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Best Day On The Water: First Kick

Happy couple illustration

Illustration: Gary Hovland

I was a college junior, my girlfriend, Linda, a sophomore, and we went fishing a lot. A fishing buddy once warned me to marry her or "someone else would and I'd be sorry for the rest of my life." We married in 1963.

Linda liked the water, but unless the fish were hitting, she’d read a book or beachcomb. One summer day in 1965, we were going to Decros Point — a deep, natural fish pass between the Gulf of Mexico and Matagorda Bay — for some surf fishing. The wind kicked up a little chop. Our boat had no seats, so while underway Linda would hang on to a rail on the center-console. Our 23-foot skiff could take some rough water, but spray blew over us every time we hit some chop.

It was afternoon and the sun was at our backs. Linda was beside me, her knees bent to absorb the shock, and she was wet from the warm salt spray. Her wet hair was pulled back in a ponytail. She looked beautiful. She was smiling, and her eyes were laughing. She turned to me, trying to tell me something over the sound of the engine. I leaned my head down close as she shouted, "The baby moved! I felt it! The baby moved!"

I never fished that afternoon. We walked on the beach talking about becoming parents. The tide changed and the ride back was smooth. I'm an old man now and my family has spent many days out on that Texas bay, but that day is still as fresh in my mind as if it happened yesterday.


Will Armstrong

Contributor, BoatUS Magazine

Will Armstrong is a BoatUS Member.