"Fishing for a Date"
by Jody Lebel
Good looking men don't show up on your lawn every day. And to find one poking around at a yard sale? Even more rare. That alone made him interesting, but his dark eyes and nice smile would have made most women look twice. The tackle box with its worn edges and trays of fishing gear had caught his eye. She watched amused as he pushed the hooks around with a cautious finger. Karen would have pegged him more of a reader than a sportsman. He seemed familiar but she couldn't place him.
Karen loved tag sales and thought having her own would be fun but as the late autumn sun baked everyone and everything, and strangers pawed through her possessions demanding price cuts, she vowed to never do it again. At least the garage clutter was gone.
The man picked up the box and strode directly to her. "You have this marked at five dollars?" His voice was deep and pleasant.
"Yes," she replied, steeling herself for the inevitable haggling.
He handed her a five-dollar bill. "I can work with that."
Pleased, Karen thanked him, then pointed to the box. "You like to fish?"
"Oh, no, this is for my nephew. He'll love going through all this – um – stuff." He wrinkled his nose and made a little face. "I don’t even know the names of the things in here," he admitted.
He didn't seem in any hurry to leave even after Karen bagged up his purchase. His attempt to engage her in small talk warmed her heart and she was enjoying herself until he was nudged aside by a woman who wanted to check the plug on a toaster. By the time Karen finished helping her, he was gone. She hadn't even gotten his name. Too bad. It had been a long time since she had been in the company of a nice man.
She closed the sale early and went inside to cool down and put up her feet. When her husband had died last year after a long illness, she hadn't had the heart or the strength to get rid of his things. Now that she was ready, she wished she had just called the Salvation Army.
A sharp knock on her door startled her. When she saw the man who bought the tackle box on her steps she was pleased until she realized he had it tucked under his arm. Her smile faded. Oh, no, now people were returning things? Just great. Reluctant to let a stranger inside her house she invited him to sit on the porch, and a moment later she brought out a pitcher of iced tea.
"I'm Dan Wright," he said, extending his hand. "I'm the new pharmacist in town."
That's where she had seen him.
"And I wanted to ask about this fishing box and the contents."
"My late husband spotted it on top of a trash can on the side of the road and couldn't resist bringing it home. He used to do that a lot." She gestured to her yard sale with a wry smile. "That's how I ended up with all this."
Karen shook her head. "That's not mine." She loved that he had returned the ring. Most people would have kept it.
"The year is on the side there."
She took a better look. "And there are some initials inside, see?"
He held it up to the light and turned it this way and that. He rubbed the band with the edge of his shirt. "It looks like I.S.W." He tipped the ring towards her. "You know with that bit of information I bet we could find the owner."
She considered the possibility. "I suppose we could look at old yearbooks, try to match the initials."
"Yes," he brightened. "Tomorrow, if you're free, would you care to take a drive to the main library over in Brighton? I hear they have all kinds of reference books there."
"All right." His enthusiasm was catching and she found herself intrigued. By the ring and by him.
"This afternoon I was fishing for a way to ask you out, maybe for coffee or something." He hesitated then stammered out quickly, "It's been a while since I've dated. I may be a little rusty."
She passed the pitcher of iced tea and settled back in the wicker chair. The setting sun made the orange and yellow leaves on her trees glow. A late hummingbird visited her feeder."I can work with that," she smiled.