GAYS MILLS - It seems as though we’ve finally had our quintessential, spring-is-really-here weekend. Something about the opening weekend of fishing can really do that to a Wisconsinite though. If you stand really still in your yard, you might be able to even hear the mushrooms popping at a nearby dying elm.
We spent our time at ‘the farm,’ which belonged to Chasca’s late father and now us. Tucked deep up in the valley, you could just feel spring bursting forth beneath your feet.
Chasca awoke early to head down and do some fencing before the boys and I were set to arrive around noon with lunch. Thatcher has reached the age though were his dad can’t go anywhere without him. He especially cannot go anywhere without him when there is the promise of work to be done and a ride in the truck. The curly-haired scamp quickly hopped out of bed when he saw his dad was pulling on his Carharts and heading for his boots.
“Wait daddy! Wait for me! I’m coming too!” he chirped desperately as he broke out into a run toward where he keeps his rubber boots. He hastily slid them on (on the wrong feet, of course) over his Paw Patrol jammies- and started reaching for his camouflage jacket.
“I have to go big boy, but don't worry you’ll come down later to help,” his father cooed back. This of course was unacceptable in the way many things are when you’re almost three, causing poor Thatcher to break into sobs.
The weeping lad came back to the bedroom and crawled in with his brother and me. He snuggled up and patted my arm lovingly, whimpering about his daddy leaving. I assured him that we would be getting up and preparing to leave soon ourselves and he seemed somewhat soothed.
Fast-forward a few hours and the little worker bee was hot out of the gate and up the hill to his beloved dad at the fence line. While brother peacefully snoozed in the shade, Thatcher paraded around the farm chasing frogs, chirping at his Grandpa Markie, Uncle Hoot, Aunt Theresa and the rest of the gang and generally having a grand ole time. Later that day, the old saying about sleeping good after a lot of fresh air came true as he was down and out by 7 p.m. complete with peaceful snores.
The next day it was decided would be a fishing day. Thatcher has been practicing casting on his little Spiderman pole quite religiously since he got it for Easter last month. He started in the yard, fishing for our cat, ‘Lunch.’ Then, he successfully wacked his dad in the back of the head from several yards away, with the tiny practice weight. He was ready.
We dug up some worms and went down to the super-secret-trout fishing-honey hole to try our luck. I should point out though, I’m being generous to myself using the word we, as I have not gotten my fishing license yet. So, I was obligated to just watch and make the baby laugh. It only took a couple casts for Thatcher to manage getting the line off of the bank and into the sweet spot. His dad set him up with a stick to rest his pole on and he was set.
Much to my surprise, Thatcher had perfect patience, as he waited for his pole to react. He only meandered away from it slightly to fetch more worms for his dad and insist on dumping out all of the split shots.
I happened to look up just in time to see his small pole shaking like a leaf and nearly being ripped into the murky waters.
“THATCHER, Thatcher, Thatcher!” I shrieked as only a frantic mother can. The confused toddler looked up and excitedly jumped around at my yowling, while his dad made a flying leap for his pole. He managed to grab it just in time and handed it to Thatcher, who held it close to his chest with the tip up high as though he was Babe Winkleman himself-reeling all the while.
Eager to ensure his boy didn't lose his very first trout, Chasca slid down the bank in a frenzy. I kind of felt frozen watching this moment ensue, but luckily, all of Thatcher’s practice paid off and he reeled that fish in like it was his job. Once on the bank his dad grabbed it up and carried it, nearly dropping it twice. The expression on Thatcher’s face was certainly priceless, and almost as good as when he caught his first bluegill.
Deemed a keeper, it went into the bucket, just as the sky opened up and a crack of thunder let out, delivering the storm that had been promised for the day. Once home, Thatcher hopped up on the picnic table donning his work gloves. With careful assistance from his dad’s guiding hands, he helped clean his first trout. While his little brother chirped and cooed like a proud baby.I have a feeling that his little red fishing pole will certainly get a lot of use and abuse this spring as summer, which is good for all of us. Because who doesn't wish they had yet another excuse to get out and ‘go fishing.’