25th Annual Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby

The best portion of a good man’s life: his little, nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love.  ~William Wordsworth

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Grant Olczak getting ready to catch the big fish at the 25th Annual Planinsek Fishing Derby. 5/10/14

The 25th Annual Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby was a one-hundred percent success!  Did it rain?  Sure!  But that didn’t stop our little fishermen and the families from getting together and enjoying themselves.

It was actually a perfect cool morning to start the Fishing Derby.  The rain held off for a little while and came and went throughout the day, eventually letting up in the evening.

Kyle had a spectacular time!  On the contrary to years past, this time he was the fishing king.  Not in respect to winning the biggest trout, for that honor was ultimately awarded to Chuck Webb for his eighteen and half inch trout.  Nicely done!

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Dad, Kyle, Olivia are prepped & ready to start the Fishing Derby! 5/10/14

Nope, Kyle ruled in a different way, in terms of fish biting and reeling them in.  I know he was up to at least nine fish.  Of course we could only keep three and released the rest, but that didn’t matter to Kyle, he was having a blast!

Dad was helping Kyle, and Casey was right beside us helping Grant and Olivia.  Occasionally, dad was assisting with baiting Grant’s line, pulling in fish for Olivia or untangling line for Amelia and her friend.  Somehow, I became the net girl.  Dad would yell, “Heather, get the net!” or “Heather, where’s the net?” or “Heather, help them out with their fish”.  Even Dave, a.k.a. Boo would inquire about the usage of our net.  I felt like a dog running back and forth trying to catch fish.  It really was an entertaining time.  I loved seeing the kids having so much fun and dad enjoying the same.

Kyle, Grant and Olivia each caught a Palomino, which results in a small prize.  I believe Olivia caught two.  Kyle’s prize of choice, Bait Lure, which fell out of his pocket later on in the day and was never found again.  Although this minor instance didn’t stop Kyle from telling his tales of the fish reeled in.

During the day, while shooting the breeze with other Fishing Derby enthusiasts, it was brought to my attention that Tricia Sutton Elliott enjoys reading my blog posts.

Thanks Tricia!  I appreciate your feedback and interest in reliving my silly and sometimes unique stories told from my point-of-view.  I know on occasion I can get pretty animated with my descriptions and details, so I hope I do you proud with this one.

I did promise Tricia a stellar blog post.  Well, there really wasn’t much in terms of excitement throughout the day, but it doesn’t mean it was boring.

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Grant & Casey unhooking his catch! Fishing Derby 5/10/14

It’s true, the day consisted of the usual, fishing, food, drinks, fishing and more food, food, food.  This year, Jimmy Singer added to our entertainment and nostalgia with a video slide show from Fishing Derby’s past.  He made a couple beautiful videos, complete with music and pictures he scanned and organized into an amusing digital flashback.  It was nice to be under the pavilion with everyone, pointing out familiar faces that have grown up over the years and those who are no longer with us.  Truly a sweet tribute.  Nicely done Jimmy!

Now to a silly story.  Nothing is ever simple when you get Kyle and me together.  But then again, that’s the fun of hanging out with my little man.

I let Kyle run around and play with the kids well into the night.  The campfire was blazing and everyone was enjoying small talk and silliness, so naturally I joined in.  Even though I looked down to see it was after eight at night, I never said a word, figuring I’d wait for Kyle to determine our time of departure, even though my bed was calling my name.

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Getting ready to start the 25th Annual Planinsek Fishing Derby. 5/10/14

Eventually, I by nine-thirty or so, Kyle was ready for bed.  Keep in mind we got there at 7:30 am.  Making our way through the mud and slop created by the falling rain throughout the day, we headed for my car, which was parked on the far side of the pavilion.  While heading int that direction, we passed the pond to only spark our memory.  THE FISH!

Kyle’s catches from the day were still chained waiting in the water.  Yikes!  If I remembered earlier, I would have gutted the fish and cleaned them in advance.

Now we needed to literally find the fish.  Picture the two of us, exhausted, in the pitch black, up by the pond, using my iPhone light to guide us along the path, to find the chain leading into the water holding two trout and a Palomino.

It took a little back and forth, and cat-like vision on my part, but we found our slimy friends from the depths of the pond and headed to car, to only realize a minor problem.  I didn’t bring a bucket or a bag to transport the fish!  O crap!  Even in the darkness I could see Kyle giving me an ornery grin.

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Beth Planinsek upfront, behind Cindy & Dave Planinsek & Barb Planinsek to the left. Fishing Derby 5/10/14

He suggested I place the fish on the car floor.  My answer came to me in less then a fraction of a second.  No!  Actually, heck NO!  What to do?  I knew leaving the fish with someone else was not an option and neither one of us felt like heading back to the late night party to ask around for a solution, so I came up with my own.  Hang the fish outside the car.

I know, sounds funny, and believe you me, it was!  Originally I wanted Kyle to hold onto the chain that held the fish, but he wouldn’t, so I did.  I simply wound down the window, hung the fish out, held tightly onto the chain (praying I wouldn’t accidentally drop them while driving) and headed to my parents house, about five minutes away.

Everyone once in a while a fish would kick and scare me.  It was dark out, so I’m sure the passing cars didn’t see my new decor hanging out the window, but if they did they probably brushed it off as late night eyes playing tricks on them.

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Dave Planinsek reviewing the rules before the bugle blows to being the Fishing Derby 5/10/14

Kyle and I were cracking up!  While cruising along it suddenly dawned on me, we were heading into Youngstown (Pennsylvania, no we didn’t drive into Ohio) on a Saturday night and it might be busy with restaurant traffic.  Immediately, Kyle and I noticed the light turned yellow and then red, stopping us in our tracks.  Yes, being first in line at the four way intersection, under the street lamps, I sat in my car holding onto a chain with three dead fish.  That was too much for us, we were dying, laughing at my solution.

Then to add to the funniness, Kyle said in the most sarcastic dry tone, “Well, this isn’t awkward.”  Hilarious!

Eventually we made it to mom and dad’s and the next morning Kyle and I cleaned the fish for dinner and all worked out.

On a side note, I want to give big kudos to Kyle for a number of reasons.  First he really was on his best behavior!  I found out that sometime during the day, Kyle – twelve years old assisted Grant – six years old and Olivia – nine years old, (I think) with untangling their fishing lines, baiting their hooks and casting, (fishing continues till 5:00 pm) when no one was around.  Then, later on in the evening, Mrs. Tricia Sutton Elliott herself approached Kyle and me and thanked Kyle for playing with her son Jacob, who is nine, and for being a friend to him.  Tricia told me they played very well together.  Way to go buddy!

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Pan of the 25th Annual Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby. 5/10/14

On another side note, before the prizes were raffled off of the kids table, I was joking with Kyle how much I like the fishing vest displayed for some lucky winner.  Truly I liked it, but joking because I didn’t expect him to give up a prize for himself to get me one.  Low and behold he walked up to me with a HUGE smile on his face to present me with the fishing vest.  I was totally elated!  However, I told him he didn’t have to, and to put it back and get something he wanted.  He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Na it’s ok.”  Thanks Kyle!  You are too sweet!  I appreciate you thinking of me.

While writing this post I heard Kyle relive his catches from the previous day with my mom, who didn’t make it up until after the start of the fishing.  He said, “It was good teamwork on both parts… the fish jumping up in the air and catching my line and me reeling them in.”  Too much!  Dad was getting a kick out of Kyle’s fishing experience.

I’m glad it was such a fun and relaxing day for everyone.  Again a special thanks to Cindy and Dave Planinsek for really being the heart and soul behind the Fishing Derby and continuing the tradition!

See everyone next year!

Below is a video of Ken Planinsek going through the family tree and giving a brief history of the Planinsek Pavilion and the Fishing Derby.  Enjoy!

http://youtu.be/3kQbCeoSfSc

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

The Fishing Derby Story

You never realize how much of your background is sewn into the lining of your clothes.  ~Tom Wolfe

Stacey-Olczak-1995-Winner Aunt Heather Piper

My cousin Stacey Olczak. She won the 1995 Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby!

Another Mother’s Day is upon us and that means the Annual Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby!  The 25th Annual Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby to be exact.

Participating in this event year-over-over, I take it for granted.  But it does take a lot of work and effort to organize this tradition.

About this time last year, I was curious with respect to the origins of this family fun event.  “How did it start?” and “Who started it?”

Since the Fishing Derby is now a quarter of a century old, and I’m a little bit older than that, it doesn’t take a mathematician to realize I was indeed around for the event’s inception.  However, that was twenty-five years ago when I was entering my teenage years and doing my own thing.  Kyle’s age now.

So what DO I know?  I know my cousin Casey Olczak (Kyle’s godfather) won the very first Fishing Derby and my brother, (Kyle’s dad) attended the weekend fun when he was younger.  Aside from that, I don’t know much about the origin of the Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby or who’s idea sparked a tradition that is going strong today, and by the grace of God will continue to do so.

For these details, I reached out to my good friend, Nina Enfinger, former Planinsek, a pretty solid source to satisfy my curiosity!

On a side note, with this blog I not only record life events and lessons learned for Kyle to read at a later date, but I also try to anticipate future questions and clarify details, so Kyle has a strong understanding of his past and his true family and friends.  It occurred to me, he might want to know about the Fishing Derby, like myself.

From what I’ve been told, Dave Planinsek started this Mother’s Day tradition after attending a similar event.  He saw how much fun those kids had and how everyone enjoyed themselves.  Take that idea along with a place to have the Fishing Derby, the Planinsek Pavilion, then a seemingly simply tradition was created.  The Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby, named after his dad.

