Fishing & Fun

Every moment happens twice: inside and outside, and they are two different histories.  ~Zadie Smith

Kyle Aunt Heather Piper Planinsek Fishing Derby 5-7-16

Yep that’s the attitude I’ve come to know & almost tolerate from my 14 year old. My batman was trying not to smile, he had to look unfazed by his Aunt Heather…. ya right! Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/7/16

Yep, we survived the 27th Annual Louise Planinsek Fishing Derby, two Saturdays ago on May 7th.  Did Kyle go?  Of course.  Did he really want to go?  You know, I believe he did!  After all, he asked me about it, and dictated the time we were to get up and be there for breakfast, although he never expressed an interest in camping out Friday night.  Let me translate, that’s fourteen year old code for “I’m really excited about the fishing derby and I can’t wait!”

Kyle has always seemed to enjoy fishing, much like his dad and pappy.  Since the first day of fishing this year, Kyle’s been going with my dad nearly every weekend.  Let me tell you, that makes dad extremely happy, to spend time with Kyle, and to fish.  If I had to choose, I’d pick hunting over fishing, but I do love a fresh caught trout.

Kyle’s allowed to participate in the fishing derby until he’s sixteen.  It looks like he has another two years left.  He can always join in eating and drinking (nonalcoholic beverages), and I’m sure everyone would love to see him regardless if he fishes or not, but the rules state he can’t fish past sixteen.  However, he’d be really good at assisting the youngsters, if he’s still interested in attending the fishing derby by then.  Of course, I’ve learned with a teenager, you never know.

On Saturday, Kyle did just that, he fished, naturally, but he also helped his cousins with their bait and casting.  Kyle was surrounded by Hailey, Lila, Owen, Grant, and Olivia.  In addition to keeping the lines untangled and the hooks prepped for a catch, I gave Kyle another responsibility, a huge one at that.  What else could I possibly have expected from him?  After all, his attitude was stellar and pleasant, and he was having a great time.

I told Kyle to be on the lookout for kids falling into the pond.  It seems like every year one child manages to become submerged in pond water.  Especially since Kyle was within arms reach of the little ones, he had to keep his eyes peeled.  You know, I don’t believe I had to say anything.  Kyle acknowledged my request with an “Okay” and continued fishing, yet I sensed he knew trouble is a real possibility and he was ready for it.  Boy is that kid growing up!

Abby her boys and her dad Planinsek Fishing Derby 5-7-16 Aunt Heather Piper

Abby handing with her boys & her dad. Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/7/16

Was there a child to fall in?  You bet.  This year, Grant, Casey’s step-son.  He was okay and it didn’t seem to phase him.  This happened on the opposite side of the pond from us, Kyle was off the hook (pun intended).

It was at that moment, I saw Kyle’s maturity take shape.  He knew he was the older kid, not that adults weren’t all around at every two feet.  Kyle also trusts his swimming skills, as do I.  He was keeping an eye out for more than himself while fishing.  He was helping more than himself.  He was truly a little mature man.

To be honest, spending the entire day at the fishing derby from 7:00 am till about 9:00 pm was a long day, one I really didn’t want to go without getting some work done, yet, I’m glad I did.  There were times I thought about bugging out to work on my dog scavenger hunt events for Thrill of the Hunt, but then I thought, I never get to hang with Kyle and He only has a couple of years left to fish.  Plus, my parents weren’t there, again not that I didn’t have friends and family at every step, but staying was my way of showing Kyle we’re still a team, and I’m there to support him because he’s that important to me.

Boo and Bennet Planinsek Fishing Derby 5-7-16 Aunt Heather Piper

Uncle Boo with his nephew, Bennett at the Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/7/16

It was nice to see Kyle hang with his local friends.  They kept the tradition of dodge ball alive.  I did have to interject once.  I watched Kyle hurl the ball at a few slightly younger kids.  He certainly wasn’t trying to be malicious, Kyle was having fun and didn’t realize he’s gotten a lot taller and stronger than he used to be.  I simply asked him to not throw so hard and certainly not at anyone’s face.  He did give me a crappy little grin, like, “That’s how the game is won.” but after that, I never saw him face shot again.

We’ve had some ups and downs with these teenage years, but I’ll admit Kyle is a good kid!  He’s a nice guy, a little sassy, but his heart is still much like his dad’s and great grandpap Walter’s, good and sincere.

As Kyle was waiting around watching the seasoned gentlemen make breakfast, someone spoke up and asked who was going to do the french toast.  Kyle offered his hand and went to work.  The guys were impressed.  I wasn’t, I know what a good cook Kyle is and he knows his way around a skillet.  Unbeknownst to that crew, I’ve had Kyle cooking since he was little.  He did a great job and seemed to enjoy himself.  They all joked around, and said Kyle was now expected to help with breakfast next year.  I hope he does.

