Thursday, May 9, 2013
April weather, family time
It’s hard to beat April in Mississippi, especially when the azaleas bloom late.
It’s been a rainy year so far, but sooner or later that perfect weekend comes with 68 degrees, crystal blue skies and flowers everywhere.
The hard part is deciding how to spend those precious perfect moments of weather. It seems we have one weekend of this bliss and then the mosquitoes hatch.
Saturday, April 20, we spent doing family time in the yard. The children didn’t seem too excited at first, but perfect weather makes almost any outdoor activity fun. Fourteen-year-old Lawrence complained the most, but once he learned how to use the weedeater, I think he rather enjoyed it.
Task number one: Cleaning up the pine buds that are everywhere. We have huge pine trees in our yard and they put off an enormous amount of organic material. One day, I’ll be able to stuff it all in a machine and out will come gasoline. In the meantime, it’s a real pain. We keep planning to chop some down, but they are truly magnificent trees and we can’t quite bring ourselves to do it.
Next year, I am going to delay cleaning the pine straw off the roof until the pine buds fall.
Sunday, April 21, was spent fishing with 16-year-old John, Lawrence and friend Elliot Weill. The Emmerichs have just enough fishing talent to make it frustrating and we failed to bring home the filets.
First up was a beautiful Madison fishing pond. How could the bass refuse to bite on such a beautiful day? Clearly they were not thinking straight.
Then we tried our luck at the spillway where half of Jackson apparently had the same idea. With the sound of rushing water ringing in your ears, there is always something particularly exciting about fishing the spillway.
Despite the crowded banks, everybody was friendly and smiling. The cultural diversity of metro Jackson was on full display. Truly, the desire to fish on a pretty spring day is universal to the human spirit.
A couple of small fry later, we headed to my cousin Ernest’s houseboat pier. Earlier this week, we had witnessed some anglers filling an ice chest with gorgeous slabs of crappie. (You can show your Mississippi roots by saying “white perch.”)
I had been dreaming of the crappie slabs all week long and was dying for a fish fry. Bass have a slightly peculiar taste. Brim are perfect but too small and bony. A two-pound crappie filet is heaven on earth. Surely, God would reward us this day.
We bought some minnows and plopped our hooks in the water. Within seconds, Lawrence had snagged a nice crappie. “This is it!” I thought.
Alas, it was not to be. Thirty minutes passed without a bite. The boys headed off to youth group just as Ruth showed up to fish.
Fortunately, I had some leftover worms courtesy of my spillway fishing neighbor. We wandered down to cousin-in-law Betty Barrett’s pier for some expert catfish fishing advice.
Ten-year-old Ruth has probably not gotten the fishing attention of her two brothers so I was delighted at this opportunity. Never have three catfish contributed so much to the joy of a father and daughter.
Ruth and I got home just in time for a sunset jump on the trampoline. Ruth has appointed herself my personal trainer and she pushed me to the point of exhaustion.
Resting in the hammock, we proudly surveyed the bounty of our backyard. “Dad,” she said, “We have everything: trampoline, swing set, zip line, hammock and a fort.”
Indeed, what more do you need on a beautiful April day?
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