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Dave Planinsek going over the rules before blowing the bugle to start the fishing Derby. 2012

The Fishing Derby always starts on the Friday night before Mother’s Day, pitching the tents, a big bonfire, plenty of food, and a bunch of kids running around playing tag, dodge ball or whatever else they dream up.  It’s five dollars to purchase a ticket to the Fishing Derby and everyone brings a covered dish.  There’s always homemade popcorn made on the fire and the raffling of donated items begins.  The adults eat and drink and shoot the breeze until late into the night before retiring to their tents or for the less die hard, to their nice warm beds to only start again the next morning.

Saturday starts fresh at around 6:00 am or so, with the smell of breakfast cooking over the fire, typically scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes and french toast.   Someone always brings fresh doughnuts and fruit, plus the assortment of homemade covered dishes from the night before and new ones appearing throughout the day.

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Planinsek’s lined up, celebrating the 18th Annual Louise Planinsek Fishing Derby. (top row) Jimmy Singer, Sean Michael Lynch, Patrick Lynch, Amelia Enfinger, Jenny Singer, Rachel Campbell, Dave (Boo) Planinsek.  (bottom row) Jacob Singer, Lizzie Planinsek, Will Enfinger, Lexie Planinsek & Natalie Rodgers  5/13/07

From early in the morning till right before the bugle is blown, (yes they actually have a horn they blow!) all participants set up their chairs and fishing gear around the pond.  The derby starts at 9:00 am after the acknowledgments are announced, thanking those who helped out or assisted in some way to make the day a success.

Now let’s not get silly, the area isn’t set up ready on command and the pond isn’t stocked by chance.  The Planinsek’s really do a lot of leg work to get this event together.  Family and friends help clean up the Pavilion beforehand by stacking firewood and stocking the pond.  This usually takes place a few weeks before the Fishing Derby.  Like I’ve said, this is a well planned and much anticipated activity every year.

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Congratulations Emma Jackman! She won the 2010 Louise Planinsek Fishing Derby

Let’s not forget, all the leg work to gather the donated gifts and gift baskets for the raffles, purchasing the toys for the kid’s raffle, getting the breakfast food, the paper utensils, the signage, and I’m sure there is a lot more that are hidden behind the scenes that doesn’t even scratch the surface.  Not to lessen any efforts from anyone, but I was informed that Cindy Planinsek is responsible for a majority of this pre-planning work.  Thanks Cindy!

At this time, after acknowledgments, they also recognize friends and family who have moved on in life, giving a moment of silence.  Then the rules are recited and the derby is ready to begin.

Forgive me for butchering anything up or missing any key parts, but it’s pretty straight forward and simple.  All participants must be 16 years of age and younger.  Since it’s a small pond, with an army of little ones who may not have the best casting skills, the adults can help the child cast.  This makes sense since the adults are the ones who have to untangle lines, remove bobbers and hooks from tree branches and help bait the hooks.  All participants need to reel in their catch, while usually the adult waits with a net to again assist.  No adult can be caught with a fishing pole without being accompanied by a child!

The goal is to catch the largest rainbow trout.  There are also additional prizes for the largest Palomino and other species.  But the coveted trophy and the honor of having his or her name recorded in the books is strictly for the trout.  Naturally, all the fish can be caught and kept for frying up or released to be caught again.

Over the years, I’ve heard stories upon stories of tales from Fishing Derby’s past.  It’s so much fun to hear all the tall tales while sitting around a campfire.

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Mick, Lexis, Lizzie, Wendy Planinsek.  Lexie Planinsek won the 2010 Fishing Derby!

One story, they do share right before the kids cast their first lines of the day, more to demonstrate safety and being aware of ones surroundings, is the face hook story.  This story really makes you think before you cast your line!

As you might have guessed it involves a hook and a face.  About forty some years ago Dave Planinsek hooked his Aunt Sally in the cheek or the nose or some facial feature with a fishing hook while he was casting his line.  Ouch!  Can you imagine having a fishing hook in the face?  Can you imagine being the one who did it?  I’ve caught my own fingers, but that’s pretty serious!

Now the activities vary from year-to-year, but the theme remains the same.  In addition to fishing, which is the heart and soul of the day, Mick Planinsek usually gives hay rides and the kids always get a mean game of dodge ball going.

With twenty-five years worth of history, I can’t outline all the winners but here are the recent few.  A few years ago Joshua Enfinger (Nina’s son) won with a twenty-four and half inch rainbow trout.  The year after Lexie Planinsek (Mick’s daughter) won (not sure of the size).  Our last year’s champion, Ryan Hiles won with a twenty-three inch rainbow trout.  Each year it seems like new records are broken, but the fun always remains the same.  Winners have gone from seven and eight years old to sixteen, the maximum age for the participants.  There’s a huge age span, so it’s anyone’s trophy.

The Planinsek family is a great group of people, a truly sincere hardworking dedicated fun bunch.  They are responsible for creating the memories that last eternity.  Thanks so much!  Happy fishing!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Home Away From Home – Parker Dam

Home is where the heart is.  ~Pliny the Elder

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Mom, Kyle & dad are packed & heading to Parker Dam. The boys (Seven & Scooby) are in the back. 6/13/13

Making another voyage to Parker Dam this past weekend, proved to be as nice of a time, as our other trips.  It was funny though, for some reason I really payed attention to my neighbors.  First, I’d like to explain that we always camp in the area approved for dogs.  Our favorite spot is lot number 90.  A nice little section out of the way, just outside the woods and near the restrooms and not far from the showers.

On Saturday, when Kyle and I were coming back from the Parker Dam beach, while riding my bike waiting for Kyle to drop his attitude and catch up to me, which incidentally he was moving so slow he could have grew moss, I people watched.  On a side note, I was reminded of something said to me last time we were riding our bikes at Parker Dam.  Kyle said, “Aunt Heather, we are on self propelled two wheel transportation devices.”  I have no idea where that came from, but it shot out of his mouth and almost made me fall off of my bike.  Anyway, as I peddled along, for some reason I really paid attention to the eclectic group of individuals staying on the camp grounds.  Some visitors only stay a night and move on, while others set up camp for what seems like a lifetime.   As different and unique as our fingerprints, same goes for the camp site setups and their dwellings.

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Sunday morning it rained at Parker Dam. Look at Nicole heading to the restrooms! I was dying when I saw her…yep she blends. Is she going to the bathroom or hunting? 6/16/13

Looking around at the different types of campers, meaning the vehicle they reside in while camping, not a reference to the person, I was utterly amazed!  Some camp sites are very rugged, getting back to the basics with a simple tent on the ground, while others set up a second home complete with satellite TV and a name plate posted in front of their temporary residence.  To be honest, I never noticed everyone else before.  We tend to stay to our own little rented out corner until it’s time to depart.  Personally, I really don’t care what everyone else it doing.   I, like my family, enjoy a little solitude and peace with nature, however as I peddled along my eyes were wide open.  I couldn’t believe what I saw!  I mean lights strung up in all shapes and sizes including chili peppers and ice-cream cones; a neon palm tree stuck in the ground with pink flamingos positioned all around; potted plants hanging from awnings; and huge tents to fit a wedding party staked to the ground.  Can you believe others take all that extra time for such embellishments while camping?  You better believe it!

I’m a pretty simple traveler no matter the destination Traveling Habits, only taking the essentials, not extra stuff.  That certainly holds true for camping.  Before we left and started packing up the camper, I thought to myself, ‘Boy this is a lot of work just for one weekend.  Is this really worth it for a two hour trip, a three day stay in a camper?’  I can’t imagine how long it takes those elaborate campers to pack up for their weekend stay, let alone set up camp.

You know, at first I can sit back and kind of make fun and laugh, but the more I looked, the more I noticed something, these little pieces of grassy lots holding all this stuff, is a home.  It certainly is that way for us.  In fact, there was a couple of times mom would say, “When we get back home”, meaning our camper.   It’s true what they say, ‘Home Is Where the Heart Is’.  And as I watched everyone have a great time, their heart was fully into camping, maybe not so ruggedly but the experience was there.  It almost made me feel like I was a part of something bigger.

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Seven & Scooby are packed & ready to head out to Parker Dam. They love the ride! 6/13/13

My parents had a neighbor, the Davis’ who used to take their RV camping.  They even had an electric golf cart so they could drive around the camp grounds visiting friends and socializing.  We are not that outgoing, but we did manage to break away for our isolation to chit chat with a few of our neighbors, who were nice and very interesting.  The one lady was in a wheelchair, yet she liked to camp, so their beast of a camper called the Wolf Pack folded down in the rear, allowing her to drive her motorized transportation up into her safe haven.

There was another lady walking her dog and kitten.  Yep!  Kitten!  A cute little tiger striped eight week old kitten.  The fury feline walked alongside the lady and her husband, while he walked their dog.  Now that kitten got me to stop and make a friend, as did Kyle.  He was obsessed with the fur ball!  When I told her I also brought my cat, she said, “O ya!  I had to, she’s still on the bottle and I didn’t want to leave her with my other cats.  I thought people would think I’m weird, camping with a cat.”  I totally laughed and said, “Cats are as much apart of the family as dogs are!”  Yep, we were surrounded by interesting and really down to earth people.

The weekend turned out to be another enjoyable trip.   It started off on Thursday night.  Kyle rode up with mom, dad, Seven and Scooby and the camper packed full, while Nicole and I left Friday during the day.  We were suppose to leave Latrobe around nine, however my sister convinced herself it was Saturday and apparently she wakes up later on the weekends.  Me?  I prefer to get up the same time all week long so my body is used to it and it becomes habit. Now I’m not saying I do wake up at 5:00 am every day of the week, but I do set that alarm to keep me in the rhythm.  Anyway, Nicole didn’t get up until around 8:00 am and she had a four hour drive to get me.  What?  Really?  Yep!  She finally got to the house at 1:00 pm and we made it to camp around 3:00 pm.  Not bad, even though I was looking forward to fishing with dad and Kyle in the morning, but no harm done.  Dad said the fish weren’t biting anyway.

