The first time I remember fishing was at the last day of our country school celebration near a lake in the beautiful rural Sandhills of Nebraska. The mothers were doing their thing; loading picnic tables with creative foods they had prepared. There were fresh rolls, pies, cakes, potato salad and fried chicken. The men were having a good time fishing for blue gill, carp and crappie. Some parents were helping the little ones load the bait on fish hooks. Others were rowing boats around the lake to fish.
My younger brother Ted and I were lower elementary age. We wanted to try the water. We found an old row boat in the grass as we walked along looking at everything. It didn’t look like the boat belonged to anyone. We each pulled out a large cottonwood stick from the near tall grass and stepped inside the boat to attempt to make it move into deeper water. We were having a good time pushing that discarded boat around through the still lake water.
A couple teenage boys came along and inquired if they could pull us along through the water. My brother and I thought that a ride into deeper water sounded like a great idea. The big boys grabbed a hold of our boat’s tie rope and away we went, all smiles.
I don’t remember making any noise but we enjoyed our time in that old rotting wooden row boat. Our grandfather noticed us and rowed over saying we could not be out in the deep water. He took the boat’s rope and pulled us straight to shore. We hadn’t even wet our fishing lines yet.
Granddaddy’s action may have stalled our exploring but we had a lovely memory. The boys gave us a fun time on the lake for a while. Our older brother and sister talked about Ted and me “misbehaving” long afterwards. We didn’t see the harm in a boat ride around the lake. The younger brothers were too little to care. If we had it to do over I imagine we would do boating again! A lake boat ride is a great way to spend the last day of school. Others were catching a variety of fish. We wanted a boat ride.
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