Those that know me well, know that I don’t participate much in outdoor recreational activities, the more adventurous the activity is, the less likely I am to do it.
Canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and rock climbing to name a few.
To speak quite candidly – I am perfectly okay with it.
For you outdoor enthusiasts, trust me when I say, it’s not a need or a desire of mine.
However, I do delight in an outdoor stroll in the park or sitting in my backyard taking in the fresh air. I’ll even go as far to say, if I had a bike, I am pretty sure I would be fond of an occasional bike ride, especially around the lake.
A little confession…
Sometimes, when I drive down Lakeshore Drive, I yearn to be out there. I get caught up in the scene – the bike riders, the swimmers, the runners, the walkers – all the fit people of Chicago in one destination doing their thing, as I sit in my car taking a french fry out of my fast food bag.
But seriously, I do desire to be a part of that scene, and not a spectator.
For the last four years, with our church family, we have gone glamour camping, or as its known in our parts- glamping. Our cabin is always equipped with plumbing, electricity, and heating. Meals are cooked and prepared in a dining hall.
I was not always like this.
One of my fondest memories growing up was fishing with my family. Oddly enough, I used to get a kick out of putting the worms on the fishing hook.
For those that know me pretty well, yes, you read that correctly.
The night before our fishing trip, my dad and his brother Tomas (Tom Tom, as my dad would say, endearingly) would go purchase the bait- worms, night crawlers, and minnows.
Before sunrise, with our truck packed with fishing rods, folding chairs, a cooler filled with cold ones (what my dad liked to refer to his beer), and food to grill, we would drive out to Fox River.
As a family, we would each pick our spot by the river. My dad, grandfather, and uncle would strategically place fishing rods among the rocks, but they would keep one rod for them to hold.
We would release the line of the fishing rods into the river, and wait and wait and wait… until there was tug from the bottom of the line, and immediately, we would spring into action.
We would slowly reel in the fish, as we pulled the fishing rod upwards, being cautious not to break the rod.
A couple of hours before sundown, we would head back home, so my grandmother can skin and clean the fish, for dinner that night.
I recall one particular time, my father, his brother, and dad rented a little boat. They went up the river to fish, while the ladies stood behind.
When the men returned, my grandfather got out of the boat, and started swimming towards the shore where I was waiting with my fishing rod.
As he got closer, it appeared that he was having a difficult time standing up. I knew his knees were bad, so I quickly started searching for a long stick to give him.
I found a long, thick, crooked stick.
On the count of having to get the stick to him, I proceeded to take off my shoes and socks, rolled up my pants, and walked towards the water.
Once I reached him, he thanked me in English, with his thick, strong Spanish accent.
The stick enabled him to stand up out of the water, and walk to shore.
As I recalled this childhood memory, I am once again reminded how simple things, like a family fishing trip, can be such a treat.
It can also teach you a lesson on patience. Nowadays, we live in an instant culture (instant messages, instant coffee, instant alerts and updates, even the ever popular Instagram).
There is nothing like trying to catch a fish for hours, to teach you a little something about patience.
Now that I think of it, I don’t recall catching a fish that day, but I know I caught my grandfather’s heart. He wasn’t much of an affectionate man, but for years, he loved to recount that story.