Throughout our time at Parker Dam, we did a little biking, a little swimming and playing in the sand at the beach, we traipsed around with the dogs in the creek, made mountain pies and s’mores over the camp fire and relived the last time we were at Parker Dam.  Somewhere between Kyle’s need of an attitude adjustment and the fun and pleasant young man I know, he was singing uncontrollably.  All sorts of songs, including Christmas tunes.  What really brought a smile to my face and a song to the my lips, is when we were cautiously walking around in the creek and Kyle started singing Señor Don Gato!  I love that song!  I taught it to Kyle when he was just able to speak.  What brought that on?  I have no idea, but it was the perfect song for singing, while splashing around in a creek, in the middle of the woods.

Saturday night they had movie night!  They played Brave at their outside amphitheater.  It was really cool watching a movie in the middle of the woods outside in the nice cool air, while sitting under a blanket.  I loved it!  Almost like the drive in, only better!  While we were there we met a lady who was originally from Latrobe.  Incidentally, she was good friends of my parent’s neighbor, who were also friends of the family, the Ferry’s.  What a small a world!

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Check out the Piper bonfire! We never do anything small, not even hanging around a campfire at Parker Dam. 6/16/13

Funny story:  Sorry I can’t remember her name, but she is a manager of the park.  She also previously came across my blog, finding it on her Google alerts for Parker Dam.  She read my last few blog posts about our camping experiences at the park.  Smart lady, doing her homework and hearing first hand what others are saying.  I can only say good things about Parker Dam.  The facilities and amenities are very clean and really nice and the park rangers are very pleasant and respectful.  I’m not the only one who thinks so.  I have a friend who goes there twice a year, they’ve been doing since she was a little girl.  Well done!  Two thumbs up for Parker Dam!

Sunday morning rained.  Did we care?  Nope not at all!  We were in our very own dry safe haven.  It was just like being at home.  Nicole, Kyle and I played card games, Three of a Kind was the game of choice, although sometimes we broke out a mean game of war.  I brought the chess set, however it never made its appearance.  Kyle and I both read, I was working on Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring and his journey took place in Lord of the Rings The Two Towers.  Mom, dad, the dogs and Storm?  They laid around and nodded off and on.

With all this “stuff”, guess what also managed to make its appearance?  Yes you guessed it the Legos!  On Saturday night I sat with Kyle on our big rock by the camp fire and helped him set up the battle and played a little.  Funny story!  Kyle thought me and his Aunt Nikki were taking my car to camp so right before he departed on Thursday night with mom and dad, he loaded my car up Legos.  I mean loaded!  They covered the backseat, the passenger seat and the floor of all three places.  When I opened the door I thought I was at war.  Kyle said, “Ya that’s so when you get there, I would have already set up my battle and you can bring the reinforcements.”  Naturally, that’s exactly what I was thinking for our camping trip, to drag around a ton of Legos.  Only a few made the trip.

Now looking back on the weekend, and realizing what I am remembering are now memories, memories of fun, memories of togetherness, memories at our home away from home, I realize all the packing and hulling stuff, setting it up and tearing it down, ‘YES it was totally worth it!’  Can’t wait to do it again!

Read other adventures at Parker Dame

Fishing Towards Independence
Just Had to Take It to Parker Dam
Parker Dam State Park Story
Lego Love

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Lego Love

If you got to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you.  If you to to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you.  Whatever good things we build end up building us.  ~Jim Rohn

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Kyle built his new Legos. His favorite activity even at Parker Dam. 5/18/13

Kyle, even at eleven years old, ready to go into the seventh grade, still has a love for Legos.  Mentioning it a time or two, or three or four (Another Lego Christmas, Kyle’s Lego Dream @LegoKidsFest 2012, Shopping Spree, Kyle Asks for Prayers, Happy Lego Birthday Kyle – 11 Years Old!, Seattle – Twilight Pilgrimage Part 4 and the list goes on and on), Kyle’s love of Legos is even stronger now than it ever has been.  This past Easter was no exception, as well as our last camping expedition.  In fact, just about everywhere we go and everything we do includes this building block activity.

Let’s start with Easter.  Unfortunately, I missed this past Easter.  I was seriously sick and just laid there like a slug.  Actually, I felt bad for two big reasons.  One, because I wanted to enjoy the holiday with my family and two, because I promised Kyle I would wake up with him at the crack of dawn, like I have done every year, to watch him find the Easter eggs.  Yes, he instructed us to hide the eggs, even though he is well aware the Easter bunny is not real.  The kid didn’t want to miss out on anything and that included looking for the pastel colored plastic eggs, usually filled with change.  Kyle is anything if consistent.

Side story!  Kyle’s youth group held an Easter egg hunt.  While they were setting it up, Kyle had to serve mass and missed being apart of the assembly of the event.  They let him participate since he didn’t know where the eggs were hidden.  Naturally, Kyle found the golden egg, which allowed him to take this chocolate bunny wrapped in gold foil embellished with a dangling collar ornament.  Mom, who picked our little man up after he was done said, “You should have seen Kyle.  He was so excited about participating he forgot he was upset.  He showed me his chocolate bunny.  He even pointed to the collar and said ‘OOo Gigi, look!’.  I tell ya what, that kid!  He always manages to come out on top.”  And he certainly does.

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You’d think this smile was from the excitement of heading to Parker Dam for the weekend. I’m not entirely certain. 5/17/13

Kyle and the rest of the family enjoyed Easter, while I laid on my death bed.  I’d like to call out an observation I made.  Easter used to be a celebration of Jesus and it is, but it has certainly taken on another form, an almost Christmas gift giving quality.  To counter act this new trend, I make sure I take Kyle to the Stations of the Cross during lent.  I even reviewed the Stations of the Cross with him independently, in addition to CCD class and going to church.  Kyle knows the true meaning of Easter and Christmas, however he also has this affinity for those Legos.

Easter, arriving on Sunday, March 31st of this year was the same.  Kyle was at no shortage of Legos to put together and play with.  Did I break down and fall into the Lego frenzy?  Nope, I purchased Kyle a few books on how to play chess and an Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.  I must say, even though he loves his Legos, that goes without question, he did like the books.  Since then we’ve made a few recipes out of the cookbook and we’ve perused the chess books while playing a few mean games, picking up new tips.  Even though he appreciates his supply of Legos, I think the chess books took him off guard and was a pleasant surprise.  He loves to play chess and he’s pretty good at it.  He even wants to join the chess club at school, if they have one.  Knowing that, I wanted to encourage him.

Did he use the chess books as much as he played with the Legos, nope but that’s fine.  At least he plays with his Legos and still uses his imagination and enjoys himself.

I’m just going to discuss his Lego love from this past spring.  Nicole and Kyle have this on going deal.  When he gets A’s on his report card, she slips the kid some cash to spend on whatever he chooses.  Can you guess what he had his eye on this report card?  Yep, more Legos!  Seriously, I thought he owned them all!  I guess not.

The ordering process is down to a science.  Kyle picks out the Legos he wants, emails the Lego name and sku number to my sister and Nicole usually orders the goods to be delivered to the house.  That way he can track the packages and there is no hold up waiting for my sister to come home to drop off the Legos.

However, this one particular time there was a flaw in the system and the Legos never showed up.  Even though the online receipt was claiming it was delivered.  Kyle was stressed!  Who had his Lego?  Is he ever going to get another one?  And so on and so forth.   That sparked emails back and forth between me, mom and Nicole.  It was really funny, even though I know Kyle was sincerely stressed over the situation.  Eventually, Nicole had me go to the store to pick up the Lego to cool his horses.  I did, reluctantly.  I don’t think we should jump every time Kyle says how high, although he wasn’t pushy with us, just distressed.  Also, he did do a great job on his report card and earned that money fair and square.

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Would you believe months later, the neighbor realized they had the package all along and returned it to Kyle?  I’m not sure how someone doesn’t recognize a package delivered that has LEGO, written clearly across the top in bright letters.  I mean didn’t the sound of a million tiny little brick pieces give it away?  Not to mention, Kyle personally called and stopped over to see if Kyle’s mail found its way to the wrong house.  Whatever.

After the missing package resurfaced, I guess Kyle called my sister and asked what he should do with the Lego, since she already paid for this one and he got the same set, when I picked it up.  Another side note.  That was a nice gesture, Kyle could have just assumed he was getting that Lego or not mentioned it at all.  Yet, instead he called my sister right away to keep her in the loop.  Nicole told him to keep the Lego and have two.  A comment that sent pure happiness through Kyle.  A random surprise for the day.  For once no argument came from our little Lego lover.

Now let’s discuss this past report card, for the third quarter.  Yes, my little man got all A’s and a B in writing.  I’m perfectly fine with that!  He worked hard and did a great job!  His reward?  Ask his Aunt Nikki, who seems to be his Lego supplier.  He was rewarded with more Legos to build and play with, at his request.  His theme of choice for this batch?  Lego Star Wars.

Aunt Heather Piper 2-5-2013On May 17 – 19, just a few weeks ago, we went to Parker Dam for camping and fishing.  (Fishing Towards IndependenceJust Had to Take It to Parker Dam, Parker Dam State Park Story)  Mom and dad left earlier on that Friday before us.  I had to wait to get Kyle off of the bus before making our journey.  While we were packing and making our preparations, the Legos Nicole ordered came in.  All along prior to this time, Kyle would call Nicole and mom to check and see if the precious packages arrived.  Can you believe him?  Yep, it’s true!

Mom instructed me to put the new, highly anticipated Legos in my car.  What?  Are you kidding me?  We were going camping and fishing, not hanging out putting together Legos!  Reluctantly, I did as instructed and added the Legos to the contents of my car.  As Kyle got off the bus, he peeked inside the windows to see the huge boxes, a total of three were present.   The smile that erupted from his face was contagious and truly delightful!

