Next weekend is all about fishing; more importantly, Moms
My poor mom. Not only does Barb Durham have to deal with Mother's Day falling on the same weekend as the Minnesota Fishing Opener, but her birthday is on May 10th, sometimes overlapping the opener and other years landing right on Mother's Day.
Just imagine the things my father and I could have done, given her birthday has previously shared the fishing opener. Such as wrapping up a box of nightcrawlers and after her face contorts in disgust say, "Well if you don't want them, we'll take 'em!"
However, my mother has always understood. Even on those years when her birthday and opening day collided, she'd still tell my dad and I to go out on the lake. And although we enjoyed the solitude and an occasional bend in the rod, we still felt a bit guilty.
My mom tends to think outside of herself and earns joy by making a positive impact on the lives of others, ultimately contributing to their happiness. Maybe that's one reason she's been a nurse for so many years and a childcare provider before that. I know she always had, and still has, a positive influence on me.
When it comes to fishing, my mom's not a novice. While growing up at Whispering Pines Resort on West Crooked Lake just north of Nevis, she learned a trick or two about fooling big bluegill, slab crappie and the occasional toothy pike. Even after her family sold the resort, we annually vacationed in the cabins or pitched a tent in the wooded campgrounds.
That's right, as true Minnesotans, we took a resort vacation a mere five miles from our house. And it was heaven every time.
One year, when I was only nine or ten, we made our yearly trek to the resort and during the weekly resort fish fry heard two old-timers talking about a big walleye they caught the night before. Pert-near 9-pounds, in Minnesotan lingo.
The two elderly gents said the fish fought just like a log. Simply dead weight. Not only was I excited to catch an even larger fish, I was determined.
The next morning my mom and I set out to land one of those whoppers; just she and I in a 14-foot boat; no motor, only a pair of oars to guide our exploits. After heaving a spoon for an hour, the fish hit. Though subtle at first, my rod soon bent over the weight of something large.
Following 45-minutes of battle and tears from a ten-year-old who feared the pike or walleye might want to eat him if it breached the surface and a caring mother who wouldn't let her son cut the line, but instead fought the fish while I sobbed in the bottom of the boat, the creature that fought like a log finally emerged. And it was, indeed, a log.
Unfortunately the wind had blown us to the opposite side of West Crooked Lake and my loving mother manually rowed us, against the swelling waves and gusty wind, back to camp, a trip that took over an hour to complete.
Yet once reaching the dock, she still encouraged me to have my picture taken with the 8-foot log she finally landed.
Today, I reflect upon and appreciate the little things she did to ensure my happiness.