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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?