Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank You from Fat Boy's Outdoors Blog

Thanksgiving Day is a day of reflection for me.  Many people celebrate this day as people have for hundreds of years by having a feast of turkey, stuffing, and many other Thanksgiving cuisine.  My family will also gather to celebrate this day.  Even though I'd love to be outdoors hunting and fishing, this is one of the rare times throughout the year that I get to see and enjoy the company of my family, where we can all get together.

In 2007, Thanksgiving turned out to be particularly special.  My Sister-in-Law, Ellen and her husband Pierre hosted a wonderful celebration and feast.  They had always extended invitations to my side of the family, and that year, my brother Kyle joined us in giving thanks.  Kyle lived about four hours away from me in Charlottesville, Virginia.  And, even though it really wasn't that far, we only saw each other a time or two each year, although we corresponded several times a week over the phone.  We both had busy schedules, me with work and family, and he with coaching swimming for a club team, summer teams, and a high school team.  We both had the same passion for the outdoors. Even though we both love to hunt and fish, he tended to love hunting more, and me a bit more on the fishing side of the equation.  Today, however, I'm particularly thankful for that Thanksgiving Day in 2007, as it was the last time that I saw him before he passed away.

My brother and all time best buddy, Kyle.
Since then, Thanksgiving Day has been particularly hard for me, yet, rather than look it as a day of mourning, I think of it as a blessing to have spent such a fine evening with my brother.  We had some great times on the water and in the field together, but the time that stands out most in my mind was that quality time that we spent together four years ago today.

I'm thankful to have had such great parents, both of whom had passed away several years ago, for guiding me throughout my life and keeping me focused on the things that are important in life, especially knowing right from wrong.  I'm also thankful for my sisters, Kathy and Karla, for all that they do but most importantly for their love and support.  And I thank the Lord Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, for having such a fine and loving family all of my life, for his guidance and love, and inspiration.

There are other things that I'm extremely thankful for, and one of those will be the pleasure of spending that same quality time with all of my family.  Because, you never know what the future will bring.  It's a happy time for me, a chance to share my outdoor stories with them personally, to exchange jokes, to reflect together about our lives, and to share thanks together.

I'm so thankful to have a loving and supporting wife, who not only puts up with all of my antics at home, but gives me the encouragement and freedom to persue my passion for the outdoors.  Thank you to her Sister Abby, and her friend Carol, for without them I would never have met the love of my life.

My daughter attends college just twenty minutes away.  But her studies keep her so occupied that I only have the opportunity to spend time with her a handful of times throughout the semester.  This is a time when I also get to see her for the weekend, not just Thanksgiving Day.  I have a great passion for the outdoors, but none of that time compares to the time that I get to spend with her.  Although, it's much better when we're both outdoors together looking for sharks teeth or fishing!

Mark with a Potomac largemouth.  That trip really got me out of my doldrums and back to fishing again after my car accident.  Thanks Mark!
As I write this post, I feel the need to extend my thanks to my friends who invite me to fish with them, or accept my invitations to have them fish with me.  I'm currently not a boat owner, so it's really special to me when I have an opportunity to fish with them on their boats.  It's not an easy thing to control the boat, often in adverse windy conditions and keep the guy in the back of the boat on fish, but all of them do it well, and I really appreciate their efforts.  The fishing is fun, but it's the company that's special.  For this year, I extend my thanks to Mark McWilliams, Bob Barber, Dave Roberts, Rusty Dillon (and also Donna) and especially Howard Boltz for not only inviting me on their boats to fish, but for being such good boat captains.

Thanks to my buddy Howard, for taking me fishing so often on his little Coleman Crawdad, and for his expert boat control that allowed the both of us to catch many nice fish and to have some awesome days on the water.
I used to be equally happy fishing alone, but over the years, I realized that it's not the fishing experience that means anything to me, it's the companionship.  This year, I've fished with several friends on and off the ice.  My buddy Kenny Land (and his son), and my daughter have shared some of my shore fishing spots along with Howard, and we had some great times and caught some pretty good fish.

I also have to thank my friend Steve, for allowing me to hunt at his hunting spots, and my friend Bob N. for allowing me access to his property to bowhunt whitetail deer.

Captain Dave Roberts with a fine Black Hills largemouth.
There are several fishing buddies that I'm thankful for their friendship that I didn't have the pleasure of fishing with this year.  Instead, I'm thankful for the fishing memories and the things that I've learned either from or with them over the years.  My thanks and appreciation goes out to Jim Cumming from Maine, Mark Sirko, Ken Askins, Carpcatcher Jim and Geoff Cirelli from Pennsylvania, Scott Freeman from Wisconsin, Jeff Redinger from Illinois, and Jay Dimig, Glenn Cumings and Mark Purisch from Maryland.  One more very good friend, who has been going through some tough times the past few years, is Bill May of Maryland, a great guy and I'm always thankful for what he's done for me over the years but also his continued friendship.  Bill, we have to get you back out on the water buddy.  Call me soon.

Bob Barber, not only one of the best anglers that I know, but also one of my best friends.
I'm thankful for the long term friendships too, like that of Brian Kopp, the best man at my wedding and a friend of mine for 45 years.  For that of John Bonchi, his Dad Al, for the many fine fishing trips and memories that we've shared over the years and will never forget.  If it wasn't for John, I wouldn't have taken up bowhunting.  And, if it wasn't for my friendship with him, I never would have met my wife!

I have made many friends over the internet of the years, mostly from fishing, hunting, and fossil forums, and now through the blogosphere.  I have three friends in particular that I've never fished or hunted with (but would be thrilled at the opportunity to do so), that have been a real influence and inspiration in starting and continuing my blog.  Thank you Bassjunky (Rob) for inspiring me to start this blog, and for promoting and following my efforts.  A big thank you also goes out to Tom Boyd, a.k.a. "Dad", for the same.  And for not only being a follower and for promoting my blog, but also for his expert advice on writing, and also his friendship, thanks go out to Gene Mueller.  The three of these guys write top notch blogs (and Gene also is the Outdoor Writer for the Washington Times Newspaper), and their blogs are linked on the right margin of my blog, so please visit them and post comments in appreciation for their efforts as well.

Thank you Gene, for all of your help and advice.
I've met many friends over the fossil forums too.  I've been collecting with a few of them, so thanks go out to Kevin May from Maryland, and the "Mikes" O'Shea from New Jersey, for spending time with me along the beach, and Kevin for taking me in his boat to some of his favorite collecting spots.  Thanks and appreciation for their on-line friendships to Daryl Sarafin and Mike Taggert, who is currently in Afghanistan serving our country (so many thanks for that too Mike).

I'd like to thank the administrations from the following web forums, for allowing me to promote my blog on their sites, Iceshanty; Myfishfinder; Myhuntingforum;; Riversmallies; Eastern PA Fishing Reports and a few other smaller forums that aren't currently open to the public.

Last but not least, I'd like to extend my thanks to you, the readers and followers of my blog.  Your continued interest in my posts inspires me to keep going.  Thanks for visiting my blog, and thanks for coming back.  I really appreciate it.

Finally, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving Day!

1 comment:

Jim C. said...

Another article straight from the heart, Kev. Thanks.

Jim c.