Below is my account of one particular adventure I had with Gramp that I shared at the event. Enjoy!
I only have a few minutes to express how I feel about a man that I spent a lifetime with. Not what one would necessarily categorize as an easy task, considering all of the incredible times I was fortunate enough to spend with Gramp. It is likely couldn’t sum up what he means to me if I was given hours to speak instead of the few minutes I am provided. I must start by saying that I am very fortunate to have a Grandfather, who shared my passion for the great outdoors. In our times together, his love of Maine’s wilds and water was always tempered by his “safety” minded disposition and his strict following of all our state’s game laws. It would be rare, if on any outing we were not properly prepared for any cataclysmic event from a finger boo boo to zombie attack. This mindset has certainly served me well on many occasions and potentially saved me from harm or possible incarceration.
In thinking back to some of my favorite memories of Gramp, one particular calamity comes to mind.
It was a bitterly cold February sometime in perhaps 1980. I was about 10 years old and excited because I was about to leave Princeton and embark on an expedition with Gramp to that most famous of ice fishing hot spots, West Grand Lake. Somehow, perhaps through my trickery or his own daring (he was a young man of about 60 at the time!), we managed to get Gramp to drive his GMC pick-up onto the lake surface to the spot we intended to fish at for the day.
As I stated before, it was BITTERLY cold and it wasn’t long before Gramp and I were piled into the cab of the truck with the heater on full blast, playing cribbage, drinking hot coco and watching for a flag. Not to waste any chance at catching a fish, Gramp had rolled down his truck window a few inches and had his jig pole sticking out the window. Every once and awhile he would give the pole a little tug.
Getting eventually bored and restless from sitting in the truck, I decided to go out and check the ice holes, chip out the ice and check the bait. Gramp was busily talking with a few people on his Ham radio and momentarily distracted. I sense this was the perfect time to have some fun with old Gramps, so slowly and quietly, I crawled down under his truck.
As I belly crawled from the passenger side of the truck to the drivers side, I finally reached his ice fishing line, grabbed it and started pulling on it with all of the strength that a 10 year old could muster.
Well, the yelling and shouting that ensued in the cab of the truck had me barely able to contain myself as I continued to tug on the fishing line.
Now, in a horribly erratic and haphazard position Gramp began to simultaneously attempt to exit the vehicle, roll down the window, set down the radio handset, not spill his steaming hot coffee and still fight the WHOPPER fish he thought was on his fishing line.
What I heard form the front of the cab sounded something like this: HOLLY COW I GOT A BIG ONE, I MEAN A HUGE ONE! OUCH, OUCH HOT COFFEE! WHY WON’T THIS WINDOW GO DOWN! THIS IS K1HHC IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE . . . SOS!
Finally, with Gramps outbursts, I could no longer contain my laughter and I exploded with giggles. As Gramp exited the truck, he saw me flat on my back waving up at him. The look on his face was priceless, as he knew he had been had by a 10 year old. At that moment, on his face grew a HUGE smile and his stomach started to violently shake and suddenly he was laughing harder than I had eve seen him before. It was one of those moments that even 30 years later still makes you smile.
Happy Birthday Gramp! I love you!