GAYS MILLS - Last week those of you who faithfully turn to page four each week may have noticed my column was missing.
Rest assured friendly readers, no further tragedies have stuck the Schendel-Dremsa household—we were only on vacation!
A couple of weeks ago, I alluded to the fact we were heading out to Hayward for a quick, last-minute family vacay.
I had decided to just pull the trigger on this monumental family event, because Chasca especially had just had such a negative last few months. I didn’t want 2018 to go down in the books as a total year of bad news.
I have to report it was as much of a roaring success as a last-minute vacation with friends, an infant, toddler and five year old can be.
We all piled into Chasca’s gold SUV with the third row. Thatcher and his companion Daisy were tucked away far back in the third row. Luckily, the other set of parents were in the middle and were able to frequently answer the question “is that your kid or mine screaming?”
The two got along quite well surprisingly, Daisy, the five year old is a loving mother hen and taught Thatcher the ABCs and made up stories for him to listen to in between movies, naps and coloring. There was only a few isolated “Mom, Thatcher is hitting me, pinching me, tickling me!”
We arrived at our humble campsite right on schedule and were greeted by minimal mosquitos and a quiet site with no neighbors! We even had our very own port-a-potty across the way.
With four experienced campers, the site went up quick, and the 1978 camper was surly a dandy. Our friend John and been working hard to restore the relic to a useable condition after it had been sealed for the past 10 years. It was right at home surrounded by all of the extremely large and deluxe model campers throughout the rest of the grounds.
When visiting Hayward one of the absolute must-dos is visiting the Fishing Hall of Fame, which boasts the Worlds Largest Musky Statue. I of course remembered it being a lot bigger in my childhood, but it was grand nonetheless.
The fun train was only slightly derailed when Thatcher, who was well past nap time, decided to have a full-on meltdown in the photo-op outhouse inside the beloved boat motor room. He apparently did not want to share the two-seater shack with John and Daisy for a photo, but rather enjoy the accommodations himself.
Since I had been there before and seen all of the mounts, lures and motors there are to see, I opted to be the one to carry the screaming toddler outside, surfboard style. For some reason that day, there were several senior citizens flocking to the fish, all of whom flashed me with their knowing smiles, without a doubt recalling the moments they too had to wrestle a overtired, unruly toddler out of a location. Luckily, a curious chipmunk was rather fascinated by the small screaming human and stopped to gawk along with the grandmas and grandpas of the world and this brought the squeals to a halt as Thatcher raised a small finger and said “mama mouse!”
Feeling pretty hyped after seeing so many enormous mounted fish at the fame, we decided to bust out the poles and give it a try ourselves.
I reached pretty far back into the memory bank to a public boat landing my parents always used to take us to when we grew weary of fishing the same school of blue gills at our resort.
Luckily for me, my brother is an obsessive researcher of fishing locations and had the address of the landing saved away somewhere in the digital cloud.
Much to the delight of everyone, the lure-sized perch, bluegill, sunfish and even rock bass were striking everything we dropped in the water. There even came a point where Daisy scolded her dad for not sharing her pink fishing pole, as he himself got wrapped up in the joys of endless fish biting.
While baby Forest and his mama strolled around the area, Thatcher decided it was his chance to catch one on the bright orange (adult-sized) pole his great uncle Barry had given him for his first birthday. By a stroke of luck, his vigorous pole wagging landed a feisty, albeit tiny, bluegill. With a little help from his ‘Dah,’ Thatcher proudly reeled in his very first fish. He squealed with such delight, I am sure the every boat on Lost Land Lake heard him when exclaimed “Mama! Bee Bee caught FISHY!”