An interesting vacation

June 16, 2008

Faith Outdoors

Our family got to spend last week at a lake near Bemidji. The good news: The lake was beautiful, it held some nice crappies that we caught and cooked, and my new boat worked splendidly.

The bad news: The weather was stormy and volatile all week, with lots of rain, high winds and cold temperatures. Get this: The high last Wednesday was only 49 degrees! Hard to believe it was that cold in the middle of June. But, that’s the kind of year it has been.

Amazingly, despite the cold, the mosquitoes were out in full force. In fact, they were abundant and ravenous. And, try as we might, we couldn’t keep them from infiltrating the cabin. So, by week’s end, we all were sporting welts aplenty.

Yet, there was much to be grateful for. And, I led our family in a short “gratitude” session on the drive back home. I feel it is important to cultivate the virtue of gratitude. So, I instructed every member of our family to say aloud things he/she is thankful for. It’s a good thing to do. And, it can help us keep a balanced perspective.

I, for one, am grateful for the wonderful couple, Bill and Margaret, who let us use the cabin in exchange for some photography services. They stayed later than they wanted to on the day we arrived to make sure we knew how everything worked and where to find things that we needed. And, Bill came up the night before we left and helped me load my boat onto the trailer the next day. The heavy rains had left the steep gravel loading ramp soft and our minivan does not have four-wheel drive. So, I was worried about being able to drive back up the ramp with the boat on the trailer. Bill and his son, John, came to the rescue with a four-wheel drive vehicle and some muscle to get the boat on the trailer and up the ramp.

Bill also has a nice fish-cleaning station set up on the back end of the garage. It features a nice, tall table, which meant I didn’t have to bend over and get a sore back from cleaning the crappies I caught. And, best of all, there were not one but two electric fillet knives at my disposal. I have been curious about them and have seen others use them with great success. I had been wanting to try one and, last week, I got my chance.

I’m happy to report that the Mister Twister electric fillet knife performed magnificently. It was easy to use and fast. Someone had told me previously that it takes a while to learn how to use it and that I should plan on ruining a few fish during the learning process. In this case, I botched only two of 21 crappies on the first try and zero of six on the second. Pretty good “filleting” average, I would say.

Upon returning home, I did the natural thing: Put that knife on my Father’s Day list. And, my wife, Julie, happily obliged. But, I’m not sure, at this point, if it means I will get permission to go on more fishing trips. For now, I’ll stick closer to home.

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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek