“Does it seem like this is one of the crazier attempts at fishing we’ve had?”
That’s what I tried to yell to my son, Kevin, over the roar of the wind and the crash of the waves rolling in.
Kevin will hit age 55 this fall and we’ve fished together, off and on, for over 50 of those years. It has been part of an enduring bond, which has thrived over the years.
We aren’t often able to fish and hunt together because of distance and living in different states. Still, when we are able to get together, going fishing or hunting together seems as normal and customary now as it did when he was a youth and these outings were on an almost weekly basis.
As is the nature of outings in the outdoors, things can go wrong. A prime example is when we were fishing a small reservoir in eastern North Dakota from a canoe. We had paddled up the stream that flows into the lake and Kevin decided to stand up to see what was above the riverbank. That wasn’t a good idea. The canoe tipped and he took an unexpected dive into the river. I was in the back seat and I got dumped, as well. Fortunately, no harm was done other than to our respective dignities.
Still, that outing didn’t seem as foolish as this day on Lake Audubon, part of the Missouri River impoundment created by the Garrison Dam back in the 1950s.
Kevin flailing into the wind!
The plan for the outing was to catch smallmouth bass with fly rods.
Things didn’t go according to plan. Kevin has a powerboat, but the motor needed repairs and the shop was backed up. We considered taking the canoe—the same canoe we tipped some 40 years ago—but the wind was blowing that morning so we left it at his house.
The wind that was blowing when we left his house in Minot, North Dakota, was nothing compared to what it was when we arrived at the lake. The wind was roaring, and the lake was covered with whitecaps, as the surf rolled in towards shore.
We attempted to cast streamers into the waves but if any fish were there they ignored our offerings. We later found a more sheltered spot to fish but to no avail. We finally ate lunch and headed back to Minot and a more pressing appointment.
The overriding reason for this trip to North Dakota wasn’t fishing. The top priority for the weekend was the wedding of Bronwyn, the elder of our two granddaughters, and the afternoon’s appointment was the wedding rehearsal, part of the preparations for the formal wedding on Saturday afternoon.
The wedding of a grandchild is one of those milestones that remind us of the passage of time. It didn’t seem all that long since her parents were married, but a look back confirms that marriage took place almost 29 years ago, and it was 24 years ago, last Christmas, when her parents placed a blanket-wrapped bundle in my lap and her mother said, “Meet your first grandchild.”
There have been other milestones along the way, such as high school graduation and, two years ago, college graduation. Along the way, she and a high school classmate, Kyler, established a relationship, and on June 10, they exchanged vows, cementing that relationship with vows to love each other always.
It’s a wonderful privilege to see children, and then grandchildren, grow up. It’s not something I take for granted. Both of my grandfathers were long gone by the time I came along. One of my grandmothers lived a long, long life—in Norway. My other grandmother died when I was a junior in college. It has been and continues to be a great joy to be a part of our grandchildren’s lives and to help them celebrate these milestones of life.
And if Kevin and I didn’t catch any fish, it all worked out anyway, as deep-fried walleye was the featured entree at the wedding reception buffet dinner.