Howdy, Neighbor. People have been telling Phil he's a good storyteller for a long time... so we are trying something new and pretty-much non-sales Just sharing occasional sweet stories, tall tales, and life lessons learned around these parts.Northwoods Notes are a new, semi-bi-irregular peek into the heart and mind of Phil Frasier… you can read or listen... whichever you prefer... and you are receiving a copy because you're a current customer of Frasier's Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We think you'll like them, but you can unsubscribe any time by clicking on the link at the bottom. But we hope you give us a chance!
One of my earliest memories was spending a big day out on a little lake in Rheinlander where my Grandpa Budreau lived. All of my siblings and cousins were there, too. But on this particular occasion, for whatever reason, they all went out somewhere and I hung out back at the house.
My Uncle Chet showed up and said, “C’mon, Phil, let’s go down to the dock.”
So we made our way down to the lake and he cast a little Mepps French Spinner across some birch logs my grandpa had dropped in the lake.
On that very first cast, Uncle Chet hooked a largemouth bass. Then he stuck the rod in my hands, knelt down behind me, and helped me reel it in. Man, it felt so good watching that beast at the end of the pole dancing on top of the water.
I knew right there, right then - much like that bass - I was hooked.
When everyone came back to the house, Uncle Chet told them that I caught the bass all by myself. Now, he and I both knew that was a little bit of a fish story ... but it still excited me to no end.
Y’know, I was four or five when that happened. But it still feels like it happened four or five minutes ago.
Little did I know that short trip down to the dock with Uncle Chet would spark within me my lifelong love of fishing.
When I was ten years old, I had a little eight-foot Pram Jon boat. Minnow lake was about a mile behind our house. So, one day, I threw my fishing gear in the boat and dragged it all the way down to the shore. Then I walked back and got my dad so we could launch the boat into the water.
But there was only one problem. I had dragged my boat over a bunch of rocks. So when dad and I got in, it leaked like a sieve.
We pulled the boat out of the water, carried it up to the shore, grabbed some rocks, and pounded over the metal. Once the holes were sufficiently plugged, we relaunched the boat and ended up catching several big bass that day.
Y’know, when I’m out on a lake with a rod in my hand, I can forget about, well, just about everything. Every word... every responsibility... every distraction... I can just turn it off.
I can be sick as a dog, but if I go out fishing, I instantly feel better. No kiddin’. It gives me health. It brings me joy. It gives me life. And it’s cheaper than therapy.
Okay, maybe not that last one.
Even if the fish aren’t biting, there’s just something about spending time on the water... hearing it lap up against the boat. Listening to the loons, the ducks, and the redwing blackbirds… it’s like the world pushes a big pause button and everything just stops for a while.
Man, I’m glad I stayed back at Grandpa’s house that day.
Thanks, Uncle Chet, for taking me down to the dock and introducing to me my one* lifelong love.
Anyway, that’s the way things are today in the Northwoods... where everyone’s a neighbor and some kid’s heart is just waiting to be hooked.
Take care, neighbor. Take good care.
P.S. - What about you? What takes your mind off the worries of the world? What’s your big pause button? What gives you life? I’d love to hear about.
*In case my wife is reading this, I should probably say that fishing is my OTHER lifelong love. I mean, it’s really more of a like. A lifelong like, actually. Y’know, a hobby. (All these years later, I’m still bailing water.)