Most of us just want to get back to that place, where life was simple and we couldn’t wait for Grandma’s fried trout for dinner. When I saw this picture of my Grandma Betty, I could hear the river rushing, the sound of four-wheelers in the distance, and my beautiful grandma giggling gleefully with every catch she reeled in. It takes me back to the joy I found each morning, waiting for my grandma to open her trailer curtain, signaling the ‘open sign’ of grandma’s kitchen. My brother and I would pounce into their trailer, eager to have our morning cup of coffee (that was mostly sugar water) served in the tiny mugs Grandma would always have for us. Her hair would be in curlers and she would always say she was ‘getting ready to put her face on’. Grandpa Newell would have his white shirt on, getting ready to fill some blue jugs with water or ‘check the batteries’ on something. Those moments are magical in my mind- a kid outdoors, feeling loved, filthy, eating fried trout, and drinking coffee.
Maybe somedays I feel like if I can only put my feet in the water, and close my eyes, I’m back there; child-like, weightless, and easily enamored by the world going on around me. But I’m curious, because I wasn’t in love with fishing as a child; I would actually just stand on the rocks, singing my heart out in preparation for being famous someday, or float down the river in a raft my Grandpa would haul upstream, instead of fishing. I guess somehow that river-time, and watching my grandma enjoy her time fishing, has been etched into my soul. You will never know how time in the woods will effect those you take with you, possibly until they are much older and turn into fish-crazy people. I’m honored to have those experiences with my Grandparents and other family members.
I believe the legacy of enjoying the outdoors is carried by those who treasure their time in the wild, and are willing to give their time to lead others there. Thank you Grandma Betty [and Grandpa Newell, who has since gone to heaven], for your legacy and your fish-crazy attitude that my brother and I seem to have picked up along the way! And to my parents for hauling us to the ocean, floating rivers on coolers, and allowing us to get filthy outside!
With this new year in progress, I have some rather large things on my plate, but I’m overjoyed in what it brings: more opportunities to haul my kids to those sacred places outdoors, toting around foster kids through The Mayfly Project, and making some bigger leaps of faith and personal growth. But the most important goal of the year is to get down to Northern California to fish with my Grandma Betty, who has almost completely lost her eye sight, but said to me on the phone the other day,
“I just can’t seem to give up fishing, and I’ve tried,” and, “You’ll have to wheel me to a dock or something so I can cast a line out!” Followed by a deep laugh. I love her so much.
I’ve gained something from every adult figure in my life that has taken the time to teach me, love me, and remind me that things always have a way of working out. If you don’t have a Grandma Betty, please be a Grandma Betty to the next generation. Teaching kids how to enjoy the outdoors, and that catching fish is pretty much the most fun you could ever have, is so important.
Happy Birthday, Grandma Betty! We all love you!!! Tight lines, always!!