Special memories of past Mother’s Days

Published 4:05 am Saturday, May 8, 2010

Here it is only a week from the opener and it’s Mother’s Day. It’s been a while since the fishing opener and Mother’s Day hasn’t fallen on the same weekend.

A few years ago I wrote about how my mother was a big influence on my love of fishing and appreciation of the outdoors. I’d like to share a few of those memories with you again.

I will always remember that as a kid growing up Mother’s Day was always a special day at our house. We never had a lot of extra money to go out and eat, but my dad always made sure we did something special for my mother on that day. Dad wanted to make sure that mom didn’t do any cooking on “her” special day. There were a few times that we would go to the Dairy Bar Drive-in, which was located at about the same place as McDonald’s is now. Mom would always order her favorite — a Pork Tenderloin Basket. This was great because not only was mom getting a treat, but we all got to benefit from it by eating out and getting “French fries,” which we never got at home and if we were lucky maybe we’d even get one of those soft serve chocolate cones.

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The other place we would visit on special occasions was the Maid Rite Shop. Dad would buy a bag of Maid Rites and we would go to Pioneer or Edgewater Park and have an old fashioned picnic. Dad furnished the sandwiches and mom would put some milk in a thermos and bring a bowl of her famous potato salad along and a picnic wasn’t a picnic without a can of Van Camp’s pork and beans. It probably didn’t seem like a big deal to some but it was our way of celebrating a special occasion. It got to be kind of a family tradition.

I get my love of the outdoors from my parents. Dad had his horses and mom loved to fish and she would always go fishing whenever she could, which I never thought was enough. She was the one who would take me fishing and she always took the time to teach me some of the things that she knew about fishing, appreciating the outdoors and life in general.

As I got older and could go fishing by myself she would greet me with enthusiasm whenever I came home with a stringer of fish, even though she was the one that had to clean most of them. While growing up there are so many questions we want answered and there were times when I would worry about different things and would not be able to sleep so she had this advice: “Pray, talk to God, and think of some fun place you would really like to be and go there. It works for me.” I have found it still works for me, too.

A few years back a guide who I was fishing with on Rainy Lake went to show me a fishing “secret” of his about baiting a hook, I realized that I already knew it because mom had shown it to me many years ago.

One summer when I was at the ripe old age of 15 my mom, my sister, Judy, and I went to Leech Lake to visit some old neighbors, Lyle and Florence Rupp, who had bought a resort near Walker. My dad couldn’t go because he had to work but he told us to go without him.

I had my permit at the time and it was my responsibility to drive part of the way. I must have really thought I was “big stuff” at that time. With the exception of the old Ford “vapor locking” a few times everything went good. The fishing was great and we had enough fishing experiences to talk about for years to come. We trolled for big northern (caught some nice ones, too) and when the lake got too rough we caught walleyes off the dock. I can still see mom standing on the dock fishing while the waves rolled up the dock and had her soaked to the knees. There was no way she was going to quit fishing!

Probably the best memory of that whole trip was when mom hooked onto this huge muskie and fought it for about 10 minutes before the big fish wrapped her line around a dock post and snapped it. There’s not a word in the world to describe the feeling of fighting a fish that large. It didn’t really matter that we didn’t get it in the net. What an experience it was! She would talk about that experience from time to time and I know she cherished the memory of that week for the rest of her years.

For my mother’s birthday one year I gave her a new rod and reel. She couldn’t have been more excited. Now, you’ve seen those warnings on TV shows with the disclaimers that say “don’t try this at home.” Well, there is a lot to be said about that.

I knew how much my mom liked that rod and reel, so for some unknown reason it gave me this “brainstorm” of an idea that my wife, Jean, would just love to get a rod and reel for “Mother’s Day.” I do believe it took about 10 years before she finally quit reminding me about that one.

Jean likes to fish, but to say she is an avid fisherperson would be going a little too far. She would usually go fishing in the boat when the kids were small but she wasn’t a die-hard. As the kids grew older she was a little more selective with her fishing time. If the deer flies were bad or the weather was cold she would just as soon stay in the camper and rest or try to get some reception on our little Sears black and white TV.

Getting back to the Mom’s Day gift — I thought I had what was the perfect gift. Boy, would she be surprised — Boy, was I surprised!

What was I thinking? Moms like cute little things from their darling little kids, not a fishing pole that the live-in amateur fishing guide who she married deemed a more than suitable gift. Like I said, I still hear about that one from time to time.

We can’t relive the past but it sure feels good to visit it once in a while. Looking back on all those memories — one “special” day a year really wasn’t enough.

MUSKY TALK — The May meeting of Crossroads Chapter 54 of Muskies Inc. will be at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 12 at the Eagles Club in Owatonna.

Our speaker will be Gary Leaf, of Sportsman For Change, with a legislative update on dedicated funding, etc. We will have our annual lure exchange — buy, sell or trade. This is in time before the 2010 musky season opener, June 5. Also, an update of the DNR every three-year test netting survey of muskies in French Lake will be presented. Also, a final report of our spring stocking.

Our meetings are the second Wednesday of each month and feature informative speakers such as, lure makers, guides and others, updates, door prizes and raffle. Check our Web site at “http://www.michapter54.com.”

Anyone interested in musky fishing is always welcome. Bring a friend and help improve musky fishing in southern Minnesota.

Until next time “play safe, enjoy the outdoors and let‘s go fishin’.”

Remember our brothers and sisters that are proudly serving our country so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have.