in. By the time I got to the bank Sport had already cracked a beer and tossed me one. I chugged it down without taking a breath and we both jumped in the water. No need to torture yourself with tippy toeing in better to take the bull by the horns.
Bobbing in the water is pleasant. The Oklahoma sun is plenty hot and it does shine through the water but the water is so cool we played like hippos regulating our temperature by either stooping down or standing up as the day demanded.
Sport got lucky in his first few holes and pulled out fish that would satisfy both our families before 1 o’clock. Me I couldn’t seem to get a good grip on the one I saw plus when he bit me he rubbed my knuckles so raw I actually yelped. Wasn’t fun hearing Sport tease me about my bitchiness but damn it hurt. We had just got done sitting on a bank about half a mile from Ms. Chatelaine arguing over who was going to have to lug the fish back when I felt it. Felt like a current, but this lake was one of the ones hooked up to the Ogallala aquifer it didn’t have a river to feed it that was above ground, but dang I could feel a pull. Round about that time the pull started to get strong enough for even Sport to notice it and we stared at each other and jumped the fuck out.
It was an amazing sight. The middle of the lake started to whip up like one of Momma’s lemon chiffon toppings accompanied by a sort of hum. Sport and I headed back for the truck forgetting about the catch he’d worked so hard to pull out of them holes and as we were jogging back to the car the lake started to hum some more, like a negro spiritual being sung by a fog horn on crack it hummed.
We got on Miss Chatelaine climbed up on her roof and spied the lake which had moved from lemon pie to crashing half a mile wide whirl pool. The water was angry and heading elsewhere and for half an hour we watched it saying very little beyond “dayum” then it was over. Lake Get Us Some Fish was empty as a whores heart and not near as pretty. All I got out of Sport for the next 10 minutes of staring was