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Kyle hid away in the camper to put together his Legos. Kyle brings camping to a whole new meaning. 5/18/13

As soon as we got on our way, Kyle did his usual inspecting of the packaging and reading the number of pieces in each box, the characters supplied in each Lego set and so on and so forth.  I think he does that on purpose to build his excitement even more.  He couldn’t wait to bust open the boxes and go to town.

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Close-up of Kyle assembling his Legos. A new way of camping at Parker Dam 5/18/13

Once we got to Parker Dam on Friday night, after Storm took off for the woods to play Jeremiah Johnson, Kyle opened a box of Legos and began to assemble.  He didn’t want to head down to meet up with his pap to fish, he didn’t want to help me look for my missing cat, he didn’t even want to get out his bike and go for a ride.  He wanted to build!  It’s like an addiction for him.  At least it’s a healthy learning one!

Literally, I had to pace him with the Legos and force him to think about other things while camping.  Once Kyle is involved or introduced to something else, he has a great time.  It’s just getting him to that point that can be tricky.  Throughout the weekend, we did manage to get our bikes rolling and explore the campsite a bit, as well as an unmarked dirt road.  On Sunday, we took the dogs for a walk in the nearby woods.  Even though we weren’t suppose to separate them from their leashes, we did so the boys could stretch out their legs.  After all, they were used to running free in the woods while we hiked.

But I bet the highlight to Kyle’s weekend, besides trudging through the creek and splashing with the dogs and getting all wet, was building and playing with those Legos.  Ok, maybe out fishing me made the top of his list too.

Saturday, after fishing in the morning, became the Lego building time.  Our camp fire was positioned by a large rock.  Kyle used that to play on.  It was his base of his Lego war.  As we hung around the campfire shooting the breeze, Kyle played with his Lego characters and their flying transportation devices.  He really enjoyed himself!

I guess any situation is a perfect situation with Legos, and any situation can be made a Lego good time.  Even if it was an enjoyable one without the primary colored building blocks.  I’m looking to sign Kyle up for Bricks for Kidz camp.  I bet he would enjoy that!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,LEGO's,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Travels and have No Comments

Just Had to Take It to Parker Dam

A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something.  ~Wilson Mizner

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Chad on the left, dad on the right and Uncle Sonny & Jeremy behind him on the left. At Shober’s camp near Parker Dam c.1987

Recently, my family and I took a mini camping and fishing vacation to Parker Dam State Park, just staying the duration of the weekend.  Evidently, we are going back in a few weeks but this time Aunt Nikki is gracing us with her presence.

Going there as a child, I enjoyed revisiting the area, revisiting forgotten memories.  The Schober’s, good friends of the family had a camp in that area, not far from the entrance to Parker Dam.  We used to go up there along with my Uncle Sonny and my cousins as well as family friends to camp out, fish and hunt.  It was always a lot of fun, camping with other kids, making mountain pies, catching fish, spotting bear and sitting by the camp fire.  This time my experience included setting up our temporary residence in lot #90 with our camper, the dogs, my cat and spotting a beaver.  Yep, even after all these years, still equally as fun!

The entire time, dad was reminiscing about us camping among the state park and all his hunting and fishing trips.  Out of nowhere dad would comment, “I got a big bear back in that part of the woods.”  or “We used to catch big trout out of that lake.” or “Ryan and I used to fish in that creek.”  Actually, it was fun to hear dad comment on all the activities I was not apart of, and the ones I forgot about.

Kyle really enjoyed hearing the tails, especially coming from his pappy.  Probably because it’s so unusual to hear dad go into a story, even though they didn’t include much elaboration, not like me and mom when telling stories.  Still, hearing the stores shoot straight out of dad’s mouth even captured my attention.  I could tell dad really enjoyed talking about Ryan, Kyle’s dad.  And we enjoyed listening.

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Ryan & Chad wrestling at Shober’s camp. Near Parker Dam c. 1987

Dad reiterated a few times, (being an understatement) throughout the weekend about Ryan loosing his buck knife in the woods.  This seriously seemed to bother dad greatly because he mentioned it, no joke, at least a dozen times.  Apparently, Ryan went up to Parker Dam to hunt and wanted to take his brand new buck knife.  The one dad got him.  Dad didn’t want him to take the knife, saying he didn’t need it, however, Ryan had other plans.  While moving through the woods, it fell off of Ryan’s belt and was lost forever.  As Kyle and I were listening from the front seat of the truck, dad said, “He just had to take it.  I told him not to and then he lost it.  O, well, I guess he really liked that knife.”  Kyle gave me a sideways grin because Kyle does the same sort of thing, not listen to sound advice when he has his heart set on his plans.  Kyle’s notorious for taking objects on adventures that were advised not to.  I guess like father, like son.

The whole weekend dad would pipe up saying, “I wish I could find that knife.  I know about the area he lost it.  Ryan said he looked for it but couldn’t find it, course your daddy didn’t look so good.”  as he made eye contact with Kyle.  That’s true too, Kyle doesn’t look so good either when he is looking for something or tracking it down.  It would be right in front of his face and never see it.  Just like Ryan!  Later on, dad said, “Naturally I felt bad about him loosing his knife, I went and got him another one for Christmas.”  Kyle shot me the orneriest grin after that comment.  Dad does the same for Kyle!  Good old pappy has replaced so many items Kyle lost or broke over the years, and Kyle knows his pappy will always do it.  They are all peas in a pod!

So somewhere in the  968-acre Parker Dam State Park is Ryan’s buck knife, unless it found a new home.  Although, dad swears he knows the general location of the crime scene, again it could have ended up lining the pockets of another.  One day, I would love to trek into those woods, once hiked by Ryan, with a metal detector and see if I could find it.  Dad would die happy.  I could tell he would no doubt give it to Kyle with pride.

Sometimes its the little items that bring back the biggest memories and really put things into perspective.  Can’t wait for our next family adventure!

 

 

posted by auntheather in Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Fishing Towards Independence

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All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable which makes you see something you weren’t noticing which makes you see something that isn’t even visible.  ~Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

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Me fishing at Parker’s Dam. These were the only fish I caught… while dad & Kyle reeled in the big ones.  Yes it was very early in the morning!  5/18/13

Kyle amazes me, he really does.  Some days he is still the kid I’ve always known, maybe too much like a kid, and other days, he’s such an independent little man.  It’s really weird to say Kyle is independent.  He’s never really exhibited self-supporting behavior, ever.  Kyle has always been the type of the child that needed someone to join him in doing any activity, even watching TV and sometimes playing.   Sometimes he entertains himself, but he usually likes the social activity.  When he was really little, it was even difficult for him to walk back the hallway without someone by his side.  Nope, independent and Kyle have never been synonymous.  That is until recently.

Two weekends ago my family, including the dogs and my cat, went to Parker Dam for a short weekend get away.  My sister couldn’t make the camping and fishing weekend of fun, but there will be a next time.  Mom and dad got there really early Friday morning.  When I mean early, I mean early.  Mom said dad had her up at 3:00 am to leave early and get a head start on the day.  Not me, I had to pick Kyle up off the bus, before heading out and joining up with the parents, and Seven and Scooby.

Friday night was pretty uneventful, except for Storm.  She worked her way out of her harness, twice, and made a break for the woods.  The night went perfect when she came back unscathed.  In fact, she ran around all weekend, going in and out of the woods along side our campsite.  I was afraid of a coyote or owl or some other wild beast getting their claws in her fluffy middle, but to keep her caged up would be inhumane.  She loves being in the woods, much like myself.  Sometimes it’s hard to let go without hovering or controlling, but it’s a part of life.

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Scooby hanging out in Parker’s Dam. Ever since the tumor was removed from his chin, he looks 10 years younger! He got a facelift. 5/18/13

And so my story begins, at 4:00 am on Saturday morning.  The time dad felt was the appropriate hour to get everyone up to go fishing.  Yes, it was still pitch black and for some reason he wanted us to have our hooks baited before we drove down the road, maybe a half a mile to our fishing site.  All the while we were getting ready, Storm got out of the camper and was running around, jumping and leaping for joy.  She was like Houdini.

As we started fishing and getting our bearing straight, basically rubbing the sleepers out of our eyes and realizing we are dealing with little hooks attached to our four pound fishing line, something changed.  As I looked around, the sun rose over the misty still water, and as I was standing in the crisp morning air, life seemed peaceful.  It felt as if God Himself was squeezing my shoulder as if to say, ‘Things will be fine, all is in My hands.’  And you know what?  They were, they are and they will always be.  Even more than that, something was changing, was different.

Once dad began pulling a few fish from the undisturbed water, I looked around to see what was so unusual.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  Everything seemed normal, and then the fog lifted and I saw it as plain as an early morning.  Kyle was fishing alone.  It was an interesting observation, a unique sight, a bittersweet moment.  Don’t get me wrong, I was happy he went off on his own, yet felt a ting of pain for such a shift in the normal.

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Kyle & dad fishing at Parker’s Dam. They both are fishing machines! 5/18/13

At Parker Dam where we fished, there are two different lakes if you will.  They are actually one connected by a tunnel under the road that separates them.  The same fish move between the two areas.  All along, dad who is really the only real fishermen between us, commented periodically to move around if we weren’t catching anything.  As he’s always done.  At first dad always tells us what bait to use and where to stand, only because he wants us to be as successful as possible.  Nothing makes dad happier than to have us out fish, or out hunt him.  However, dad is always open to our judgement calls, sometimes.  This time I was in a little bit of shock.  Kyle was sitting on the bank, of the opposite lake to me and dad, all by himself.  I never even noticed the change, even though I should have because up until that point, Kyle was talking nonstop and that sudden silence should have tipped me off of the break in the ordinary.  He was quiet.  Just sitting there fishing, I think enjoying the moment.  At least for that moment.

