In early August, our nephew Sid asked if he could come visit for a week before he had to return to school. My sister Juli called the night before to be sure of the meeting location on the north side of Wichita, Kansas – the halfway point for both our parties to meet. Juli would be heading south from Nebraska and we would drive east and then north for about four hours. After settling on meeting up at a Cracker Barrel, Juli asked if it was alright for Sid to bring his own fishing gear. Immediately I was wondering where on earth I was going to take Sid fishing. I had not fished in years, and this time of year with the heat, fishing could be mighty slow.
So there would be plenty of room for everyone, plus bags and fishing gear, we decided to drive the old 1996 Ford Crew Cab pickup truck to Wichita to pick Sid up. Everything went well with the trip in “Big Green”, until our air conditioning went out on the way home. Even with the windows down, the 101 degree breeze did not do much to cool us off. And then, fifty miles from home, the battery warning light came on the dashboard. Fortunately, we made it home without any further complications.
Due to a deadline for a project at FD’s workplace, he could not take off work, and I was left entertaining Sid most of the week. And, with the truck having issues, it could no longer be our fishing vehicle. FD would be driving his two-seater car to work, leaving me the only other vehicle – our old 2001 Jaguar VDP. It runs like a top and is a comfortable ride, but I was worried Sid would be embarrassed – I mean, to begin with, who goes fishing with their auntie? And in a four-door Jaguar?
Being a dedicated fisherman, Sid could have cared less about the car. I got him a fishing license at Walmart the first day out, and by the second day fishing we had to stop at Walmart again so I could get a license. At first I had talked myself out of a license thinking I would only watch Sid fish while I read a book or took photographs. But after the first day, I had gotten fishing fever myself! No way was I letting Sid catch the big lunker without a challenge – the old competitiveness in me had returned!
Every single day, Sid and I fished. We packed up the old Jag and ventured off as soon as we had fed breakfast to Emma and Ronnie deer and did not return home until late afternoon. And as soon as FD got home from work at 4:30, we repacked and took off to fish some more. Most nights, we arrived back home after dark, ate a quick bite, and hit the hay. I was exhausted, but each morning I found myself excited about fishing again! One day, Sid and I ventured to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge to fish some small lakes there. Not having done our homework of mapping out where the lakes actually were, we spent a lot of time meandering around for miles in the car, looking for a lake without a map or cell phone signal… but it was an adventure. We spent a lot of time hiking to lakes, only to find thick algae and moss along the banks. On one of our hikes to a lake, I discovered a boggy area where hundreds of Common Buckeye butterflies were congregated. Of course, I did not have the zoom lens with me at the time. And while driving, we happened upon a lot of wildlife in the refuge that one does not always see close to the road. One old buffalo in particular, walked alongside our car for quite a little distance. Thousands of gnats and flies swarmed him while he plodded on, but I found him absolutely magnificent! Down the road a little further, were more bison and, another mile down the road, a herd of longhorn cattle. And, as we were exiting the park, a flock of black vultures were standing along the roadside – it’s a rarity to see black vultures. Most of the time we see turkey vultures in our state. Our fishing luck was not the best that day, but I think Sid enjoyed himself. I know I did, and I surely had better luck with my camera than I did with my fishing pole.
On the last day Sid spent with us, we ventured to Oklahoma City with one destination in mind – Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. I believe we spent nearly three hours there, and I am not sure what all Sid looked at, but I had an easy time finding him when I was done shopping. He was, of course, still in the fishing department where I had left him. After asking a pro about a bait casting reel and getting a demonstration of how to set all of the doo-dads (I can’t remember what all those thing-a-ma-jig knobs and dials are for!), and getting some tips about faux pas to avoid with bait casting reels, I had Sid choose the reel that he liked, and we found a nice rod to complete the rig. After that, we headed to his favorite Oklahoma City restaurant, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill. With all the fishing trips we had taken, this would be the first real lunch we had eaten all week. All of our other lunches were sandwiches and water, iced down in a cooler. Thinking back, those sandwiches and the setting we ate them in, were better than any restaurant had to offer.
And so the next day, it was not an odd feeling at all to ride all the way to Wichita, Kansas in the old Jaguar with Sid’s two rods and reels resting in the backseat, the rod tips poking into the windshield at the front seat. Indeed, the fishing nomads were on the road again! And all the way to Wichita, there was plenty of talk about how, the next time Sid visited, we could head further south and maybe hire a guide to do some serious Striper Bass fishing down at Lake Texoma. Yep, I am pretty sure my new fishing partner plans to come back next year…
© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…