Thursday, July 21, 2011

Family Post: Ma Barker and Her Gang

Mark and I did indeed go up the mountain to fish, but we also went for Family Camp, an annual church event. Some years there are many, many extended family members here, but this year it was small and relaxed.

Fishing is woven into the culture here, and it's understood that if you fish and you come to Family Camp, you will fish. It was a treat to have a look in Ben's tackle box. He grew up here, hunts and fishes the area, and was happy to give Mark some advice and an old Rooster Tail he had. We hope he'll also be happy to take Mark and me back up the mountain this fall to a few of his secret spots to see if we can find a good buck or two.

More of the family--Kim and the boys, and Isaiah's girlfriend--came up Saturday night and Sunday. They were just in time for supper and a big community campfire--and dessert.

The boys did their bit Sunday morning by getting up at 6:15 to help cook breakfast for everybody. First chore was to fetch water--good, cold, sweet water--from the old pump. Jeremiah and I filled four buckets, and he wanted to drive the wheelbarrow to get his buckets back down the hill. He made it without spilling a drop.

Then he could rest and get warm by the fire--no heat wave here--while Isaiah filled a couple more buckets. Isaiah just strong-armed his buckets back downhill.

Breakfast was delicious and plentiful, as were all the meals.

The boys like it up on the mountain. Some years they have brought gangs of friends with them, and there have been other kids their age. This year--how things change--Isaiah had his girlfriend along, but Jeremiah hadn't been able to find a friend able to come. And the people there--well, they were mostly old. Thank goodness for I-pods.

The family left for home Sunday afternoon after Family Camp was over, and Mark and I stayed over through Monday. Before they left there was time for some mountain amusement. Jeremiah did a little fishing, something he and his buddies had excelled at with worms in years past. But this year we didn't have worms, only lures, and as I said in the fishing report, the fishing was tricky because of the high, fast water. One false move, and your lure is wedged irretrievably in the rocks. Jeremiah lost two lures and gave it up.

So then we broke out the guns. It wasn't as bad as it sounds. Just a couple of .22's, a handful of bullets, and a few chunks of wood on a stump to plink.

But it was fun.

One of the rifles is probably 35 years old, the other 25, and both are well-seasoned and have brought many rabbits, and especially squirrels, to the pot. Wish you could have tasted my squirrel stew back in the Midwest. It's good to have the boys learning how to use them. Isaiah has expressed interest in hunting. Around here it will be deer, not rabbits or squirrels. So we'll see.

So we had a good afternoon, Ma Barker and her gang.

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