When I was a little boy many years ago, there was a very special place. I called it Grandpa's Lake. Way up in Northern Minnesota, this long narrow deep special lake was named after a president; Roosevelt Lake.
Every summer, usually the end of June, grandpa & grandma arrived in their brown Chevy, packed us all up, and took us to his lake. There, by my grandfather's skilled hand, I learned to fish. Grandpa loved trolling up and down the shores of the lake. With me on one side, and my brother on the other side of the old wooden classic boat, we enjoyed the thrill of our then young lives; the catch!
My grandfather's fishing mentorship taught me much about life. The preparation of putting all things in order before embarking upon a fishing expedition was excruciating at times. All I wanted to do was fish! The patience required in fishing constantly taught endurance. Self-control came into play upon setting the hook on a large pike or walleye. The excitement and heart-pounding was at times overwhelming. And, dealing with disappointment, for there is much of this in life, proved a valuable lesson too. Bringing a 30 inch walleye right up to within arm's reach in the water, only to have it flip off the hook and escape produced angst.
Eight years ago, after living in South Africa for more than twenty years, I moved back to that lake. My mother was in failing health, and it was a good time to be close. Often, I took my little fishing boat out on the lake once again enjoying the bounty of nature. Still enjoying the lake, this time, somehow, it had lost some of its magic. Something was gone, and I knew exactly what was missing.
You see, what made "Grandpa's Lake" grandpa's lake, was grandpa. The magic of the lake was in the magic of the person and my relationship with that person. Memories indeed are sweet, but they also possess some bitterness too. The special people who made that lake special, just about every one of them, are now gone. The lake is still there, but it does not call out to me as much any longer.
So, I'm looking for new lakes these days; lakes that will once again speak. Lakes which are located close to my sons and their families. It's within these lakes I hope to create a new grandpa's Lake. To create a new identity for a very small audience of very little people.
Perhaps, if enough time is spent in my small fishing boat, on a small lake, that lake might gain a special name too. For special little people now spend time with me in my boat these days. A boat, these little people call, Papa's Boat.
Just My Thoughts,