As I watched Kyle fish with his back toward me, all that popped in my head was the movie A River Runs Through It, when the Brad Pitt character, Paul went off fly fishing on his own for the first time to find his own rhythm.  And then I thought, ‘Boy he’s growing up!’  I must say, I am honored to be there for Kyle’s next step in life.  After all, I was honored having the 0pportunity of being there when he first rolled over, first pulled himself up, first learned to walk, his first words.  Heck I even took him to get his first hair cut, and now his first big movement towards independence.  Yes bittersweet!  It’s funny, at that moment I also realized the dad in the movie, out fished his sons, just like dad always does with us.

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Kyle just had to bring his new Lego’s camping & fishing in Parker Dam. I guess you can never take the Lego out of the boy. 5/18/13

Me, dad and Kyle had a great morning fishing.  However, after a few fish under his belt, Kyle decided he wanted to head back to camp.  What?  By himself?  Yes, he started walking toward our camp solo.  Dad and I both looked at each other as he crested the top of the hill, past the water, out of our site.  In fact, we were both taking bets if he would change his mind and just turn around to come back, or if he was going to complete his journey.  Keep in mind, there were boxes of Lego’s awaiting him.  So I’m sure that was his driving force.  Apparently, he made it to the rangers office, which was about the halfway point.  He said he couldn’t remember his way back so he call my mom to come and pick him up.  That surprises me because Kyle has a great sense of direction, much like my parents and not like me and Nicole.  But he did, and mom came and life was all good while dad and I continued fishing.

After we were done, we drove to a more remote part of the water running into a creek to clean the fish.  Dad and I scaled and gutted the catch of the day.  It was another moment that I couldn’t help think, this is what dad used to do with Ryan all the time.  I was even using Ryan’s knife.  It was a great day, and for most people, it was just about to start.

Now to lighten the mood, funny story.  When we got back mom was extremely eager to share a story with us.  She was already laughing so hard, she could barely tell it.  Intrigued, I gave her center stage and my fullest attention.  Apparently, when we left at the crack of dawn, mom and the boys went back to bed.  Go figure. (sarcasm)  Mom said all of a sudden her sleeping bag was pulled off of her and she felt the camper shake and lean to one side.  For the record we have a little pop up type of camper with the fold out sides.  She said the camper all of a sudden leaned to one side, she heard a thud and it bounced back.  Thinking it was us, coming back early and screwing with her, she popped her head up and looked around.  Then she noticed Scooby was no longer beside her.  She got up to find Scooby at the door, and as she opened it he ran and jumped in the opposite bed.  She figured that he was so sound asleep, he somehow rolled out of the side of the camper.  The area where the fabric is only pulled down over the foldout bed.  I’m guessing the slippery sleeping bag helped his escape.  He seemed fine, but he could have seriously injured himself.  But don’t let that stop us from laugh historically.  We are still cracking up over that story!

We had a great weekend of fishing, sitting by the campfire, walking the dogs, bike riding and hiking through the woods.  On one of our adventures via bicycle, Kyle and I were riding through the camp site to get down to a dirt road we found the day prior.  Kyle rode up beside me and started singing Jingle Bells!  I actually almost ran my bike off the side of the road from both, laughter and from shock at his choice in music.  Actually from any choice in music, since he doesn’t like exercise.  He was really enjoying himself!  That kid cracks me up!  One minute he’s showing his independence and the next he is still the small little man sitting in the backseat of my car, in his car seat singing Jingle Bells.  He never ceases to amaze me.

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Mom & dad hanging by the fire playing with the boys. Seven (black Lab) & Scooby (Blond Lab) Parker’s Dam 5/18/13

Then, he turns around and completely surprises me again!  Saturday night, we took turns watching the dogs and walking down to the showers.  Roughing it I know!  But when there’s a shower available, we’re all about it, especially after baiting hooks with maggots, wax worms, fish eggs and such.  As I staying at the campsite with the Seven, Scooby and Storm, through the black of the late evening, Kyle walked back.  Alone?  Solo?  Without fear?  Being in a little bit of shock, I said, “Kyle?”  just to confirm that it was indeed Kyle I was looking at.  He confirmed my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me and then my next question, “What’s wrong?  Where’s Gigi and Pappy?”  He said they were still at the showers and he wanted to head back.  What?  Kyle walk in the dark by himself?  Granted it wasn’t that far away, maybe 200 feet if that.  Again, that kid never ceases to surprise me!

Then to make me question if this was indeed my nephew and not an alien taking over his body, Kyle said, “Go ahead Aunt Heather, go shower, I’ll watch the dogs.”  What?  Is this Kyle?  Kyle Piper?  He was volunteering to sit in the dark, by himself (with the dogs and cat), with spotty cell phone service and wait for us to return?  Where did my little man go?

A little confused I made sure he was alright with the scenario and I headed to the showers, where I ran into mom.  A little confused, as was I a few minutes earlier, she asked me where Kyle was, and who was watching the dogs?  I explained the story.  Mom basically just said, “Ok?”  She hurried herself along with dad, as to not leave him alone for too long.  Of course, if anyone would mess with Kyle, Scooby would probably tear the perpetrators face off, but no need to take unnecessary chances.

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My cousin Heather cutting Kyle’s hair for the first time, while I hold him. He was afraid of haircuts for a long time! 2002

The next morning we got a little late start leaving around 5:30 am.  We are such slackers! (sarcasm)  We fished a little again in the perfect morning peace that we experienced the day before.  Not staying too long, since the fish really weren’t biting, we started to head back to camp.  Dad did stop along the creek to try his hand at the water hole just below us off of the bridge.  Once dad almost snagged himself another fish, Kyle was all about getting out his pole again.  Please keep in mind all I caught the entire weekend were a few, two and three inch blue gills.  The four inch sunfish was my prize. (sarcasm)   Kyle did manage to feed us a few trout along with dad’s catch for dinner on Saturday night.  Also no contribution from me, which humored Kyle to no end.

After casting our lines a few unsuccessful times, we headed back for breakfast.  Dad had some pretzels in the truck, which we were both nibbling on like starving fish ready to be snagged by a hook.  Just then Kyle turned to dad and said, “Your eating after you baited your hook?  That’s disgusting!”  I died!  That was such a sincere statement and too funny!  Dad just looked down at his fingers, then licked them and put his had back in the bag for more.  Yep, typical dad.  He is a true woodsman, never getting grossed out by anything and never getting sick by such acts.  Of course I was doing the same thing, and it didn’t bother me either.

Kyle is growing up before our eyes.  It’s always been happening, but sometimes there are moments that really stand out.  That weekend had many of them.  I wish my sister was there, even though she always is, even through spotty cell coverage and through stories and pictures and videos.

Apparently we are going back again, this time with the entire family.  I sincerely can’t wait!  Maybe I’ll catch a fish worthy of eating.

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Hunting & Fishing,LEGO's,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Gone Fishing!

Each time you step off your path and give someone an act of kindness…then your road to happiness just to a little smoother.  ~Donna A. Favors

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Marty, Jenny & Jimmy Singer beating the rain at the Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

This past weekend, yes Mother’s Day weekend, was the 24th Annual Louise Planinsek Fishing Derby.  This much anticipated event, is talked about and prepared for all year long.  It’s one of those activities that is automatically added to the calendar and you plan around, taking priority over everything else.

On a side note, happy late Mother’s Day to all those mother’s, guardians, role models, and anyone who has nurtured, raised and helped make a difference in the life of a child.

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Kyle trying to crack a smile at the Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

Friday night, me, mom and Kyle headed up to the Fishing Derby with our covered dishes.  I made brownies and Kyle requested my pasta salad.  We sat around the bonfire eating, drinking and chit chatting with everyone.  Some individuals I see every week in church, and some I see once a year.  Regardless, it’s always a good time with a great group of friends and family.

At this time, we usually pitch the tent, set up our camping gear and get out our fishing stuff.  However, this year I did not brave the rain and thunder storms.  I wimped out and broke the news to Kyle that we were going to be sleeping in our warm beds, under the protection of the roof.  He didn’t seem very thrilled with arrangement, but when he saw most others had the same idea, he reluctantly went along with the game plan.  Originally, Casey and his family invited Kyle to stay in their tent.  But with the threat of high winds, severe rains and thunder and lightening, camping indoors became the trend.  I can handle camping out when it’s cold and such, but when the skies are screaming and barreling in like a freight train, and the electricity is turning night into day, camping under trees on the ground is not not my cup of tea.  Although, Beth Planinsek informed me that everyone is instructed to camp out for the 25th Anniversary Fishing Derby next year.  For a special occasion like that one, I’m game and I’m sure Kyle won’t complain.

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Dave (Boo) Planinsek, Shaun Rodgers, Jimmy Singer at the Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

The kids ran around playing dodge ball until it got dark, then they started playing tag.  Kyle came up to me and said, “Boy Aunt Heather, it gets hard to play tag in the dark, especially when I don’t have my glasses on.  Sometimes you have to tag someone even if you’re really not sure if they are playing or not.”  I laughed at that statement thinking, ‘Wonder who he tagged that wasn’t playing?’  I love seeing Kyle running around, playing with other kids, and I mean playing hard.  Abandoning all electronic devices and games and running in the mud and dirt with a game of old fashion tag.  That is what being a kid is all about!

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Kyle finally caught a sun fish. Pappy is always on hand to help. Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

Bob Dowler, longtime neighbor of the Planinsek’s, (his parents owned Sugarbush restaurant) made the popcorn in the big iron kettle on the fire.  The best popcorn ever!  Kyle assisted him in years past, but this year he was burning off a year’s worth of energy.  Eddie who was seated by mom administered the bag and Lori managed the salt.  They cracked me up!  That family is too much!

Before long, mom and I wanted to call it a night, yet we didn’t want to put a damper on Kyle’s fun, so I took mom home and had Kyle call me when he was ready.   Sure enough, as soon as I got home, which was only a five minute drive, Kyle called and said he was ready.  So back up over the ridge I drove, to pick up my little package.  Not that I mind at all.  He was getting out in the fresh air and hanging with a good bunch of kids.

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Jimmy, Nina & Lisa hanging out at the Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

While winding down for the evening, Kyle instructed us that we, were to be up at 6:00 am, allowing us enough time to get ready and be back at the Planinsek Pavilion when breakfast was served at 7:00 am.  No worries, we are all morning people and usually I get up between 5:00 am and 6:00 am every day, anyway.  The hardest part of the evening was getting my “cruddy” nephew into the shower before he fell asleep in front of the fireplace.

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Kyle pouting while Olivia looks on. Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

Reluctantly, Kyle got up a little after 6:00 am, with some assistance from my dad and the dogs.  He was tried!  All the cool air and running around really knocked him down, in a good way.  Slowly but surely, we packed up the car and headed to our all day destination.  Mom and dad, who were really slow moving, met us later.

Earlier in the week, dad purchased Kyle’s bait so once we packed up the car we were good to go.  Before departing, Dad gave Kyle direction where to set up his fishing spot, to the left of the pond.  We were ready!

Once 8:00 am rolled around, all the activity from the night before resumed, kids buzzing around, adults gabbing and shooting the breeze, people eating and setting up their fishing spots.    Love the Fishing Derby!

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Casey holding son Owen Olczak. Dave (Boo) in the background at the Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

The Derby officially starts at 9:00 am.  As part of the announcements, they gave a moment of silence to Robert Scavnicky, “Bobby”.  He pass away on December 15, 2012 at the age of 60.  They gave a very nice heartfelt account of Bobby’s life and his contributions to the Fishing Derby.  Being a member of Sacred Heart Church, and living on the Planinsek ridge, I knew Bobby.  Mostly in passing and to see him at the Fishing Derby and other local events.  He was always a truly nice guy.  That’s what I can sincerely say, he was a nice guy, very warming and welcoming and laid back.  Mom and dad knew him well and have always talked highly of him.  I can see why.  In fact, technically Bobby was my mom’s step brother, if you will.  His mom was married to my grandpap Chester for a brief period of time before he passed away in 1980.

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Kids are braving the rain to catch their trophy rainbow trout! Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

Bobby’s sister Michele was part of the attendance.  At one point, Michele and mom were talking and mom commented that Michele used to babysit me when I was little.  Michele said with conviction, “O I remember this one, I don’t really remember the other ones but I remember Heather!”  Yikes!  Was I that bad?  Michele said I would cry a lot and I never wanted to be separated from my mommy.  That’s too funny, I was a mommy’s girl!   Mom said it wasn’t until about second grade did I become independent and I remained that way since.  I guess the big bad scary world was a bit too much for me to handle at first, until I got used to it.

While I’m still on the subject of Bobby, Friday night while sitting around the campfire, Mick, mom and me were shooting the breeze and we started talking about dates of those who have passed.  Fun topic of conversation I know, but it is what it is.  Lori interjected with dates that no one could remember.  Boy she is good!  We talked about my Uncle Walter and Aunt Mary Olczak, Casey’s grandparents, who passed in 1993 and 2002 respectively.  My Aunt Mary was a Planinsek, so that’s another branch of the tree that intertwines the Planinsek’s through marriage.

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Ryan Hiles accepting his trophy from Dave Planinsek, for the largest rainbow trout at the Planinsek Fishing Derby Congratulations! 5/11/13

Naturally, Ryan always comes up in these conversations.  He passed away on October 23, 2001, being 24 years-old.  Mom commented to Mick that Nicholas, Bobby’s son, came to Ryan’s burial and stopped up at the house to help unload food and such, wanting to help out.  Really?  You know, sometimes I think I completely stepped out during that time, because there was a lot that happened and a ton of people around that I truly don’t remember.  Mom said he came down to the house right after we left the cemetery.  Sincerely, I have absolutely no recollection of him being there.  Still, I am grateful for the support!  Little acts of caring and sincerity can really make an impact on a person, even nearly 12 years later.  Thanks Nicholas!  I guess Bobby was able to instill some good attributes in his kid.

Now, getting back to the announcements.  Just before reviewing the rules of the fishing derby, it started to rain.  They blew the bugle and then it was a downpour.  In all honesty, I thought all the kids were going to take off for shelter and skip the fishing.  Nope!  These are tough ridgers!  All the kids stood in the rain, along side their parents, friends and relatives fishing.  It went on for a few hours because before I noticed it, it was around noon!  The rain was cold and continued off and on for most of the morning.  No one really cared how muddy they were getting, or how wet.  They were catching fish and having fun!

Casey’s family fished to our right including Grant and Olivia.  Little baby Owen was nearly a year old, so maybe next year little Olczak can participate.

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I handed dad my umbrella. The pink polka dots really make it! Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

Dad mostly helped Kyle, who as tradition dictates was difficult at first.  He keeps making excuses for not casting right, and not catching anything and on and on and on.  At one point, I thought dad might throw Kyle in the pond.  Not literally, but he was pushing our buttons.  Saying Kyle was being difficult is me being nice.  His attitude was out of control, he needs to listen to what he’s being told and not assume he knows everything.  Plus he needs to be patient!  He has to realize that every time you cast your line in the water, you might not get a fish.  Apparently Kyle didn’t get the memo but I’m here to say, that’s part of the sport!

A little while later, Lisa Singer or her Sister Nina Enfinger came up to me to check in and shoot the breeze.  She said, “It would be nice if Kyle won.”  What a sweet comment, after all, almost all of the kids present, were her nieces, nephews and cousins.  To be concerned for Kyle was way too nice!   I turned to her and said, “I don’t, not with the way he’s acting.”  She understood where I was coming from, no judgement placed!  I certainly want Kyle to do good and win, but I don’t want him to be rewarded for acting like a spoiled brat.

Eventually, Kyle did manage to catch a small sun fish.  He was more thrilled that he was no longer in the category of ‘not catching anything’, over actually catching the fish, even if the fish was not impressive, not even good enough for the frying pan.  I’m was just happy he was happy.

I will admit, later after dad had enough of Kyle’s complaining and attitude, and once we took a lunch break, Kyle tried his had at fishing again.  This time he was like a different person.  He was being good, listening and fishing better.  His casting was getting pretty good, his patience was stabilizing and his attitude was now sportsmanlike.  Maybe it had something to do with me telling him, his pappy left because he was fed up with his behavior.  Kyle was in shock.  It never occurred to him that dad wasn’t going to listen to him all day.  Maybe that’s what he needed to straighten him up.

The day moved along as it always does with a lot of food, drinks and conversation.  In order to cover all costs, ensuring the Fishing Derby continues year after year, they raffle off prizes and such.  I won a ceramic 2013 Planinsek Fishing Derby mug, which I realized as I was writing this blog that I left it there.  Note to self, I will need to try and retrieve it!

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Kids are anxiously waiting for their names to be drawn to pick a prize! Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

There is a 50/50 raffle and the day doesn’t come to an end until the children’s raffle.  Throughout the day, parents and kids alike put a ticket in for a kid with their name on it.  All the prizes are on display.  Once a name is called, the child claims their prize until all the toys and such are gone or all the tickets have been drawn.

During this time, I will shout of my pride in Kyle.  With all that went on during first part of the day, Kyle really redeemed himself.  Without me saying anything and only noticing through observation, Kyle began to pick out toys for Grant.  He wanted to get him prizes that he would like.  Kyle even told Grant to go to the table and pick something out, on Kyle’s turn.  I stood there off to the side, unbeknownst to Kyle and watched the giving pour forth from my little man!   Boy that kid can act like an ungrateful spoiled child one minute, and a sincerely giving little man the next!  Maybe he is listening to us after all.

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The rain couldn’t deter these fisherman from their trophy rainbow trout! Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

Then to really steal my heart, as his name was called yet again, Kyle looked around and gave his turn to one of the Enfinger kids because at that point the little boy only had one prize.  What?  Love was just overflowing from my heart toward Kyle’s small actions.  As I’ve always told Kyle, it’s the thought and the intent that really count!  Personally, I was just impressed that he thanked Casey for putting in more tickets on his behalf.

Then, the acts of kindness don’t just stop there, he picked up this kitchen utensil, brought it to me and said, “This is for Gigi”.  What a sweetheart!  He also assigned a few prizes for others, beside himself.  That’s what being part of a family is about.  That’s also what good sportsmanship and being a good person means!

The day was a success!  This year the new record came in the form of a brother and sister team.  Ryan Hiles caught a 23 inch rainbow trout and his sister Jenny, who was fishing right beside Kyle, caught a 12 and three quarters inch large mouth bass.  Great job guys!  Can’t wait for next year!  The 25th Annual Louise Planinsek Fishing Derby!

Read about last years Fishing Derby Want to Go Fishing? 

 

 

 

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have Comments (2)

Who Does Kyle Favor More, Pappy?

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.  ~Clarence Budington Kelland

Kyle-&-pappy-2001 Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle & his pappy for his first Christmas… love the red long underwear. Dad has the same pair 2001

Kyle and his pappy.  What else can I say?  They are like two peas in a pod.  Without question, Kyle looks up to his pappy, and my dad shares the same admiration for Kyle.  They definitely have a unique bond, its strong and very reminiscent of the relationship between Ryan and dad, but is truly more like my pappy and Ryan.  It must be the grandfather, grandson combination.

