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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I’ve got hopes of spring. Or something resembling spring.

So much so that I FINALLY took the flannel sheets off the bed (after 6 months…and no I don’t mean the same set had been on for 6 months!). I’ve returned to our summer sheets. Dan noticed immediately that I was putting the summer sheets on. He thoughtfully helps me with the task of changing all the bedding but doesn’t let me forget that it will be all my fault if we revert back to winter temps. To quote Dan “These damn cold things. Ya know you should have left the flannel sheets on a while longer. Ya know what will happen now.” He said the same thing when I got my spring hair cut a couple weeks ago.

Friday was a gorgeous day here; clear up to 74⁰! We managed to get a lot of things done but not all that we had hoped to get done. We’ve started putting the plumbing back together in the bathhouse, got the pop up camper all spit shined and put back in the garage and tarped over. Then we went around and checked picnic tables to see which ones might need boards replaced. So far we need about 16 boards. We’ve been putting it off a couple of years hoping the economy would improve. Now, we can’t wait; it needs to be done.

We even managed to set on the deck and enjoy the birds for a while last night. And we talked about fishing, which is something we haven’t done in a LONG time. I use to LOVE to fish and Dan tolerated fishing. My grandpa got me started when I was a “little whipper-snapper”.

Dan tries to fish; he watches fishing shows infrequently. But when HE sets a hook, all he comes away with is fish lips. I’m not saying I can out fish Dan but he is the first to admit, if we had to depend on him to provide fish for a meal, we would starve.

I feel badly for a kid who hasn’t had at least a chance to go fishing. But what is REALLY sad is when you come across someone who is over 70 years old and has never ‘wet a line’.

Such is the case with an old man we use to know. We were gonna go out fishing one evening and asked this old fella if he’d like to go to, not knowing at the time he had never fished. We gave him a rod to use and headed out into the middle of the lake. We put him in the middle of the boat, with one of us at each end of the boat….just a little boat, nothing fancy.

It was a HOT summer day and I was dressed in shorts and a halter top (you can tell it has been a while ago from my type of clothing). The old guy THEN told us he’d never been fishing and didn’t know how to swim! We both thought “Sure; he’s yanking our chain and will out fish the two of us combined.”

I could see the old fella was having problems getting his line ready. So maybe he really did NOT know how to fish? I finally asked him if he wanted me to hold the butt end of his rod. He got red in the face and said “In front of others?”

He added extra sinkers on that line …well let’s just say there were enough sinkers he could knock out a fish so it would float unconscious to the surface. He finally got into the whole thing of picking out his bait of choice from the tackle box. We had just purchased some artificial worms so he was rifling through the box asking questions about spoons and anise scented worms. He started reading info to us from the “wrappers” the artificial lures were in. We we were already cast out and fishing away…just waiting for him to join in. He came across something else to innocently read to us. I don’t remember the exact phrase, but it was along the lines of “THE ULTIMATE FISHING LURE!!! FOR THE SERIOUS MASTER BAITER!” When he realized what he had read and how he ran it all together, he once again became red in the face. (This was almost as bad as the day my Grandpa told me he must have lost one of his rubbers out of the back of the truck on the way home! He meant BOOTS, but being in 9th grade I didn’t take it that way!) The old guy decided to just go with leaf worms.

His first cast landed with a SPA-LUNK and not too far from the boat. He reeled her in and tried to cast out again. It became apparent to him that nothing really happened on that cast except the line was still behind him. He said “Hey! I’m stuck on something!” He kept yanking on that thing till I finally screamed “You are stuck on MEEEEE!!!!” He buried that hook deep in my back. I don’t know what the heck he thought he could have been stuck on OUT in the MIDDLE OF A LAKE so WHY did he keep yanking?? Why didn’t he check it out first? OH! Right!!! HE really did NOT know how to fish!

We couldn’t get that hook out of my back and had to go back to shore. It appeared his first “cast” had whipped the worms off the hook so at least I didn’t have that to contend with (other than some worm goop). We tried again to remove the hook. Between the tears and cussing, it was decided that I needed to go to ER. Of course it was a weekend and couldn’t get in to the Drs office, so had to go to ER! HOW embarrassing.

We dropped the old fart, er, the old GENTLEman off at his house before leaving for the ER.

We were good-naturedly (yeah, right) waiting our turn when we heard the nurses and others start to snicker. It must have been THE day for fishing and casting catastrophes.

When we looked up, there was a man and his son that we knew standing there at the area where you check in at. This man is HUGE; he must be 5’6 TALL and 6’ across….and he had a green artificial worm (which had 3 or 4 hooks) caught IN HIS NOSTRIL!! This artificial worm is about 5 or 6 inches long and MOST OF IT was hanging out of his nostril. Every time he talked, that green worm, dangling from his nose, wiggled and jiggled. You could NOT help but laugh. He tried not to laugh because when he did, it made him scrunch his nose and made it hurt worse. (Maybe this was the start of nose piercing??)

They came and sat across from us so we compared our “catch of the day” stories. I tried so hard to not laugh at him but it was the most ridiculous looking spectacle and I KNEW he was in pain.
Everything came out OK for the both of us (literally) but we never doubted anyone again who said they had never been fishing.


  1. Cathy, we're looking forward to doing some fishing at Bauer Lake this summer, but hopefully not with the kind of luck you've described!

  2. Dan and I haven't had a license in YEARS. We hope to do some fishing while we're in Texas next spring...we'll be staying on a lake.

  3. Gary Hookway...Battle Creek,MI9:26 AM

    LOL....Your fishing story is too funny, reminds me of humor written by Pat McManus for "Outdoor Life" or in his books. I was stationed at Ft. Hood in Texas back in the 70's and caught my only alligator gar pike while there.....UGLY fish ! Still hoping to find better job down here to to be able to vacation and fish the Taquamenon again.

  4. Gary, I KNOW who you are referring to!! He use to (and maybe still does) write a humorous story in some sporting magazine we use to get.

    Alligator gar's ARE ugly! Dan and I saw one someplace and I can't remember where it was.

    Good luck with the job search!

  5. Cathy, Your writing does remind me of Patrick McManus. Very funny. Have you ever read any of his books? They are great. Start with The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw.

  6. Brenda, I have seen one book of his that I can remember the title of, at least I THINK this is the title...They Shoot Canoes...or something like that. I will try to remember to do a search for the book you mentioned. I doubt our "local library" has it! Maybe Amazon might!

  7. That story was a classic!!
    I love to fish too...learned from my brother when I was little...we taught both our daughters (and now grandkids) too. My daughter's husband never went fishing in his life either...
    I can't imagine not going fishing. It is genuinely therapuetic!!

    The Retirement Chronicles


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