Grandkids — The Good, the Bad and the UglyIt seems like just yesterday I became Grandpa Roger. Now Sam, the oldest, is 15. I well remember the pre-grandpa days. Friends would dig photos out of a purse or billfold and brag about these precocious urchins. I’d think to myself, “Get a life!” Since then times have changed. Now these photos are stored on cell phones.
By: Roger Wiltz, The Daily Republic
It seems like just yesterday I became Grandpa Roger. Now Sam, the oldest, is 15. I well remember the pre-grandpa days. Friends would dig photos out of a purse or billfold and brag about these precocious urchins. I’d think to myself, “Get a life!” Since then times have changed. Now these photos are stored on cell phones.
As you probably know, I gave three of the grandkids shotguns for Christmas. Though Sam has already taken two deer, he didn’t have a shotgun, and I gave him a Mossberg 20 gauge over & under. I gave his identical twin sisters, Gabrielle and Grace, youth model Remington 870s in 20 gauge. You can imagine how thrilled I was a few weeks ago when the girls called to tell me that they had passed their hunter safety tests with flying colors.
I’m looking forward to seeing those first pheasants fall come October, and I’m hoping that Grandpa Roger, along with their dad, can lead the three on a South Dakota deer hunt next fall. (Unless it has changed, South Dakota will give them nonresident doe tags next fall at no cost.)
In the meantime, I promised all six grandchildren a Canadian fishing trip for this coming summer. Three of them, Gab, Grace and Sam, will take me up on my offer. However, we were faced with a decision dilemma. I had originally planned to take them to Pete’s up on Pickle Lake, Ontario. Pete would fly us into a remote lake teeming with walleye and northern pike. Granted — we would be roughing it. Is survival possible without a flush toilet?
Their mother, LuAnn, had some apprehensions about my plan. If they got bored, and there was nothing to do but fish, they could make everyone miserable. Also, they don’t like long rides. Pickle Lake is a 20-hour trip. The girls are just sixth-graders, and perhaps their mother’s concerns were valid. I needed to think about a Plan B.
A few years ago, friends Greg, Jerry, and I went to Clark’s Camp on the Indian Chain of Lakes, just 10 miles north of Vermilion Bay, Ontario. Our goal was big muskies. We caught small muskies, some northern pike and walleyes. All in all, I’d call the fishing slow when compared to how well we would do at Pete’s. However, there were other considerations.
Clark’s cabins have electricity along with air conditioning, plumbing, etc. There is a beautiful sand beach for swimming. There’s also a game room, and there would be other kids to play with. Clark’s would be 12 hours on the road compared to 20. Also, it is only 10 miles to town. To LuAnn’s way of thinking, this would make a better “first trip” into the north woods.
To my way of thinking, comforts and amenities are a far distant second to the quality of fishing, but I must also remember that not everyone thinks as I do. We have decided on Clark’s.
Unlike everyone else’s grandchildren, my grandkids aren’t perfect. However, the truth be known, I believe many grandparents have discovered that being a grandparent is not easy. I’ve seen those twins throw tantrums that would turn a Women’s Christian Temperance Union member to drink.
This past winter, Betsy and I stayed with our Kansas granddaughters while their parents went golfing in California. Hannah is 12, while Madison is 7. These are the same girls who turned into excellent fisherwomen last summer. Unfortunately, Madison thinks that whatever her older sister has or does, she should be able to have or do. It’s a difficult situation.
On this particular Saturday afternoon, Hannah was playing with her iPod. Madison wanted the iPod, and she literally attacked her older sister in an effort to obtain it. Betsy wrestled Madison to the floor in an effort to restrain her. When I began to worry that Betsy might get hurt, I grabbed Madison, put her over my knees, and gave her a thorough spanking. She then ran up the stairs to her bedroom.
I feared looking at Betsy. I thought I’d get the riot act. When our eyes met, she very calmly said, “It worked.” About an hour later, Madison came to me and said that she was sorry. We will never have another problem, and I look forward to their parents’ next vacation. Though they may not admit it, children like fair, firm, discipline. I know Madison would not have tried this in front of her parents. She guessed wrong on her grandfather. Oh yes. These girls chose soccer games and a sports camp over Canada.
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The application deadline for South elk licenses is May 18. Doug, my partner, and I currently have 10 preference points for an “out of the park” rifle hunt. We are due to draw a license. At our ages, we are rolling the dice as far as putting our hunt on hold, but I want to pass on this year’s hunt and hope the herd will rebuild within the next few years. At 11 or 12 preference points, drawing should be a slam dunk.
*See you next week.