Ryan and dad were tight, both having such a passion for hunting and fishing.  Now don’t get me wrong they were typical father and son, but really pretty close.  I guess it helped that they spent hours in the woods together on hunting trips, countless fishing opportunities, and too much time in the garage working on cars to have been anything other.  But before Ryan really truly got into any of these, he had a tight bond with our pappy, my dad’s dad.

Ryan and my pap’s relationship, very much resembled Kyle and my dad’s.  Ryan and Kyle are both lifesavers, whether they knew it or not.  After my pap had his second leg amputated, Ryan stayed with him, a lot.  After my brother passed away suddenly, Kyle stayed with us, a lot.  My pappy died when Ryan was in the third grade, so our interaction with him stopped at a young age, but thankfully Kyle and dad are still going strong.  Both boys helped with the healing process.  After all, who can stay depressed or upset or even stationary with a little man running around.  Not in our family!  Both Ryan and Kyle indirectly helped my pap and my dad, respectively, carry on through horrible situations.  They were both air to our lungs, both gifts from God to help us survive.  Kyle was, and continues to be a reminder of Ryan and what a special gift children are.  I guess that holds true, not just for dad but for the family as a whole.

kyle-&-pappy-with-hat Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle grabbing pappy’s hat. Aunt Mary is in the background. Piper Reunion 2002

Well, I think you get the comparison between Ryan and his pap and Kyle and his pap.  Like anyone in the Piper family, they hunt and fish.  Yep, dad has already taken Kyle two years in a row for mentor hunting.  The second year, bringing home a deer.  Dad couldn’t have been more proud, just as he was with all us.

Kyle does like to deer hunt, but maybe doesn’t carry the same passion as dad.  Now fishing is a different story.  Kyle really seems to enjoy fishing.  In fact, every year he inquires about the start of the fishing season, especially the annual Planinsek Fishing Derby (Want to Go Fishing?).  The cynical side of me says, it’s a favorite with Kyle because the sport requires a lot of sitting as opposed to hunting, which sometimes involves a bit more hiking.  Either way, dad takes Kyle fishing whenever he can.  We all join in on that fun, but like I said, I have yet to meet anyone else with such a devotion for hunting and fishing like dad.

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Dad & Kyle watching TV…. this picture says it all!

Even though dad is a hunter, he loves and appreciates animals, like another little someone I know.  There’s no denying it, dad is an outdoorsy man.  It’s also noted that Kyle really is not, although he certainly shares the love for all of God’s creatures.  Growing up, dad couldn’t get enough of National Geographic and Marty Stouffer! Loyal Traveling Television Kyle has seemed to adopt this intense interest in animals as well.  Seriously!  Some of Kyle’s top picks for shows include Too Cute!, Weird True & Freaky, and Big Cat Diaries (one of my favorites too).  Basically anything on Nat Geo and Animal Planet.  Dad takes his love of outdoors and his eagerness for hunting a step further and enjoys watching  Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel or the Trophy Hunting Channel.  Kyle, like the rest of us, doesn’t really enjoy watching people pull fish from a pond or shoot a Mountain Goat.  But we do like watching the hibernation of bears and the strength of ants.

Sports and sports teams have never been big in our house.  The Piper’s have been known to play a mean game of baseball, but that’s about the extent of it, at least in our immediate family.  Dad never played any sports, having to start working and making posts when he was nine-years-old.  The option wasn’t there for him to have that interest.  Now Kyle has had every opportunity to participate in sports, but he has chosen another path.  Forget it, if there is football, baseball, basketball or even hockey on the TV, no one in the family is watching it, including Kyle.  I’ve had Kyle involved in Pee Wee football, basketball (which what a real treat for the eyes) soccer, gymnastics, running and swimming.  Nope, no real interest.  Don’t get me wrong, he had fun playing with the other kids and getting out, but there is definitely no love and desire to play these activities for the sport of it.

Kyle and dad, what a pair.  You should see them watching TV together.  They are always leaning and snuggling between the two, truly enjoying the company of the other.

Dad was always like that with us as kids.  I personally used dad’s arm as a pillow and fall asleep.  But I must admit, dad has fallen victim to the grandson rule and monarchy.  Dad doesn’t always let Kyle get away with things, but I would have to say more than not.  Certainly, ten times what we were able to get away with as kids.  Yep, Kyle owns us!

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Kyle & his pappy napping…I think I caught dad nipping into Kyle’s bottle c. 2002

Now back to the similarity.  I’ve mentioned it a time or two, Kyle loves math.  Dad has always been good at basic math and measurements.  Now dad never had the opportunity to be education to the level Nicole was, but I bet dad could have done so.  Kyle and dad are both quick with numbers, rattling off and adding up prices and such.  Quick story time!  I know I’ve mentioned this one a time or two, but what the heck, it’s a good one.

Once, when we were visiting Nicole, we decided to tour one of the Smithsonian Museums.  Naturally, Kyle’s pappy had to buy him a souvenir.  Whatever the item was, dad got him two.  As dad and Kyle walked up to the register and before the lady could ring them up, Kyle spitted out the total.  Not only was it the total of the two items but Kyle figured in the tax.  He was actually off by a couple of pennies and that didn’t fly with Kyle.  He questioned the register and unbeknownst to Kyle, the tax was different then ours locally, so that explained the discrepancy.

Dad does the same thing when figuring out mileage and measurements, especially board footage.  Yep both quick with basic numbers!  I guess it’s there thing.

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Pappy & his Kyle on Kyle’s 1st Birthday 7/30/02

Dad and Kyle are also super friendly people.  For Kyle to be that way as a youngster, made me a bit nervous, but now that he has grown into a young man, it’s nice to see.  Dad will say ‘hi’ to any stranger on the street with a sincere smile, just like Ryan used to.  Kyle shares that trait as well.  Dad will look anyone in the eye, give them a good strong handshake and present a warming smile, before beginning a conversation with anyone.  Kyle with start up conversations with adults and kids alike.  He is learning the proper way to shake hands with someone and to greet them, but he always had the ability to make friends and be inviting.  All good qualities.

Dad is not like the typical ‘guy’ when it comes to directions.  He hates being lost and has no trouble stopping to ask for assistance.  Kyle has always joined dad in that demeanor.  Even in the grocery store, Kyle is the first to speak up and say “Can I just ask Aunt Heather?”  That’s my man, never has been shy about asking for anything!

I guess I’ve discussed personality traits and interests but I haven’t addressed body types.  Kyle is build exactly like my dad.  They both have a wide thick body, solid stocky legs.  Funny enough, their feet are even shaped the same.  Even when dad was at his thinnest when he was in the army and Kyle was at his leanest, neither one were built like Ryan, long and lanky.  They both have a study structure.

Kyle and his pappy, what a pair!  They certainly both need each other and even though they are similar in many ways, their opposing nature truly helps the other out.  They are a good team!

Read more comparisons
Who Does Kyle Favor More, His Dad?
Who Does Kyle Favor More, Aunt Nikki?

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Hunting & Fishing,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Happy Birthday Dad! – 62 Years & Counting

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Happy Birthday dad!!  Dad has hit the 62 year mark today!  Believe it or not, I think dad has been hunting and fishing for most of those years, longer than we were around and certainly a lot longer than Kyle has been in existence.  Dad is our very own Grizzly Adams or sometimes I like to refer to him by one of his heroes, Jeremiah Johnson.  Take a few minutes to see the many years of dad.

The upper left corner picture shows mom and dad boarding a bus from Aschaffenburg, Germany for a weekend trip to Holland in the spring 1971.  Dad was still in the army.  Going clockwise, the next picture is dad catching salmon in Michigan.  He said he went there with the Schober boys (family friends).  Below, is a picture of dad with his beloved grandson, Kyle.   That was Kyle’s first Christmas in 2001.  He was five months old sporting his red long underwear that opened up at the rear, similar to a pair dad owns.  Moving to the left, dad was sitting there watching TV or talking to someone, c. 1990.  Mom said the picture was taken during the time period before dad left for Colorado.  He went there to naturally go on a hunting trip for shoot mule deer.  Then, the picture directly above, is dad at Somerset Lake catching a pike, 1971.  Check out the 1966 BelAir Chevy right behind him.

Years-of-dad Aunt Heather Piper

posted by auntheather in Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Want to Go Fishing?

All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.  ~Harold F. Blaisdel

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Kyle waiting not so patiently for a fish to bite. 5/12/12

A few Sunday’s ago was mother’s day and that weekend was the 23rd Annual Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby.  As tradition dictates, every year I take Kyle.  Usually my cousin Casey, Kyle’s godfather, is present but this year he is waiting for his newest arrival to the family, little Owen Olczak.  The Fishing Derby is a really a nice event which supplies memories for a lift time.

The activities always start on Friday evening with a bonfire, food, kids running around playing and everyone setting up their tents for a night of sleeping under the stars.  All participants and onlookers bring a covered dish and the derby supplies the burgers, drinks, hot dogs, beer, and breakfast.  In addition to getting together to see everyone, shooting the breeze, and the anticipation of the following day, there is so much more going on.  An old friend of the family, makes popcorn in an iron kettle on the open flames.  The smell is absolutely amazing, it stops every child and adult in their tracks and sets them on a new course of action straight for the popping sound, while a few guys who always show up with guitars entertain the crowd.  Usually, Friday night is when the purchase of your very own Fishing Derby T-shirt takes place, not only to wear the next day, but also to sport for future events, a sort of trophy piece showing the longevity of one’s dedication.

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Congratulations Lexie Planinsek!! 22" trout

The next morning starts with breakfast at 7:00 am.  This year, as with most years we had pancakes, french toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns all made on an open flame in cast iron skillets.  Then there is also the fruit salad, donuts and all the covered dishes, veggies and dips delivered the previous night or spontaneously appeared that morning.  There is certainly never a shortage of food and no one ever goes hungry.  Sometime between waking up, eating, and continuing the previous night’s conversation, the kids set out their chairs, strategically placing them around the pond, guessing where the ideal spot would be to catch the largest trout to take home the trophy.