Lori Raffling off flowers Planinsek Fishing Derby 5-7-16 Aunt Heather Piper

Lori with flowers to raffle. Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/7/16

Now time for a funny, slightly scary story.  While I was among Kyle and the kids along the pond’s edge, I was helping Grant bait his hook.  To set the scene, Kyle had placed the earth worms on his seat directly behind him.  Just as I migrated into Kyle’s space, I bent over to retrieve a fat juicy warm.  I was met with something squishy and wet that hit me squarely in the forehead.  Just a fraction of a second beforehand, I saw and heard a few people jump and yell “Watch out!”  What was going on?  Kyle instantly turned around in confusion too.  What happened?

Kyle cast his line, without looking behind him, just as I moved in the exact location of the flying bait, causing it to hit me in the face with live, pond water covered group of warms strung on a hook!  The nearby witnesses thought I got a hook in the eye, but by the Grace of God, I was only smacked with grossness.  It took me and Kyle a minute to understand what happened, while everyone around looked upon us with freight and amazement.  Kyle laughed, as did I, even though it was a serious offense.  I know he didn’t mean it, but it’s true he could have taken out my eye.  It was a lesson for all the kids and a rather unpleasant one for me.  It was also partially my fault, I should have paid attention to Kyle, since I invaded his territory unannounced.

At the end of the night Cindy and Dave Planinsek, plus the rest of the Planinsek gang, who worked hard to organized this annually anticipated event, purchased a variety of toys and fishing gear for the kid’s raffle.  Tickets are purchased and each ticket contains the name of a child.  The booty is placed on several picnic tables for the children to see.  Names are drawn and the children, with major excitement, approach the table to select a prize.  This continues until all the items are claimed.  I wasn’t sure if I should add Kyle’s name to the list or not, so I chose to purchase tickets, better play it safe.  There were other items in addition to toys, such as fishing poles, tackles boxes and bags, hats, and such.  Why not?

Kyle Fishing Pose c. 2003 Aunt Heather Piper

How my little man has grown… He always did love to fish, real or plastic fish. (about 2 years old) c. 2003

While all the kids settled down under the pavilion, I looked for Kyle.  I asked around were that kid was located.  Only because everyone was in one central location under the pavilion, where he was suppose to be.  I eventually found Kyle hanging out by the volleyball / dodge ball court, talking with a few kids his age.  Boy how times have changed!

Kyle used to be the first one, up front, ready for the drawing to begin.  Now he was very blasé about it.  I told him to join the crowd, which he was hesitant, but did so.  I stood in the back, nervously waiting for his name to be called, knowing it was either a good or bad decision to purchase him tickets.

Finally, I heard, KYLE PIPER.  He didn’t seem to hear his name.  I walked over and tapped him on the shoulder letting him know he should go and get a prize.  His response?  He rolled his eyes at me and shrugged his shoulders like, “There’s nothing I want.”  To assist and keep the once exciting part of the day in momentum, I pointed to the fishing poles and such.  Without much effort, he selected a fishing pole.  Kyle’s name was drawn a few more times, which he graciously gave to his little cousins to take his spot.  At the end, I asked him where his fishing pole was?  His response?  “I gave it to Grant, he wanted it.”  Okay, buddy, that was a nice gesture!

I love that kid!  I’m already looking forward to next year, as I believe Kyle is.  It’s days like that, that I’m grateful to have taken the time to spend with Kyle and to appreciate the little man he is and mature man he’s turning into.

Did Kyle catch any fish?  He did, a very small blue gill.  Now that was a definite laugh out loud moment.  Aside from the three inch killer whale, Kyle had no other luck.

On another side note, Kyle woke up Sunday morning in a rather crabby mood.  Maybe he had too much excitement and needed more sleep.

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

Fishing Derby Pride

There is no secret to success except hard work and getting something indefinable which we call ‘the breaks’.  ~Countee Cullen

Thanks to everyone for making this event happen, especially Cindy and Dave Planinsek!  I know it’s a lot of work, but one worth it.  Like everyone else, my family looks forward to the Fishing Derby every year!


26th Annual Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby! 5/9/15

This past weekend was the twenty-sixth Annual Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby.  As always it was great time, and we were blessed with perfect weather!  No rain, no snow, simply a lot of sun, blue skies, white fluffy clouds, good conversation and the fish were biting, giving the kids and adults another memorable experience.

Similar to last year, Kyle didn’t want to camp out from Friday night to Saturday.  I offered with all sincerity, but he had no desire to rough it.  Instead, we stopped up at the pavilion Friday night to hang out, eat, socialize, eat and eat.  That’s one constant that I participated in on Friday and continued throughout the day on Saturday, eating!  Friday night, Kyle basically disappeared, for he was running around playing with all the kids.  I love seeing him have good old-fashioned fun of playing tag, exploring and climbing on the swing set and slides.  I too enjoyed myself, catching up with those I run into maybe once a year, and touching base with others I see more frequently.


