Happy Fourth of July

First fish?

First fish?

When I was a child, the 4th meant an outdoor fish fry at my grandparent’s and a contest for the biggest fish caught in the backyard pond.  I won once with an ugly bullhead.

I went on to bigger and better fish stories.  One, How Not to Catch a Muskie.  Short version:  I caught one, but was by myself without a camera. (My husband agreed to watch the baby so I could get out early.)  It’s a good thing, however, that no one in the far off boats had a video camera.  It might have shown up on America’s Funniest. I had it in and out of the boat a few times while I looked up the regulations, tried to measure it, put it back.  A bit excited, I started the motor to roar back to the cabin before I remembered to pull up the anchor.

That was a while ago.  Later on I found fishing a bit frustrating.  I’d be baiting hooks for one child or untangling knots, while the youngest, (Intrepid, remember her), would be tossing toys, and then the worms, over the side of the boat to watch them disappear.

And then, oh, joy, in Minnesota, my husband got a fish finder.   After he’d get tired of criss-crossing the lakes and complaining about the lack of fish biting, I’d suggest a spot to stop and drift across.

“No, hon, please don’t even use the trolling motor.”

It kinda bugged him when I would then pull in a northern or two.  {Not complaining. Really.  He’s a keeper!}

Lewis and Clark but not in the Rockies

That picture at the top is my dad and grandpa, and my grandma’s shadow.  I come from a long line of fishermen.  Some of my earliest memories are of camping in an already ancient army umbrella tent, and having to pee in the minnow bucket when our family of 5 was way out on a big lake in a rowboat with a tiny Johnson outboard.  Those were my mom’s years of untangling kids’ fishline.

I’ll have to look for a picture of the tent.  It’s one my great-grandmother used when she went to Traverse City to escape the pollen down here.  I remember the smell of the old canvas.  One of my first memories is of lying on the floor of that tent during a dark and stormy night watching my mom hold the center pole upright in the wind, thunder and lightning.  I asked her later where Dad was.  Out watching the storm, she said.

Misty morning in Glacier National Park

Misty morning in Glacier National Park

He knew things.  Like, “Put your back to the wind.  The storm will come from the left.”

I mentioned the Nimrod in an earlier post.  It occurs to me that many readers might be clueless, so here is a photo when it was 8 yrs old.  Out west.  You pull out the sides, prop them up, and pull out poles and snap the tent to the sides, and Voila!  The boys got one side, my folks, the other.  I got the convertible bench seat/dining table/bed that my carpenter father built in.

nimrod at dinosaur

Hmm. The Utah side of the park is out of the Thrill of the Chase search, but that leaves the Colorado side. . . .

That was it’s second trip out west.  There was one big loop out east, swinging through Detroit, Canada, Maine, Niagara Falls, and back to a great beach on the Canadian shores of Lake Huron.  Still a great site.  About the only place my husband will camp.  (Cabins are okay, but someone has to do housework…..People pitch in when you camp.)

Oops.  I mentioned a couple of my favorite places.  At least I didn’t put too fine a point on it.  That’s one reason I never wanted to be travel writer—didn’t want to attract a crowd and spoil the peace and quiet of special places.

Columbine

Columbine

5 thoughts on “Happy Fourth of July

      • Thanks! It was a great trip. Many of the stops were just so. I also felt a need to travel some of the same roads and get a feel for what I was looking at on map, where I had yet to see. This country is huge and beautiful, and I’m happy to call the West home.

      • Hi yes:) just went out again! I left a treasure this time! I am writing more about that n my fb page..up a cold creek without a paddle. I am going to research more, work some and go back out soon.

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