Something Smells Fishy!

My second FJ anecdote is a personal one.

When I was a ten year-old, each late spring huge shoals of salmon trout and trevally entered through the Hopkins river mouth.  As kids, we used sherry corks as floats and we’d line the Hopkins Bridge and catch as many as we wanted.

One hot day with a hessian bag full of fish and long cane rod over my shoulder, I was setting out to walk back home. We lived near the top of a steep hill in Verdon Street and I had just passed Proudfoots boatsheds, when a big dark-blue Buick pulled up beside me.   The car contained five dignitaries in suits, with Sir Fletcher himself at the wheel. Down went the driver’s side window. “Yuh-yuh-yuh young Jamie,” greeted FJ, “yuh-yuh-yuh you been fishing, eh?”   I answered, “Yes, Mister Jones,” and proudly displayed my catch. “Hmmm, yuh-yuh-you got a luh-luh-luh-long steep walk ahead...” he said.   Despite me responding this wasn’t a problem, he insisted I accept a ride and he got out and tossed my bag of fish into the spacious boot, put my cane rod in through a side-window, and then he instructed the three bemused suits occupying the Buick’s back seat to “Muh-muh-muh-move over and let this lad in.”  

They did move right over for the urchin in reeking fishing clobber .  I’d been told by a local fisherman that it was bad luck to wash your fishing clothes and I hadn’t let my gear inside a washing machine for a month!   My poor mum was weeding the front garden and looked like she was going very close to dying of embarrassment when Sir Fletcher pulled up in the Buick and deposited me home! 

“But that,” I was pleased to tell my sceptical Port Fairy writer mate, “is what Fletcher Jones was really like.”

Jim Ewing 

Note: Jim Ewing's first anecdote about FJ is 'The Fighter' - it can be found on this website under FJ The Man.  

The smelly fishing urchin's mum, Lettie Ewing and father Archie Ewing.  Archie was the Cutting Room Manager and a Board member of FJs.  Photo: Jones Family Collection
Proudfoots on the Hopkins's River.  Photo:unknown

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