Kyle made the leader board with his 19.25″ trout at the Fishing Derby. Not the winner of the day, but started it off right! First time making the leader board! Way to go buddy! 5/9/15

The next morning, as tradition dictates, breakfast was served at 7:00 am, or there about.  Unlike years past, Kyle didn’t want to get up early, my little man must have been running hard and needed his beauty rest.  Once he cracked his eyelids enough to let the light in, we packed the car with his fishing gear, and he was ready to join the festivities.

After the announcements were made, rules outlined, prayer said and the bugle called, all fishing lines were cast.  Who started off the leader board?  You guessed it, Kyle!  I was thrilled for him!  In all the years we’ve been coming, he’s never once made the leader board, let alone be the first kid to catch a fish.  He was so excited, he was jumping around more than the trout in the net.  I know he was even happier his Gigi and Pappy (and possibly me) was there to witness his victory, and yet disappointed his Aunt Nikki was on the road, not there yet.  His trout measured nineteen and a quarter inches.  That’s a big fish!

Did he take home the trophy for the largest trout?  Nope.  He was twice kicked out of the top spot with Jacob Singer taking home the gold with a twenty-three and a quarter inch trout.  Congrats buddy!  Was Kyle upset?  No, he really wasn’t.  In years past I could’ve seen him devastated over the loss, but he’s maturing and was truly happy for Jacob.  Now that’s sportsmanship and that made me proud.  However, that wasn’t the proudest moment of the day.  It was what happened before the fishing derby that touched me.

As tradition dictates, about a week or so before the fishing derby, everyone, mostly the Planinsek family, gets together to clean up the pavilion, split firewood, lay gravel or mulch or whatever is needed and stock the pond with fish.  Believe it or not, it might seem like a laborious day, but it’s a fun one with everyone working together.  I wasn’t able to help this year, but Kyle did, all day!  So back to my initial thought.  What made me so proud of Kyle?  His work ethic!


Me & Kyle at the Fishing Derby after his big catch of the day. 5/9/15

Between Friday night and all day Saturday during the derby, at least a dozen people independently came up to me with complete sincerity, and informed me of how hard Kyle worked that Saturday, in preparation for the Fishing Derby.  It wasn’t simply a blanketed statement either.  I was told when one task was completed, Kyle would ask what else needed done.  According to eye witness accounts, he worked really hard and afterwords played hard with the kids.  Now that made me very proud!  I guess Kyle is a true Piper, even though he hides it when asked to do work around the house!  I’ll take it though, Kyle being well-behaved and hard working with others, yep those are qualities worth mentioning.  That’s my not-so-little man of thirteen years.  And you know what?  He never said anything, but I know he too was proud of his efforts he put into the Fishing Derby and the bond that was forged from such hard work.  I wish more kids would have such opportunities to feel a sense of accomplishment and teamwork with such a great family.

A special thanks to my cousin Casey Olczak and Boo Planinsek.  They offered to clean Kyle’s trout for him.  I was going to, but they were on a roll, so who am I to stop them?  They also gave us a few extra unclaimed fish for Sunday breakfast.

See you next year!


Casey & Owen at the Fishing Derby. 5/9/15

On a side note, Kyle made it very clear this year that he doesn’t like his picture being taken.  Can you tell, I cared?  (sarcasm)  However, Kyle barely got his fish out of the pond before he was reaching for his phone to get a picture of his trout!  I guess, we are a lot alike, whether he’ll admit it or not.


Planinsek Fishing Derby breakfast. Fueling up for the fishing adventure! 5/9/15


Kyle made the Fishing Derby Leader Board with his 19.25″ trout! 5/9/15


Kyle at the Planinsek Fishing Derby. Mom, Dad and Roger Parks watch our young participants. 5/9/15

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

Gathering of the Olczak Family

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.  ~Leo Tolstoy


Kyle (Katie’s dog), Katie, her mom Irene & Katie’s hubby Ryan. Lisa front & center with her son Dominic. Olczak Reunion 8/23/14

This past Saturday was the very first (at least in many, many years) Olczak family reunion.  For some, it was the highlight of the year. (My mom being one of them.)

I always talk about the Piper reunion 65 Annual Piper Reunion, now I have another family function to attend, straight from my mom’s side.  Granted, this reunion was much smaller in size compared to the Piper get togethers, but there was no shortage of GREAT food and good conversation.

