My mom wasn’t much of a fisherman.
To be honest, she wasn’t a fisherman at all.
Oh, she loved lake life. She loved being at our cottage in Wisconsin with her family. She loved touring the lake on our pontoon boat, the late-night card games and just sitting out on the deck with my dad and relaxing as she took in the moon’s glimmer on Lake Sherwood, where we had our summer place.
But she didn’t fish.
That’s not to say that she didn’t appreciate the values of our pastime, though. She was always there to greet us when we pulled our boat up to the dock. She would shout the same words every time. “Catch anything?”
She laughed when we came in one day after staying out too long in a storm. We caught a stringer full of fish that day and we couldn’t wait to show the women. There was only one problem. In our haste to get back to the dock, we forgot to pull up the stringer.
By the time we got back, we lifted the stringer, eager to get a hero’s welcome. All that was left of the walleyes and crappies we caught were a few heads.
It wasn’t that funny to my brother-in-law and me at the time, but it is now.
Yeah, those were good times. Our family looked forward to the weekend, when we would make the drive from our home in Rockford, Ill., to spend three days at our cottage in central Wisconsin.
Mom couldn’t wait until Friday night when we would drive to Wisconsin Rapids for a fish fry at Ebbe’s Restaurant. And she loved frying up the fish we would catch over the weekend.
But she had no interest in catching those fish herself. I could never figure out why. My dad and I loved to fish, and we went out every day.
Even when the fish were biting, we’d ask her to go along and she would always answer, “That’s OK. You boys go out and have a good time.”
She knew fishing was a big part of our lives and she appreciated that. She just loved having family together – first her kids, then their spouses, and then their kids. That’s what mattered to her – family. She loved having her grandkids up at the lake, swimming, building sand castles and fishing off the dock.
Looking back, I’m just glad that she loved lake life so much…and that she cared enough about us that she would sit patiently and listen to our fish stories and smile when one of us caught a big fish.
My mom passed away in 2008, and I think about her all the time. Especially on Mother’s Day.
I miss you, mom.