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Kyle & his pap catching fish at the Fishing Derby 5/12/12

The official start of the derby is at 9:00 am and includes a few Planinsek’s reviewing the rules, one being the maximum age to participate, which is sixteen years.  They give the same horror story of hooking someone’s nose while casting.  With so many children and adults around a small pond, and most of the kids not having the best aim, it’s good get a perspective on the dangers of fishing.  I always thought that story was an urban legend but alas Lisa (Planinsek) Singer confirmed it for me this year and it’s all true.  I guess about 30 years ago one of the Planinsek’s went to cast his line, and while he jerked it back to front, he managed to hook a nose.  The story takes a turn involving the emergency room for the removal or the hook, bringing us to the current day story.  Good learning lesson for anyone, experienced or novice. Then we say a prayer before the sound of the buggle calls everyone to frantically cast their lines.  The Fishing Derby has officially begun!

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Pap unhooking the fish & Kyle snapping a picture with his ipod Touch 5/12/12

The Fishing Derby is won by catching the biggest trout.  The adults can help the children cast, especially since there are so many lines entering the water all at once, it becomes a bit of a spider web.  But all children in order to qualify for the contest need to reel in the fish themselves, and naturally an adult or older child assists with a net, so as to not loose a kid in the water.  This year, two kids fall in, but exited the water as fast as they entered.  The 2012 winner was Lexie Planinsek who caught a 22 inch trout.  There is also a prize for the largest non trout catch, which was an 18 inch big mouth bass.  The first year they held this event Casey, becoming a legend on the hill.  My brother and cousins used to fish the event every year and now Kyle is participating in the tradition.  I am so glad to be sharing this experience with him and everyone.  There is not a better group of people who gather together that weekend.

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Kyle assists in making popcorn 5/11/12

Throughout the day Mick gives hayrides and the kids  always manage to concoct a mean game of dodge ball or two.  The kids aren’t required to fish the entire time, in fact they tend to get board of fishing after an hour or two.  The official derby starts at 9:00 am and goes till 5:00 pm.  You are allowed to keep three fish or you can toss them back and continue catching till you are in the running for the prize trophy.  One kid caught forty fish!  And what is surprising, he didn’t win!  Imagine his odds?  Kyle caught three trout and a few crappy, keeping the trout and tossing the crappy back.  Dad and Kyle cleaned his earned catch on Saturday night and fried them up on Sunday morning.  He helped mom bread and fry the fish and was so excited over his contribution.  Yes, I know I’ve mentioned it a time or two, but we love fried fish for Sunday morning breakfast, especially fresh fish.  It has become a tradition in our family and when I lived in Pittsburgh for a brief period of time, that was something I missed.

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William, Jacob, Sam, Emilia, Bill and Nina Enfinger all sport'in the Fishing Derby attire 5/12/12

Throughout the day, they sell pull tickets to win various prizes, 50/50 tickets, and of course tickets to the kids table.  Besides catching the largest trout, the next big excitement includes winning a prize off of the kids table.  As the day winds down and darkness approaches, everyone gathers under the pavilion where there is literally at least three picnic tables packed full of toys, trinketries, and stuff.  What happens is either the adults and many children, buy a ticket and put the child’s name on it.  Then after the awards have been handed out for the largest trout and non trout fish they start pulling names.

Handing out the trophies are a lot of fun especially when the child is young.  Everyone claps and cheers for the Fishing Derby winners for their coveted role and for their accomplishment, which will be recorded in history.  Then, the anticipation of seeing all the potential prizes are awaiting in front of the kids, who have managed to squeeze in the center of the pavilion, overlapping one another to get a good look at the activity.

One of the adults, either Beth, Lori or Nina start pulling a ticket and reveal the name of the first child who gets their choice of the stacked up items.  Then it goes in rapid fire, continuing the sequence of pulling another ticket and announcing another name and the child picking their item.  Some names are duplicated, sometimes all siblings are called one right after the other, and sometimes no child’s name is called at all.  When half of the picnic tables are visible, they ask to see a show of hands for those who’s name has not been called.  Those kids are allowed to approached the prize area to claim one for their own.

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Lexie was honored with winning this year's Fishing Derby! Ready to pull tickets for the kids prizes. 5/12/12

Once, a year or two after Ryan passed away, someone called Ryan Piper during the prize giveaway.  When the ticket was reviewed again, it was clearly marked Kyle Piper.  I guess someone was thinking of Ryan, or Ryan wanted to make his presence known and played a prank on everyone.  Regardless it was nice hearing his name and having him verbally included in the day!

It really is a good time, with everyone walking away with not only prizes but truly great memories lasting forever and a tradition that is still going strong.  It takes a lot of time and planning to pull this off every year between getting donations from local businesses, getting the apparel printed, preparing the food, the kids prizes, cleaning up the pavilion and having the pond stocked.  To everyone involved, Thank You for all your efforts and hard work!  It does not go without notice or appreciation!

And since it was Mother’s Day, to all those mothers, aunts, cousins, neighbors, friends, guardians and even some men who play duel roles of mother and father, Happy Mother’s Day!

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Cindy, Beth, Jim and Nina. No the fishing derby isn't such a formal occasion, it was prom on Friday. 5/11/12

posted by auntheather in Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Mind over Mythical

I’m gonna say this once. ‘Gonna say it simple. And I hope to God for your sakes you all listen. There are no Abominable Snowmen. There are so Sasquatches. There are no Bigfeet! ~Harry and the Hendersons

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Kyle at Youth Group's Easter Egg Hunt 2010

Probably about two summers ago my family took Kyle camping.  My mom, dad, my sister and Kyle went for an overnight stay not too far from where we live.  Unfortunately, I had a lot of work to do that weekend so I didn’t attend the adventure, but I heard all about it.  They packed up the fishing gear, the tent and off they went.  Evidently, as nighttime approached and they were nearing the camp site to pitch the tent, a snake crossed the road.  Nothing really unusual about that, they were after all, out in no man’s land.  Naturally, dad ran over the reptile without skipping a beat and proceeded to pronounce his disdain for snakes.  Dad, being dad, didn’t pay attention to Kyle’s reaction and didn’t realize Kyle’s thought process at that moment.  Then, I guess dad asked Kyle if he wanted to pitch the tent or just get a hotel room.  On a side note, I can tell my parents are getting older when they give a choice like that.  Also, keep in mind, the snake flattening instance was not far from the potential camp site.  Remember, this all happened within minutes of each other.  Naturally, Kyle wanted a hotel room, not because he doesn’t like camping or pitching the tent, but because he associated the snake with the camp site.  Mom said she saw the look on Kyle’s face during the short lived episode, which amounted to about 15 minutes of a conversation.  Mom said she instantly saw Kyle associate the snake, slithering on the ground, with their camp site and his sleeping quarters, residing on the ground.  I’m guessing Kyle never teamed the idea of snakes with camping before, but at that moment it was plain as day.

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Kyle playing with a bunny at Youth Group Easter Egg Hunt 2010

So now the story of the Sasquatch.  While they were laying in bed watching TV in a hotel room, a show came on about the Sasquatch.  Nicole said he was really tired but insisted on watching the show.  It was the same type of program that’s been on TV a thousand times before.  It usually includes sitings, supposed evidence, testimonials and such.  Now, while the show unfolded and Kyle intently watched the program, I’m guessing no one was aware of what was going on in Kyle’s head.  By the time the reality altered exposé ended, Kyle was now concerned he was going to run into a Sasquatch!  Nicole said she told him, ‘Kyle that’s just a show’, followed by Kyle’s response, “Ya Aunt Nikki, it’s on TV so it must be real.”  What?  I had no idea that Kyle believed just because a show appears on TV it makes it true.  Yikes!  Nicole called me to inform me about Kyle’s newest fear, the fear of the Sasquatch.

Supposedly, this obsession went on throughout the short weekend.  By the time they got home, dad was teasing Kyle about the Sasquatch and I couldn’t help but laugh.  I instantly tried to help the conversation by reinforcing what everyone was telling him, that it’s not real and the Sasquatch is not going to get him.  I even joked around saying, “You take Kyle for a weekend and you bring him back damaged goods.”

Being apart of our family, we don’t show much mercy, especially with a fear such as that one.  To this day, we still tease Kyle about the Sasquatch.  Especially if a show comes on TV regarding the subject.  In fact, because of Dad’s infatuation with outdoor TV and hunting shows, I always see this advertisement for Yeti coolers, another name for the Sasquatch.  Although I don’t think Kyle is aware and gets the humor in that commercial, but I totally crack up.

When dad took Kyle out hunting this past year, there were a number of joking comments thrown at Kyle.  ‘Watch out for the Sasquatch!’ and  ‘Don’t shoot the Sasquatch!’

Harry & the Hendersons Movie Cover Aunt Heather PiperNow what brought on this story?  Recently, we watched the movie Harry and the Hendersons, you know the comical movie about the Sasquatch that lives with the family and destroys their house.  Needless to say, Kyle got a kick out it and really enjoyed the story.

Yep Kyle will never live that one down.  I guess everyone has their own Sasquatch.  Of course most fears have actual phobia names.  Such as my sister who has arachnophobia (fear of spiders), my mom who has acrophobia (fear of heights) and let’s not forget mine, musophobia (fear of mice).  I don’t think dad has an actual phobia, he just hates snakes, but if he had the fear, it would be ophidiophobia (fear of snakes).  Although I wouldn’t call Kyle’s awareness for the Sasquatch a phobia.  After all, he is not paralyzed by the fear of the Sasquatch.  He still goes hiking through the woods with me and hunting with my dad.  But you know it’s an awareness that lives in the back of his mind.  So what’s your Sasquatch?

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Observation & Imagination,Travels and have No Comments
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