Six of our grandkids, along with their parents, have either been to Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, a Major League Baseball game, and some other world famous vacation spots since the middle of June.
Between our crew they have covered most of the bases between Orlando, Florida and southern California.
Over the last four weeks, the grands and sires have covered approximately 6,000 miles and crossed well over a dozen states. As vacations go, they did a lot of getting around.
As I sit here pondering their adventures, I can’t help recalling the vacations my three brothers and I enjoyed when we were grade school boys. We each got to spend a whole week with one aunt and uncle or another within eight miles of Blair Branch and that was it for school vacation.
I would bet big money that a week on the North Fork of the Kentucky River at Uncle Jim and Aunt Alpha Adams’s place was worth far more to brother Keith (Keeter) and I than anything my grandkids got out of their theme park extravaganza. Around the first of July we would catch a break between the hoeing and canning seasons of the six or so acres we had scattered around at both the head of the holler and two miles down the road at its mouth.
Late in the day on one Sunday afternoon each summer, Dad would drop us off at Jim and Alpha’s place where we could sit on the back porch and practically spit into the river. Part of the deal included hoeing and weeding their vegetable garden. It was only about eighth of an acre and half of that was the tater patch. It was already spotless when we got there because Aunt Alpha kept it tended as carefully as a city-park flowerbed. Still, we had to walk the rows, just in case a weed had dared to sprout or tater bug needed squashing.
Well before noon on Monday it was time to spend the next several days fishing and/or catching bait. Uncle Jim had a 4×6 feet minnow seine and several genuine bait buckets. Catching soft crawfish, chub minnows and the ever-elusive grampus (hellgrammites) in his bait-gathering equipment was, at the very least, as much fun and as challenging to Keeter and me as actually getting any of that bait onto a fish hook.
We also dug red worms, grub worms and any other sort of thing that wiggled or crawled that we figured a fish might eat and stored them in gallon lard buckets. No digging was allowed in Aunt Alpha’s huge yard, which also required a thorough mowing during our vacation. However, if they were placed back exactly where they originated, a virtual trove of creepy-crawly fish enticing critters could be found beneath the dozen or more plant containers she scattered around the place.
There simply isn’t enough space in this column to describe the actual fishing trips we took with Uncle Jim, but I believe the stage is set for next week and I’ve already had as much fun just getting ready for that than I suspect my grandkids had on all their recent excursions. I’d also bet that I’ve done far less complaining.