This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

June 4th, 2001

Don't Be Afraid to Follow the Band

P.H. Hoeft State Park
I learned I couldn't walk on water at a very young age. My grandparents had a summer cottage just outside the P.H. Hoeft State Park north of Rogers City, Michigan. Wonderful sand beach and swarms of tiny minnows along the shore of Lake Huron. I found the minnows in the shallows extremely fascinating, I followed them up and down the beach not knowing of course I was chasing them! When they had enough and decided to swim out to deeper water where this little kid wasn't terrorizing them, I followed. As my head disappeared underwater, my grandfather grabbed me, applied a well directed swat to my behind and explained the error of my way. Seems I had also soaked a brand new pair of shoes - not recommended either.

Then there was the problem of running away from home. At least that's how my parents saw it. I really wasn't, but I loved music, and the high-school band practiced all summer. Every time they would come down Larke Ave., I disappeared. I was scolded, which made me feel badly, but the next time the band marched past I followed them again. Grandmother came up with a solution. There was a long clothesline in the yard, to which they tied a rope, and I wore a leather harness when out in the yard. It wasn't cruel, I had lots of places I could play, I just wouldn't be following the band anymore. Ya right! I honestly don't know how I accomplished it, but after the band went by, the harness and my little summer dress were on the lawn. I was not.

A 3-year old in underpants following the band in pure wide-eyed joy was not exactly what my parents were prepared for. This time they just went to the High School and waited for the band to come back. I don't know what the punishment was for that one.

Deanna, age 4 The next one probably changed my life. All my neighborhood friends were off to the first day of school in the fall. Seemed like a good idea, so I went to school too. But my parents hadn't registered me for school - I was four. I knew where I lived of course, the phone number and all that, so the Principal called my mother and told her I was in school. I truly wish I knew my mother's end of that conversation, but the outcome was . . . I started school!

Those three events probably tell more about me then - and now - as anything could. The curiosity, enthusiasm and love of learning are still here. I still have a 'child-like' wonderment about the world around me. The passion is still here and is what creates and fuels this website.

Fly fishing has been a part of my life since I first learned to cast my Grandfather's telescopic steel rod, with a hard-cover book under my elbow, at age eleven. I know I will never learn everything there is to learn about fly fishing - a blessing in itself.

With the help of my friends I do find great joy in passing the knowledge and traditions of fly fishing on. I sincerely hope you share my joy - and find a way to continue the legacy. ~ LadyFisher

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