Whenever I get a chance to make it back home to Sebec I jump at the opportunity. This past weekend I needed to head up to finish the new seats in my square stern canoe and install a new trailer plug and hitch onto my truck. These small items are just an easy excuse for me to spend more time with my dad. My dad is 72, but still works harder than men half his age, even with signs of slowing down. He will usually comment that he doesn’t have the same vim and vigor as he used to and my only response is “dad you are in your seventies, give yourself a break!” The only thing that I do give him a hard time about is not having enough time to go fishing with me. I understand why he has a hard time breaking away from work, but you could say that I am a little biased in this feeling. I think everyone should fish more. The world would be a much happier place if that occurred. Then again his hard work and dedication allowed us a great upbringing and to disparage that would be a mistake. I always want to spend more time with him regardless of what we are doing.
With open water fishing just around the corner I had to finish the new seats for the canoe and install them. Even if I am unable to launch my bigger boat during the early part of the season I still have plenty of places where the square stern canoe would be effective. Add in my small outboard motor and I can go pretty much anywhere. Having options is the key to being successful in the outdoors. I know some people would say “if life gives you lemons make lemonade”, but I am not a fan of that saying. Instead I say let’s make some strong coffee and get out on the water early and figure things out.
Any woodworking project with my dad is not an easy or quick process. If something is off we could be starting from scratch even if I insisted it was ok. It would drive him nuts knowing something was off. The only issue that we had were screw heads that kept stripping. That was an easy fix with a pair of plyers and a few extra minutes and they were installed. The biggest thing that I took from this process was that we did it together. Sure he did the majority of the work and I helped, but he was a part of it and that can never be taken away. Every time I look at that canoe and those seats I will remember my time with him.
Whenever I have time I always enjoy walking through the woods where I grew up and learned about nature. It was nice to be able to bring my wife and Moe with me to show them a place that is near and dear to me. Everyone has a happy place and this property is mine. My brother and I would always spend countless hours in the woods and one of our finest moments was cutting down a large tree with a wood saw used for finish carpentry. It never fell and was very anti-climatic as it hung up on other trees, but we had fun. As kids we also were always playing in the stream behind our house. There were and still are small brook trout that inhabit that stream and we tried very unsuccessfully to catch them on our homemade fishing poles that consisted of a fly swatter and a green army man as bait. We were creative, but not great anglers at that point.
Walking through the hemlock grove brought back many fond memories of spending late winter days meandering through the woods. Along the way there were always interesting things to see and experience. For instance we found a burl on a spruce tree, or more specifically, Moe noticed it first and stopped and stared intently at it. Kind of made me nervous until I could see what he was looking at. Even as we walked closer Moe was very intent and even stood up on the trunk to sniff the burl. I do not always take Moe on adventures, but when I do he is like a kid in a candy store. I love seeing him enjoying new things and he will be my sidekick on many of these outdoor adventures this year.
I know at some point in the future I may not have the option of walking the woods where I grew up. Regardless of having the ability to physically be on that land, I will always have the memories. Even now I will be walking through the woods and a smell or sound conjures up thoughts and feelings that take me back to that time in my life. Those are the memories I will keep with me forever where ever I roam.