In the 70's I went camping with my family up to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. It was a wonderful time of immersion in Nature and allowed for self discovery.
One of my favorite memories from one of our camping trips was when I went camping with my Father, Brother and a friend of his, Sue. My Dad and I were in one canoe, and my brother and his friend were in another. We paddled over the lakes, portaged, paddled again and made camp. At some point we went out and went fishing from the canoes. We used worms and draped the line over the side of the canoe. We used Red Devil spoon lures: red and white, or black and white or green and white. My Dad inadvertently dropped my pole into the water. Uh oh. I cried. I was very upset. He looked at me, looked into my eyes, and dove in to try and get it. I felt bad that he went to all of that trouble, and felt very well loved by him for his trying. He did not find the fishing pole--he got hypothermia instead.
We got Dad back to camp and got him into warm clothes and got him into a sleeping bag and he rested. He warmed up and then after a while was fine. But, it was a scary time for all of us.
The next day I stayed with him in camp and my brother and Sue went out fishing near a river. They caught a lot of fish: small mouth bass, northern pike and they caught...my fishing pole! They snagged it and pulled it in.
We all were amazed.
Meanwhile, my father had felt so badly about the loss of my fishing pole that he had fashioned one for me out of a thick stick, a spare reel from his tackle box and guide rings he made from twisted strips of metal he got from an empty fuel can for our cook stove. With that fishing pole I caught the northern pike you see below. I was proud. He was proud. My brother and Sue were proud. I caught that fish in 1975 and I was 9 1/2 years old. My son is the same age now as I was in that picture.
Here I am holding the pike.
I'm now 42 years old. And, my husband and children and I are in a compact not to buy anything new for this year. What a quandary for my husband. What was he going to get me? He knows how strongly I feel about all of my camping experiences. He knows how they have helped to frame my view of the world and the universe and my place in it and my connection to everything else. So, my husband found this picture of me (I don't even know where it was) went out and found an ugly turquoise frame from a thrift shop, painted it black and framed the picture of me with the northern pike. Beautiful.
Yesterday, my husband had my kids make me cards.
My son's front, inside and back:
Note the "Hallmark" on the back?
I blocked out the names in my daughter's card to protect the innocent here...
See the "1, 4, 3"? That means, I love you.
Below, you see the mixer going at top speed as my husband made me "Dream Cake"--the cake we always make for birthdays.
1, 4, 3 family. I love you daughter. And you son. And you husband. And you cat. And you mom and dad and brother and sister and sister. Thank you, it has been a very happy birthday indeed.