This Could Be a Long Posting: Pictures and Pontification

 The furrowing wake of The Tub “loaded for bear”, that is, for fishing, with fishermen large and small. That old boat can actually put a small breeze in your face these days. The little people loved it. We swung away from the dock and headed straight for our fishing hole from long ago. As soon as we settled in, it began to pour down rain. We didn’t feel skunked. Instead we felt triumphant because we got a small ride and we proved that you can equip and launch four small children and five adults in a very short time.  So the next afternoon when the sun was actually shining we re-enacted the whole thing even faster. We added a boat and three more children and three more adults. We caught fish this time, too. More on that later.

 Our canoe was quite worm and fish and moss and mold infested, so Jenny and Karynn and I gave it a bath one day in the sunshine. Now it is clean and usable again. This is the canoe that we bought new for our camping trip for our 25th anniversary. I am still a little sappy about this boat. We can either paddle it or use the motor. I like that I am very close to the water for fishing or photography. Elv gets nervous when the water is choppy with this canoe, but we’ve never tipped it and we’ve been out in it in all kinds of weather. It always brings us home safe and sound. Right now, I’m in the market for a trailer for it, so that we can stop having to heave it on and off the roof of the Jeep and the motor can stay put instead of having to steady the canoe while Elv tries not to fall in or drop the motor in the wrong place with the canoe wobbling from the moving weight of man and motor until it lands in the correct slot. (Nice long run-on there for you.) But wow, that’s about the way it is. Try that after dark sometime. It adds to one’s repertoire of life’s experiences.

 The raspberries have berries! Amazing. Gwen pretty well kept up to them while she was here. We noticed that there are more to pick now.

 And the holly hocks are holly hocking quite nicely now. No rust and lots of pink and maroon. Great drama for my little acre.

 Grandpa Elv and Jimmy enjoying the ride on our way to the fishing hole.

 Fishing for sunnies and bass. There’s nothing like a boat load of Graber people arranged in a row up one side of The Tub, and off the ends too, for that matter, with lines cast. Bobbers on green water. Don’t think for a minute that all six bobbers are sitting in a quiet silent row bobbing peacefully. We get bites, we get our lines caught in the tree branches (catching a perch), there are hidden dead snags under the surface too, but that’s where the best fish are, three bobbers duck out of sight, then the singing of the line coming in with the bobbers darting in all directions and the triumphant catching of a keeper. It’s a busy time. Never mind the idea of quiet fishing. Elv has long since debunked the whole theory that you have to be quiet to catch fish; the opposite is true. There’s a lot of yelling for more worms when you’re sharing two tubs of them with eight different people trying to fish up and down the boat.
    Bass have to be 14 inches long to keep and who has a ruler, anyhow? So we make pretty sure about those before keeping them. They’re fun to catch too. I discovered to my sorrow last night that I need new line in my pole. “The big one” made off with everything but the bobber. Makes you feel sick compared to the fun of hauling it in two seconds ago.

 A beautiful little sail boat was out there on the lake, too. It’s hard to operate a fishing rod and a camera at the same time, but I keep trying to do it. At least I get the event recorded pretty well. And now and then I get a big fish and a pretty picture on the same event.

 Jenny always lands “the big one”. Elv and Gabe look on enviously and proudly at the same time. See how she releases her catch like a pro? Elv eyeballed it for size and they decided that it was borderline enough to release.

Gabe and Jenny decided to spend their summer vacation at our house. What a happy time we had together. They visited around to the others, too, of course, but we got a lot of coffee times, fishing, riding on Grandpa Elv’s machine, sewing and visiting, and family times with everyone in.

 Clark’s do super on the boat.  The boys had  new poles. By the time Clark got them all strung and ready, he didn’t get much fishing in this time, but by next time he will. And when you have effectively four lines out there, one for each child and you and your wife, you ramp up the chances of catching a few by quite a way. It just takes some patience and what my mom calls “stick-to-it-ive-ness”.

                                                    Happy little boy faces. Myles and Asher.

                                            Happy big boy faces. Grandpa Elv and Clark.

 Then we played croquet on Sunday afternoon. What a funny blast this family is by now. Most of us hadn’t a clue how to play and others of us have to read the directions for ourselves to make sure being poison is “even a thing”. The children played next to us in the park after they figured out that we weren’t going to share our game with them. And the babies tumbled among and between as they wished until picked up and moved to safer spots at times.

 I love this man with a croquet mallet in his hand and smile on his face. He works hard for us: on the job, in the church, at home, and on his knees.
We decided to share everything almost 34 years ago. And it’s been quite a ride: raising seven children, cabin living, and praying together in the morning. Morning coffee, evening walks, patio suppers, outsmarting rodent bears, canoeing, fishing, riding in the machine with him, and talking. And talking. Elv says it takes so much talking to keep me happy! That makes me smile. He defaults to hermit-isms if I let him. So I get him to talk. All that bunk about letting a man have cave time? Not good! It would ALL be cave time. But then, I can talk too much, Anyway, it’s part of our story.
What’s being threaded into your story? It happens so quickly. There are patterns already in your tapestry. Gotta watch those patterns. I read back one day in the journal and discovered that I wasn’t so proud of a couple of the patterns I found there. I needed to change to being more grateful and happy. I needed to give some of those old griping, poor-me attitudes some push-back. Me-ism looks terrible on the tapestry of life.

 These are the same guys that take their jobs and Jesus and family and home seriously. Bill caps and bald heads and faded jeans notwithstanding. Sons. God Bless ’em! I’m proud of them.
We pray for all of our children understanding that the world they’ll be raising their families in is even crazier than the one in which we raised ours. They have the same Bible and the same God we did, though, so it’s going to be alright. Prayer and diligence and vigilance.
Get after it, guys. We’re behind you.

 Chicken fajitas for Sunday supper on the patio. There’s a nice line-up of what keeps life ticking in our family these days. Elv and I had forgotten the decibels. The married children assure us that when they’re happy noises, it’s a fine thing. So we’re not debating it. There was mostly happy noises and it was mostly done outside, so it’s all good.

 Now that’s a clean canoe all ready to putter away from dock. Elv and I and Amy tested it out last night. Now it was too quiet. I can’t be pleased. But fishing was really nice. We caught a meal in no time flat including a big-enough bass. The panfish are nice this year, too.

And there’s my usual bobber picture.

The only thing I did to this photo was to add the little black hazy border. Otherwise, it’s raw and untouched. And the accidental silhouette above makes me feel quite pleased. Wisconsin, Elv’s missing fingered hand, the fish, the pole, yes, it’s perfect. Memories that are distinctly our own.

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