Monday, March 29, 2010
Today was a normal day for me, or so I thought. Shirley went off to workout and then to her job at the hospital. I poured a cup of coffee and sat down to check some e-mails, do some job hunting, pay some bills, and by the time Bryan got home from school I'd be ready to go fishing. But along the way it all changed. I signed on to my facebook page and was immediately caught off guard by a post from one of our Cast Across America members. It was a picture of my cousin Tim, who was taken so abruptly from this earth five years ago today. To tell you the truth I didn't remember that it was today, and I can't believe that it has been five years already. What I did remember was how much I miss him, and the many great times that we shared. This is a little something for him today, after all, these are the reasons I write this blog.
Our first fishing trips consisted of a walk down the block from Tim's house to catch crayfish and bullheads out of the muddy pond. We would take a whole beef hot dog (never chicken or pork) and tie two or three hooks with leaders to the main line. Hooking one hook in each end of the hot dog, and the last one in the middle, the dog would balance nicely on the end of the line. We'd lower it into the water gently to the bottom, wait a few minutes, lift it up and there would be two or three crayfish (crawdads for some of you) on the hot dog. Shaking them off into a bucket was the hard part. If we were lucky we would get a big rusty colored one. After we had our collection of assorted sizes and colors we would go back to the house, put them in the middle of the street for some entertaining crayfish wrestling. Once crowning a champion, almost always a rusty one, we would take them back to the pond and release them. Oh, except for the ones that the cars, and the hot summer sun took care of. I know now it wasn't the nicest thing to do, but we were kids, and we didn't know any better. After all, our parents used to drive us around with six kids in the back seat of the car and no seat belts, so I guess we were excused.
As we grew up we would spend our summer vacations together in Minnesota on Pelican Lake. Sitting here now, I can recall the dead perch that was hooked too deeply for us to remove without destroying the fish, and Tim's great idea to catch a seagull with it. I won't go into details on that one, but he was quite successful. We grew older, as all of us do, and the three of us, Tim, his brother Todd, and myself would go out in the boat fishing together. We liked to fish for pike back then because they were always aggressive and abundant, and there were many afternoons spent drifting across Saunders Bay catching them one after another. Standing on top of the wooden boat seats you could get a good view of the weeds below. Casting spoons across the top of those weeds you could see the pike come out of nowhere to grab the spoon. Some were bigger than others but most were just a couple of pounds. They gave us a great fight, a great time, and great memories. There were many laughs shared out there with my cousins in that boat together, some deep conversations, and eventually a few beers too. I wouldn't trade them for anything!
So five years have passed too quickly, life goes on, fishing goes on. I hope to always take a little bit of his good spirit with me on my fishing adventures. He lived life a little bit on the edge, sometimes without caution, but for today and the now. He always had a smile on his face and a laugh to go with it. We could all use a little more of that in our world. Couldn't we? I know that Tim would be excited for Todd and I and the development of Cast Across America. He will always be a part of it.