by Jim & Sue Kelly

Jim and Sue confess to really enjoy living on the lake--so much so, apparently, that they’ve begun a series of humorous articles featuring "the news from Oneida Lake”.

Patterned after Garrison Keillor’s “News from Lake Wobegone”, Jim and Sue's articles provide a witty and welcome addition to our website.  We’re privileged to have their permission to reprint their stories here, and we’ll keep them coming your way as long as Jim and Sue keep writing them.


It's been pretty quiet up here on the lake this week.  Summer's over and all the large boats have headed south for the winter.  The locks will close for the season soon and the big guys don't want to get trapped in the lakes or canals.

There was a little bit of excitement last Saturday.  Tommy Migliori, over at Tommy's Haul-Em-Out Landing, and Stinky Williams, from the U-Sink-Em-We-Salvage Marina invited Father Migliori to go fishing with them.  As you may know, Father Migliori is the priest of the local Catholic church here in Brewerton.

Father Migliori hasn't done much fishing and was very excited to be invited.  Pete Sokal over at the Bait 'n' Brew on Route 11 said that Father came in on Thursday and spent almost one hundred dollars on fishing tackle.  Given the Father's reputation of frugality, this was very unusual.  So on Saturday morning he showed up at Haul-Em-Out Landing bright and early, which sort of annoyed Tommy and Stinky Williams, as they are not used to "bright and early" on a Saturday morning.  They loaded up the boat with all the gear and tackle and headed out.

Included in the gear were two cases of beer, which disturbed Father Migliori (knowing his propensity for sobriety).  But, since he was their invited guest, he kept quiet.  They anchored just off Walnut Point and proceeded to fish. As the morning progressed Tommy and Stinky were doing okay--fishing-wise and beer-wise.  Tommy had caught three bass and a walleye, Stinky had a good stringer of perch going, and half of one of the cases of beer was already gone.  Father Migliori wasn't doing so good.  He had only caught one small bass all morning and was worrying that he had wasted his money on the fishing tackle he had bought.  Tommy kept offering a beer to Father Migliori in hopes that it would cheer him up, but being a teetotaler, Father politely refused.

Just as they were getting ready to eat lunch, Father Migliori hooked into something big--so big that it began to drag the boat, anchor and all, out toward the middle of the lake.  Stinky was sure that it had to be a monster walleye.  Father Migliori was so excited his hands were shaking and he had a hard time holding onto the fishing rod.  "Hold on tight, Father, you don't want to lose this one!" Tommy said, as he tried to start the boat's engine and pull in the anchor at the same time.  Tommy almost dropped his beer.

After about 30 minutes of struggle with the fish, Father Migliori had cranked it in close enough so that they could see what it was.  It was a huge carp.  "Cut the line. We don't want that thing in the boat!" shouted Tommy and Stinky. "No!" said Father Migliori, "I'm going to have this fish mounted and put it in the Parish Hall. It's the first big fish I've ever caught".  The battle to land the fish went on for another 15 minutes, but that was nothing compared to what happened once they got the fish in the boat.  It must have weighed 30 pounds and was about 4 feet long.  Once it hit the floor of the boat it began to flip and flop around furiously.  Fishing poles, tackle boxes, and beer cans were flying everywhere.  Father jumped on the fish to hold it down and keep it from getting back into the water, while Stinky hit it in the head with a canoe paddle trying to knock it out or kill it.  Finally, when it was all said and done, Tommy's favorite spinning reel had gone overboard, Father Migliori's new tackle box had gone overboard, all the beer had gone overboard, but Father had his fish.  Seeing as how all the beer was gone, Tommy and Stinky decided to end that fishing trip right there.  Father Migliori was a little upset.  He wanted to catch another big carp so as to have matching fish mounts at either end of the Parsih Hall, but Tommy and Stinky would have none of that.

All week long the talk of the town was about Father's fishing trip and the big carp that was now hanging in the Parish Hall of the Catholic church.  In his sermon on Sunday morning, Father Migliori said that he had always preached that "If you give a man a fish he will eat for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, he will eat for the rest of his life", but now he was going to have to change that to "If you give a man a fish he will eat for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, he will just sit in a boat and drink beer all day".

That's the news from Oneida Lake, where all the men like to drink beer while fishing, all the women go to church on Sunday, and all the children do okay in math.    

Copyright © 2000, J. W. Kelly.  All rights reserved.