Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cow Patty Pond

Titus had Fall Break last Wednesday through Friday so Kendra and I decided to get away and go to Silver Dollar City. It has become our all-time favorite escape, we just love to go there and wander the day away. Of course going "home" means the logistics of seeing family comes into play and we have to do our best to get in our time with Mom and Dad My parents are divorced, have been since I was 21 We had a great time at the city, even though one day is not enough time to get everything in. Our family really needs at least two days. Titus was bummed because he only got to ride the train one time, we usually ride it a minimum of 3 times, which means we do the Mine Ride that many times as they are right next to each other.

I talked to Dad and told him we would be coming down to see him on Saturday afternoon. "Maybe Mr. T and I can go to the pon
d." My Dad, who loves to fish, is thrilled beyond his ability to express that Titus loves to fish with him. Dad doesn't get excited about much, but going fishing with his Grandson is one rare glimpse of him excited. When we got there Titus wasted no time in letting Dad know that he was ready. I had not even turned the van off before, "Poppa! Poppa! Let's get our pole and go fishin'" "I go to Poppa?" Levi was wanting in on the action. "Oh buddy, Poppa doesn't think he can handle both of you." My Dad has never changed a diaper in his life and has no clue what Levi is saying because his hearing is poor. Those two things are reason enough for him to leave Levi home with Graham and Mom. I decided to go along with them so Levi could go which made him very happy.

We drove about six miles to my Dad's friend, Schmidt's farm. My entire life I have never know any of my Dad's friends first name, just their last name which is kind of that just in my family? I don't call any of my friends by their last name. Anyway, this farm was in a very rural and remote area. "Turn here." "On this...path?" "It's their driveway, just turn in." It was a very bumpy, narrow, mile long path that led to their house. I could think of nothing other than how in the world they made it in and out of their house in the rain and snow and ice. I just couldn't get that wrapped around my brain. I noticed a sign that said, "Beware of Dog" and I usually like to heed such warnings. "Rock is a good dog." "You mean the one to beware of?" "That's just to scare people off." Turns out that Rock was a sweet, laid back black lab that belonged on this rural farm. Just pull up here on the grass out of the way.

"Where's the pond?" "We have to follow the trail to the pond." Call me crazy, but do YOU see a trail? I took this picture because I knew there was a blog post in the making. As Dad began to walk I did notice somewhat of a winding, worn, trail-ish path. I would not have found the pond had it not been for my Dad. This was not a horribly long walk, maybe a 1,000 feet or so. I almost forgot that there was a barbed wire fence to traverse before getting to the wooded area. I'm not a rugged Pioneer anything! I climb stairs, not fences. Why did the fence builder not put a gate up? I'm kind of a big guy, not as big as I used to be, but still 6'3" and 2noneofyourbeeswax is big. Dad stepped on one wire, then lifted the wire above it to make an opening. "Climb through." "Why don't they have a gate?" "Just climb through!" Needless to say, the first thing caught on this day was the fence. Snagged top and bottom, "you need to work on your fence climbing Son." "Very, very funny tell your friend he needs a gate."
There is something magical about seeing your Dad walk with your boys to participate in one of his most loved activities. When I became a Dad I hoped that my children would know thier Poppa and love him without reservation. My Dad is a great Poppa and my boys love him to death, Emma is in love with him too and next year this picture will have a bowed up Tom girl running ahead of them all!

The above picture is the cow pasture
just on the other side of the wooded area. You had to walk through this gate [now there's a gate!] to get to the pasture after going through the wooded area. Dad is holding Levi because cow's live in this pasture. And while the cows were not even remotely interested in being around us and were far, far away, the...shall we say...evidence of their presence was ALL around. Huge cow patties I'm talking about cow poop! were all over the place. "Dada...look mud!" "DON'T STEP IN IT LEVI...THAT'S NOT MUD! THAT'S POOP FROM A COW!" This completely undid my phobic son. He refused to walk any longer, why is any one's guess. Maybe he thought the poop would just jump on him or something, I don't know. All I know is he was OUT on walking on the ground that was covered in poop. "Poppa...hold me...dhat poo poo get me!"

The pond was really big. I was in charge of casting for Levi and Titus was hanging out with his Poppa learning from the master. I cast into the water, "We catch a fish da-da?" "I hope so, we have to reel it in." Levi began to call at the top of his voice, "Here Nemo! Here Nemo!" The goal was to cast the lure, which had a bobber attached, into the pond and slowly reel it in. Not too fast, not too slow. That's the part I never get, what is that speed? If you know, you know, if you don't you spend your entire day casting into water and getting nothing but carpal tunnel. By some miracle the first catch of the day was from Levi's pole! "You got a bite, bub! You caught a fish! Let's reel it in." Levi gave me the pole, it was that or throw the thing into the water and run away--fast. I finally reeled in the fish and lifted it out of the water, "Get dat away from me! I don't want dat fish, peas top da da. " This was followed by a blood curdling scream. Levi had finally, painfully made the connection that all of this casting into the pond would result in this slimy, yucky fish attached! He was out. Dad came over quickly excited that Levi had caught his first fish and the first fish of the day. He thought that standing by the fish would some how help him over the fear of touching it. NO such luck. Levi was, as you can see, standing as far away from the thing as possible. "Peas top put dat back in the wahter."

I think I caught three or four fish, which brought the amount of fish ever caught to a whopping 6. Titus hit his lucky streak and began to catch fish. I got a kick out of Titus because he thought every bump, every wiggle or ripple of the pole was a bite. He is really focused when he's i
nto something and he was into catching fish. The picture to the left is Titus first fish. Dad called it a bluegill, but Titus never got the hang of calling it that. "Poppa this bluetail...bluefish...what did you call it?" Bluegill are fun to catch because they resist. Catching fish is fun, it's the moments in between that drive me crazy. Titus had no problem getting the fish off the hook and throwing it back in the water. He eventually caught six before the boredom consumed him. "Let's go, Dad. I'm getting bored." There really wasn't much to do after that other than go home. I figured I didn't want to force him to stay longer than he was ready to preserve the love for this sport.

On the way back through the pasture Titus sang this:

Yippee Ci yeah
Cowpatty! Yuck!
I'm glad my boys have their Poppa and memories of fishing with him. These will last a lifetime and give them something to long for with their children. Only their Poppa, me, will be cooking and not walking through cow laid mine fields to ponds to fish. At least not as far as I can see.