In their retirement years, my grandparents spent half the year in Mexico, and half in their cabin home in the mountains of Grand Lake, Colo.
To escape the cold, snowy winter months of the Colorado mountains, they loaded up their motorhome and headed for more temperate conditions in Mexico.
During the summer months, though, spending time with them in the beautiful mountains of Colorado was awesome. It was fishing, fishing and more fishing. (And Scrabble, too.)
My Grandpa Ray had his fishing spots among the lakes and reservoirs near his cabin, and there we caught some of the best rainbow trout. If you've never had fresh rainbow trout, you're missing out.
One of my favorite memories of my grandpa was when I caught my first fish.
We were on the way to visit my uncle Jim on Colorado's western slope, and we were in the motorhome. We stopped along the way and found a stream to do a little fishing. I was just a small boy, probably 6 or 7 years old.
I didn't have a pole to fish with, so my grandpa did what many grandpas would do: he made me one using a broken tree branch and some fishing line. He set me up by the river bank, and I was ready to go.
A short time later, I caught my first fish, and then another, and another. My haul that day was a robust three "dog" fish. (My grandpa called them dogfish, but in reality they were likely a mountain sun fish.)
I had a smile on my face for days, having caught those fish.
That was the thing about Grandpa Ray. My family was a large one, and he helped us all catch our first fish. It probably brought him as much joy as it did each of us.
A patient man, Grandpa Ray eventually taught me/us the finer points of fishing, including which baits to use and when (he preferred worms, mostly), how to set up a fishing pole with weights and hooks, how to "de-hook" a fish and how to prepare fish for cooking.
I'll never forget my fishing memories with Grandpa Ray. I'll cherish them forever.
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