December 22nd, 2003

By James Castwell

Many cultures, world-wide, have their ideas of who and what 'grandfather' is. Many often just call them grandpa in this country. One thing for sure, they are a special person. Any student of religions and cultures will recall some of the characteristics which sets 'grandpas' apart. They can often be accused with good reason for spoiling a child. Like when a kid comes back from his grandparents house, it takes three days to get him to behave again.

Nothing in the world is/was like our grandparents place, yours and mine. Just nothing; the smells, the looks, the things they had and how life was when we visited them. Mostly, grandparents did not come, you went there. And it was a good time. For many lucky ones, it still is and will be for some time to come.

Parents must make the rules and enforce them. Grandparents do neither, they just get to spoil and enjoy the grand-kids. And often take them fishing, sometimes even for the first time. It was my grandmother actually who took me trout fishing for the first time in a creek in Michigan, I was four I think. But, of all the things I must have done that summer, I do remember, digging the worms, seeing the creek for the first time, (she put the first worm on) holding the stick over the water, feeling the tug and jerking the poor little brookie out of the creek.

There was always something special about time spent with my grandparents, but especially grandpa as I called him. He worked during the day but often had time after that to take me fishing at a nearby lake. A boat with oars was our 'Queen Mary,' it was very old and leaked (wood boats do that). My main job was to make sure we had a coffee can and keep the thing bailed out. This was not a problem, it was important; I was important. Didn't all boats leak? I figured they did, ours was no different.

I learned many things from my grandpa. We fished for perch and blue gills throughout many summers in Michigan, and although I was too young to really discuss anything important about life, somehow he managed to impress a few ideas on me anyway. And this brings me to my point.

For those of you who still have grandparents, give it a bit of thought. You won't always have them. They have lived through a lot and learned many things, some things they know may actually be of value to you. Listen to them, ask questions. How about, "Grandpa, take me fishing?... Teach me how to tie flies?... Can we really build a fly rod?... Or, Grandpa, will you read to me?

To you who have grandkids, is there some time you could be spending with them these days? Is there, or are there bits of life's ethics that you can pass along to them. Not that their parents don't, or can't, but if you have the opportunity, are you missing any of the pay-off of sharing and teaching? These days parents are busy, way too darn busy in my opinion, doing all sorts of stuff, like making a living for one thing, grandparents may have a little more opportunity.

This season some of us will be spending time with our relatives, hopefully good, quality time. And some of us will only be holding them in our hearts, wherever they may be. Maybe you could make time to take your grandchild (fly) fishing when he gets home? No matter how old he is. Think about it, give it a chance. And meanwhile...

Let each in his own words and each in his own way, join together and remember the reason for this season. I truly wish each and everyone of you, the very, very best of holidays.

And from especially from James Castwell... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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