This gathering was in the planning stages for quite some time now.  Between my mom, my cousin Paula and my cousin John, they’ve been organizing and charting and listing all preparations to make the day a success, and it most certainly was!  They got the ball rolling and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  Of course, with such a great family how can you not?

This year it was held at the Planinsek Pavilion, the exact same place of the annual Fishing Derby Story & 25 Annual Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby  We had the comforts of the pavilion as well as a bonfire.  Did I mention there was a ton of delicious food?  Yep!  Without short siding anyone, I would like to call out a few dishes.  My cousin Joe butchered one of his cows just for our fresh burgers and someone brought garden ripened tomatoes to accompany the fresh meat.  Mom made her haluski, Cooking with Kyle – Gigi’s Haluski the noodles were done from scratch.  She probably made too much, but nothing new there with Gigi.  My cousin Paula (Ryan’s godmother) made my Aunt Mary’s (her mother’s) apple strudel, which was AWESOME!


Cousin John Klotz, his dad Pete & my mom, Elizabeth in background. Olczak Reunion 8/23/14

On a side note, once mom and I tried to duplicate the recipe and more importantly the technique, without much luck.  We did manage to stretch the dough over the edges of the kitchen table, but also manged to tear large holes throughout.  Perhaps that was the reason for our lumpy and a-symmetrical rolling results.  Granted, with anything that involves cinnamon, sugar, butter and flour, how can you ever go wrong?  It just wasn’t the same but I must say, the experience was worth it.

While talking to Paula in regards to the apple strudel, she mentioned that she added a secret ingredient, one her mother never used.  This mystery factor helps to make the dough more pliable, especially in the humidity, which it was.  Paula never divulge this information, instead she said if we wanted to learn all the variables in her recipe, then we are come to her house and help her make the apple strudel.  Good plan!  I’m in!

During the reunion I learned a lot about the unknown Olczak side of the family.  Yes, there is no denying we are indeed Polish, which was no secret, but I didn’t know grandpap Olczak (my great grandpap) had a first wife who died before marring my great grandmother.  Therefore, I have distant half cousins I never knew was family.  The same situation happened in the Piper family tree.  I have half cousins on both sides of the family.


Closest, Linda (Joe’s wife), Jim Olczak, back his brother Joe Olczak, their sister Paula Klotz & their brother Bill Olczak. Olczak Reunion 8/23/14

John also mentioned about our cousin Jean-Luke Olczak from France.  Apparently, after one of the World Wars, his family migrated to France and there he remained.  Although his last name is now spelled differently, he traced his family back to ours and we are related.  John keeps in touch with him every once in a while and mentioned about inviting him to the reunion, but he guessed he wouldn’t have made it.  That would have been really cool!

So did anyone speak Polish?  A little.  Mom was impressing our small crowd with her Polish counting abilities as was Jim.  Although, there were some discrepancies.  I’m guessing everyone who knew Polish as youngsters is now a bit out of practice.  From what mom told me, all the kids meaning my grandpap Chester, Uncle Walter, Uncle Tex, Aunt Helen, Aunt Emily etc didn’t learn English till they went to school.  Imagine that, your first language was truly Polish!  The next generation down, my mom, my cousin Jim and Paula etc knew some Polish words to speak but could understand the elders speaking in some conversations.  Alas those days are no longer.  I wish I was taught Polish growing up, but along with the elders it too died in the family.


Cousins playing at the Olczak Reunion. On the bike is Hailey, Giana is pushing her, to the left Kellia & Maddox & Lila.  Ryan is standing facing us. 8/23/14

I will admit, I tease about these family functions, but I do love my family, both sides.  I am one lucky gal to have great cousins and uncles and aunts.  It’s nice to sit around and shoot the breeze with family and tell stories or listen to stories either forgotten about or never heard.  Marybeth was there with Mikey (Yes, Karen’s crew is related on both sides, Jim and mom are cousins and Karen and my dad are cousins.  Piper’s are everywhere!) and she said it best.  You never need friends when you have such a large family, friends are already built in.  We all agreed!  Don’t get me wrong friends are wonderful and needed, but family is the best, especially with our group.

I look forward to hanging with the Olczak’s next year.  Maybe we can get Maryanne and her crew to come down from Seattle for the occasion.  Perhaps Nicole, Casey and Christina will break away from their busy lives and make their appearance.  John already mentioned about uncovering the Olczak family crest and getting Polish beer.  Paula was talking about raffling off a piece of Polish china.  This year mom purchased a clock with the numbers written in Polish for the door prize.  Yep, I’m guessing it’s going to get more intense year-over-year.  Cześć (Bye)

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Family,Farming & Planting,News,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing and have No Comments

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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!

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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.

kyle-&-pappy-watching-TV Aunt Heather Piper

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!

kyle-&-pappy-napping Aunt Heather Piper

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.


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

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


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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
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