When Covid-19 hit, you could practically hear the screech of brakes as our country came to a rapid stop.
As in any pandemic, the best way to slow the spread of the disease is to limit human interaction. You cannot get rid of it, but by slowing its spread, you prevent hospitals and doctors from becoming overwhelmed and allow the nation, businesses, public utilities and families some time to cope with what became named the “new normal.”
Since people and their perceptions vary so widely, individual responses differed greatly.
Some people ignored or took lightly to the threat while others became literal hermits. But, no matter what the differing opinions might have been, our normal day-to-day activities, for the most part, ceased to exist.
My daughter Chrissy’s family took no chances with Covid and isolated themselves in their home, working there at their jobs while assisting their children with their school work.
Penned up like this while simultaneously addressing all the other issues life can throw at you is a tremendous challenge. As we know, having young, rambunctious children is a full time job in itself without being homebound.
Unable to socialize with others created previously never-experienced pressures which steadily build up month after month, with few ways to address them. Nerves became frayed as they, and so many others, struggled with these issues.
But, as vaccines become available and the spread of the disease has slowed greatly, things are opening up and new opportunities away.
Those things which we foolishly took for granted were suddenly revealed to us, and hopefully made us wiser and more appreciative.
Now that summer’s upon us and travel restrictions have been lifted, many desperate families immediately seized upon the opportunity to travel once again and planned a vacation. Great idea!
I firmly believe that planning a vacation every year is one of the most important things a family, couple or individual can do to balance their mental health.
It’s a bright-shining beacon despite your troubles and a reward to eagerly look forward to, to plan for and to encourage. It’s the carrot that keeps one moving, the “light at the end of the tunnel,” the reward you so richly deserve.
A vacation allows us to endure.
With these thoughts in mind, I immediately began my own plans. The fishing around here is not what it used to be, and I really wanted to take my 15-year-old grandson, Nate, to a cabin on a lake where he could catch some larger fish.
To date, our fishing endeavors have largely been limited to trout and sunfish with an occasional bass here and there.
Since he lives eight hours away in Rhode Island and we’d be leaving from his home, this vacation would have to be somewhere on the Northeast coast to remain with a reasonable driving distance.
Maine appeared to be the obvious choice.
That decided, onto the internet. Since I didn’t care to drive more than four hours, that time frame placed me near the state capital of Augusta.
The area was filled with glacial scour lakes and ponds, some with strange Native American names: Mesalonskee, Cobbosseecontee, Great Pond, Long Pond, Lovejoy Pond, and on and on. In fact, there are 2,677 lakes and ponds in Maine with no name at all.
Fortunately, I found a small resort with a cabin still available.
I wasn’t the only one escaping the Covid prisons of the homes at long last. Nate’s schooling ended June 22, so I booked our vacation the following week.
When I’d finished, a great thrill of anticipation welled up inside of me.
I felt so alive! A week with my grandson!
I drove to Cranston, Rhode Island a few days early to enjoy the family, but before I knew it, Nate and I were loading the car Saturday evening.
At 6 a.m., we headed north. We weren’t taking any chances on Route 95 around Boston, even if it was Sunday: 95 can be a nightmare.
Nate, a typical teenager, slept through Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Most of Maine. We arrived at 10 a.m., checked in and unloaded.
Then, we motored around the lade scouting in preparation for the following morning, since we don’t fish on the Sabbath.
We arose at 5 a.m. the next morning. Dancing mists swirled, and the smooth water reflected rock and pine.
Suddenly, the long, quivering, haunting cry of a loon echoed across the still waters. That eerie sound, the heart and soul of northern lakes, stirred our hearts and we grinned enthusiastically at each other.
The first hour was slow. One smallmouth on a spinner bait.
At 7, I decided to run over to a small bay where we’d located large areas of green grass mixed with other clean weeds. Green grass is a fish magnet, I’ve found.
I convinced Nate to use an F-11, black and silver Rapala.
It wasn’t long before a bass blasted the lure as he twitched it on the surface. Nate’s face registered shock, surprise, joy and concern as the bass ran and then jumped high out of the water.
After a spirited battle, I slipped the net under an 18-inch largemouth.
The smile on his face, the pride in his eyes as he held up that bass and beamed at me will forever be etched in my memory. But, even better, is the fact that we’ll share it together.