I was an awkward, skinny little kid back then. My trips to various cottages in Ontario in the early to mid 1990′s now seem to have melted together into one unified experience.
There was a common thread to Stoney Lake, Marten River, Lake Matinenda and various other unremembered places. They all had enough majestic trees, moss-covered rocks, clear skies, hawks, snakes, and mysteriously deep lakes to captivate a young nature-loving boy.
I have a lot of little amusing memories to share. Take for instance, the time I caught a frog and brought it to a deck and threw it into the water, only to see a huge bass, probably a largemouth, swallow it. If only I had set that frog on a hook! There was also that time we were driving somewhere north, following my aunt and uncle’s car, until we noticed a head full of gray hair in the car’s back seat that neither my aunt nor uncle owned.
Or once there was a muskie under a deck, and all the men within shouting distance came with all kinds of absurd tools in hopes that they might somehow get the fish. I’m talking things like shovels, baseball bats, brooms, or poles.
Life changed a lot since then. I haven’t slid a worm on a hook for years and I sold off most of my lures. My uncle and aunt no longer go to cottages. I now have a family of my own and haven’t had a sore back from hopping waves in a boat for many years now. And, yet, I’m still figuring out how these vacation memories have formed my early experiences and how they’ve contributed to who I am today.
I think now as a parent I want to replicate this to some degree for my daughter. I don’t mean that I want to duplicate these experiences exactly, because every kid is different, every family is different, and the conditions have changed since back in the 1990s. What I am saying, though, is I want my daughter to have some fond memories of some type that links her with family, outdoors, and things that are inspiring. And by God’s grace, she will.