Monday, October 25, 2010

From A Blue Chevy Pickup To A Four-Wheeler

Our weekend began with a trip to Jefferson City for Sierra's ninth birthday. The weather continued to impress with temps that were almost too warm as they settled into the eighties. We picked up some homemade apple butter from some kind Amish folks displaying their wares beside of their black buggy. These folks remained kind as they scattered during my attempts to photograph their buggy....I'm guessing maybe the Amish are among the folks who believe that photography steals a portion of your soul. If that proves to be true, I'm going to have a lot of apologizing to do in the Hereafter.

We would arrive at Keith's parent's home just as his father, Ken and Keith's niece and nephew, Sierra and Tanner were preparing for a fishing excursion. Well, Ken was preparing; the kids were reveling in found empty cardboard boxes....these two have an abundance of toys, but sometimes a cardboard box is rife with possibilities at that age. We packed up supplies and fishing paraphernalia and took a couple of four-wheelers out to the lake on Ken's property. Once there at this truly idyllic setting, we cast a few lines. Well, Keith, Ken and Tanner did. I'd pretty much forgotten how to fish but I got a refresher course and cast a few out to no avail. Keith caught at least six fish and threw each one back immediately after. Tanner caught a few as well. Sierra was more interested in playing cards or playacting in the old rowboat. As I snapped photos, I realized once again that time with the kids had me reflecting on the cherished scenes of my childhood. My father's ailing health also contributed to the clarity of those memories. The few times I did stand at the edge of the lake, slowly reeling in the fishing line; I became acutely aware of one of the joys of fishing. Time seems to slow down a bit.....I noticed the light breeze, the warmth of the sun's rays, the autumn leaves floating to the ground. I thought of Dad and how much he loved to fish and I'm sure the solitude was part of the allure....to truly feel one with Nature.

My dad had an old sky-blue Chevy pickup. Before this was officially declared a safety risk, he'd allow us kids to pile up in the truck bed and then he would pack a cooler and the Hibachi grill and take us on an adventure: a bumpy, windy and dust-covered trip through the back roads. We'd laugh and yell with every big bump. We'd hold on tight for sharp turns, as if were on a twisty roller-coaster. In the early days of these trips, we'd spend some time near a sunlit creek and Dad and I would sometimes slap on waders and walk into the water and spend quiet afternoons with our fishing poles. I never really cared if I caught anything....it was just a kick being out there. Eventually, Dad realized the fishing was not the thing for me. It was quite literally the journey: the "truck ride", as we called it. To my Dad's everlasting credit, he just started taking me and my friends on these rides because we loved the actual trip and he started leaving his fishing pole at home. We would stop someplace out in the country and fire up the Hibachi. Dad would grill burgers and hot dogs for us and we'd sit on the tailgate and happily chow down while soaking up whatever setting we would happen to land on. To this day, I am regularly reminded by longtime friends of the joy of those simple experiences....the "truck rides".

Sierra and Tanner's memories will be filled with days like these. Today, they fish at the lake, they thrill to the four-wheeler rides and they cook over an open flame. We grilled hot dogs and my true favorite, S'mores. That combination of graham crackers and chocolate bars with slow-roasted marshmallows is hard to beat. As we packed up to head back to the house, my Dad dominated my thoughts. On this day, as an adult, I realized Dad quite often sacrificed the opportunity for some fishing and peace of mind in order to entertain me and my friends on another truck ride. Dad, thank you for all the fishing trips you gave up....you selflessly gifted me with some of my favorite memories.

3 comments:

Kristy said...

Ah, the truck rides. Oh for just a day to go back in time and take off in the back of that truck for "parts unknown." It truly was an adventure and one of my fondest memories of childhood. So, a big HOW HOW (4-H reference for readers who didn't join 4-H) to Rex and his sky blue Chevy pickup.

P.S. your s'mores look good but I like mine more charred and smooshier.

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

Looks like a great weekend, Greg!

Lisa Mandina said...

Those s'mores look yummy!

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