Party Time

Three Generation FishermenQuestion: Why would any self-respecting, sensible, mature woman choose to go fishing with her family to celebrate her birthday instead of spending a day hanging out at a spa or tasting her way through multiple courses at a gourmet eatery? Here are five reasons.

Reason #1 – Because her family consists entirely of males, all of whom jump at the chance to fish – especially if it involves fishing off a pontoon on a beautiful day. Plus, they get really excited about your birthday when it involves something they really like to do.

Reason #2 – Because said males made the effort to pull together a gourmet picnic lunch to accompany said fishing trip and you didn’t have to lift a finger. You just have to sit and smile a lot.

Reason #3 – Because cruising around a lake on a pontoon for an entire afternoon on a beautiful day is something you enjoy, even if no fish make it onto the vessel.

Reason #4 – Because spending time with your family can be more fun than spending the day alone – even if it means no masseuse is involved. 

Reason #5 – Because, hey why not? Maybe, just maybe, said woman likes to occasionally dangle a little bit of fishing line in the water. 

The big lesson I learned about choosing how to celebrate special occasions is to tap into the things everyone in my family loves. It is a blessing to think this will undoubtedly become a fond memory for all of us, especially my grandson. One of the best moments was when my he said, “I want to do this for my birthday.” I could have guessed that one. 

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Dads Ahoy

boat marina
In Towne Marina, Lake Waconia, MN

If I ran a poll of all the single dads I know, none would be likely to say raising their kids alone was a preference. My observation is they made the best possible choice under difficult circumstances, if they even had a choice. Dads who take on the solo role of raising kids deal with the same issues that single moms do. All single parents travel a tough road, however, dads often get little recognition for their efforts.

It doesn’t seem to matter if the kids are toddlers or teenagers. Single dads juggle work schedules, school schedules, home maintenance, and all the other details of daily living – cell phones in hand and timetables down to a science. Their favorite pastime appears to be napping, if and when said opportunities present themselves.

As a grandparent, you might have a single dad in your circle of family and friends. Consider it a chance to connect with two generations at one time with something good for all parties involved. The dads get an extra hand, eyes, and ears to keep track of the kids, the kids get extra attention, and you get to see the world through fresh, young eyes.

A few days ago, my husband and I took a couple of single dads and their kids fishing on a rented pontoon. We brought snacks, tackle, and poles. While the kids fished and ate nonstop, the dads kicked back to relax. We drifted our way into an evening that nobody wanted to end. It inspired me to consider other things we might do together.

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Get Hooked


“What do you think Papa would like to get for Christmas?” I said.

“A fish hook. Papa loves to fish.”

My grandson has already developed a taste for outdoor sportsmanship and is making future plans to teach his children how to fish. Truth be told, he is already an accomplished fisherman.


I dutifully added “fish hook” to our shopping list, knowing something my grandson doesn’t know: my husband has only a modest interest in fishing. His biggest incentive to pick up a pole and tackle box is that fishing is an enjoyable activity he shares with our grandson. That thought stayed with me through the day.

During the past summer, my husband took our then 5-year-old grandson fishing nearly every day – just to be together. My grandson initiated their expeditions by saying, “Papa, this is a good day to go fishing.” They returned home with catch-and-release photos as proof they really did get the big ones.

Generational lines blurred and bonding took place while they sat on the porch, recalling everything they did during that day’s expedition. “The days I spend teaching him to fish will pass quickly, but he will remember our times on the fishing pier for years to come,” my husband said. Papa is right.

Their explorations have already left a positive impression on our grandson. Kids remember the things you do with them. I still remember helping my grandma pick flowers from her garden. Find out where your grandchildren’s interests lie, and make a point of spending time together, exploring their world. 

What kinds of memories are you making with your grandchildren?  If you would, share one of your favorite grandparent stories on my website: