Family and the outdoors are ever-changing

Published 1:08 am Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fishing is one of the outdoor activities that it seems everyone has fond memories of. Sitting on the bank with a cane pole catching bream, dipping crawfish out of mud holes to bait trot lines along the river or casting beetle spins for bass and bream in the many creeks that Mississippi offers. This time is also special because of the time spent with family and friends learning the art of fishing.

My memories are of camping in the swamp with my family when I was really young. My father was and is an avid fisherman and small game hunter. We spent many days in Old River camping and running trotlines and fishing for bream and bass.

Early in the morning we would get up and hunt for squirrel moving in the huge oak flats with the hue of the morning sun in the background giving away their slightest movement. After the morning hunt, it was breakfast and off to run the trot lines for channel and blue catfish. When the trot lines were all run and the fish collected and skinned, we would hone our skills at jigging for white perch. The afternoon would find us back in the woods for another round of spotting bushy tails in the oaks. When dark would hit, mother would have a big wash pot full of water heated over the fire and my brother, sister and myself would take our evening bath behind the tent, eat supper, tell stories and off to bed to rise in the morning to start the day over again.

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This was a typical camping trip for my family in years past, my how times have changed. If you told me that we would be driving four hours, sleeping in a nice house with a real shower by the lake and fishing for catfish and white perch with yo-yo’s, well I would look at you a little funny and doubt your sanity.

Well now-a-days, this is just such a trip that is common for us and recently we made the trip to our favorite get-a-way to fish and hunt, Lake Washington. Instead of running the trot lines we run yo-yo’s, round metal spring set lines that unwind the metallic band when a fish hits your bait and pull an average catfish out of the water. Yo-yo are one of the simplest forms of set lines that can be baited with worms or crickets for catfish or shiners for white perch.

If you are looking for a great family get a way to fish and relax, Lake Washington could be the place for you. The lake sits in the middle of the river delta and offers absolutely nothing but fishing. If you plan to bring kids or adults that are use to playing at Disney World on vacation, you just as well stay home. Not matter how or who you make the trip with, it is well worth the ride. If you do not have any yo-yo’s, don’t worry, there are plenty of green limber limbs, a favorite set tool of my brother Reed, to tie some black twine too and enjoy the jerk. This is a great way to share a mini-vacation with family, and as for me it was awesome to spend time with my Father, Crawford, Mother, Sue and Brother, Reed.

Elsie Kennedy, RIP

My family lost its Matriarch this past week, my grandmother Elsie Kennedy, when she past away Monday morning and went to be with her Lord and Savior. This was a mixed emotional time since “Mama” was 89 years of age and ready to pass on. The time spent on the farm, that I now live on, with her and “Papa”, is something that we grandkids will cherish forever, and I am grateful that she live to see all her great grandchildren born. The list of accomplishments this lady collected in the world of gospel music is absolutely to much to list, and many of you reading this was blessed enough to take music and piano lessons from her.

While at the funeral home with family, I heard a person make a statement about my grandmother that will stick with me forever. I really don’t remember who said it, nor to whom they were speaking, but the quote was, “if Elsie is not in heaven, there ain’t nobody there”.

This is a simple, but profound quote, and I hope that this can be said of my children, wife and me when we pass. To talk a good life is easy, but to live a good life is work and I saw the work before my very eyes in the years I spent with Mama. I thank God for her everyday as do all of us and I hope that you take time to tell your family how much you love and appreciate them this holiday season.

There will be plenty of time to hunt and fish, but when a loved one is gone, you can never have enough time to say goodbye. Don’t be “that guy” that has to be hunting or fishing every minute of the holiday season. Spend time with your family and as always, get outdoors and enjoy what God ahs given us.