When we were children our parents took us on a lot of fishing camping trips. They would pack the camp stove and a grill, fishing rods, sleeping bags, clothes, the tent, food, and so much more into the station wagon. After years of doing that our dad bought an RV. Even though we didn’t sleep in a tent anymore it was still camping but without having to set up the camp which we had to find and then it took hours. The RV was cleaner, dryer, and we had our own bathroom with a shower. My brothers and I loved those trips together so long ago. Mother and dad made the trips fun too, like when we played mind games or word games, dad and my older brother liked to play number games. Sometimes we listened to our parents as they told us stories about themselves and of their parents and siblings.
We had responsibilities too, like finding our sleeping bags, extra clothes, and put an extra pair of shoes in a bag, and place it all on the top bunk bed. We carried our rods and tackle boxes out for dad to pack for us. He put the night crawlers we caught, in the dark each night for a week, into the refrigerator. Dad used his fly rod and reel and made his own flies to fish. He taught us all to fish with fly rods when we were big enough to get the swinging of the line right and even mom learned. We hardly ever used our rods with spinning reels after that. It was easier to get a small hook with a fly on it out of fingers or whatever part of our body we happened to catch. Triple hooks were the worst to get caught with, for us that is, not the fish.
Before the light of dawn, on Friday, dad and my brothers went off in the old station wagon to catch minnows and crayfish to use for bait. When they got back dad put the minnow buckets into the large cooler he had strapped to the wide area of the rear bumper.
When they had gone mom got up and gathered up all the cooking stuff she would need to take along. She always made good things to eat for the five of us, sometimes there were more if we were allowed to take a friend along. She made macaroni and potato salads and often baked a cake to take along. She cut slices of ring baloney and cut cheese into small squares and packed it into Tupperware containers for snacking. There would be chips and pretzels, red beet eggs, bread and butter, (my favorite food), fruit, milk, soda, and so much more. Once she had it all together she took it to the RV with a little help from us.
After the breakfast dishes were washed and dried she made one more trip upstairs. She got herself an extra outfit ready and another one for her middle child, the accident-prone kid, the fall in the creek kid, the slam a finger in the door kid, the fish hook in a body part kid because she knew he was the one that was likely to need more of everything.
When we had everything ready to go and everyone was present and accounted for, we climbed in the RV and we were off on another fishing camping trip. Mom and dad rode up front and shared the driving and we sat in the back and read or slept or we sat at the table and played cards.
I remember this trip like it was yesterday because we all caught fish, and there wasn’t a broken bone, or fish hook in a finger, not even from the middle child! His not having any accidents on this trip was a welcome surprise, but that wasn’t the only surprise. This time dad was the wet one. He caught the biggest fish, a brown trout and he had it reeled in and in the net. Then when he was taking it off the hook it slipped out of his hand and when he grabbed for it, he lost his balance and in he went.
Mom had this rule about cleaning fish, if you catch the fish you clean the fish, and then she would fry them up for us. Oh, and if she was frying the fish for dinner then we could clean the fish she caught too.
We have told our children many stories of our fishing and camping trips. They have repeated the stories to their children and grandchildren. They often tell us and anyone who will listen to the funny and not so funny things that happened on their family trips. Ancestors who have passed on will forever be remembered as they tell these stories to their children and grandchildren.
We had great parents who reared us to be good honest people.They were so very patient and understanding with us.