• TheConfused Father

A Cherished Memory

If you were to drive down Old K10 Highway and make a turn down a gravel road that you wouldn't see unless you knew it was there, it would bring you across a train track and through a tree grove to an old stone barn back in the woods. If you kept going a little farther back you would find yourself looking at a cute little cabin overlooking Mill Creek. This is my grandfather's cabin, his little private getaway when the world is getting to him and a gathering spot for my family since before I was born.

I have been playing in that creek since before I can remember, and have many important memories there. My dad taught me to fish in the deep pool behind the cabin and where I caught my first fish. I learned to swim and canoe in that same spot. My cousins and I have built more forts and dams than I can count along its banks. My first s'more came from the fire pit in the front yard. Every year all the men in the family gather there as our base for our annual family fishing trip. I have been there almost every summer since I was born and today I got to share it with my kids.

It was an incredible way to spend a Saturday. Normally Erin and I try to avoid any unnecessary travel as it can be pretty rough with 2 one-year-olds, but it was well worth the trip today to get to make those memories with the kids. Spending the day in nature is always a good idea and the weather today was absolutely perfect. Cool enough that you didn't have to avoid the sun, but still warm enough Gabriella and I could go for a swim. Mom, Dad, my sister Alex, her husband Matt, and their son Benjamin (Gabriella's cousin) met us down there as well.

Watching my Dad try to teach Gabs how to fish was hilarious as he quickly realized that she needs at least another year before she is ready to try that. Everyone had a good time "skipping" rocks, which basically consisted of watching four kids under the age of three take turns throwing stones into the creeks calm waters. Which was still fun. Erin and Matt caught minnows, frogs, crawdads, and even a snake for the kids to look at and learn about. By the time all was said and done, Gabs and Ben had joined into the hunt and even managed to catch a few small crawdads themselves. Even though the boys were too young to do much other than sit and splash in the shallows they still had a blast under Grandma's (my mom's) close supervision. Much exploration was done as the day quickly passed and it was time to get cleaned up, changed, and head home. Everyone ate a late afternoon snack and we said our goodbyes, but before we left Gabs made Grandpa promise to bring her back again soon. (I think that means she had fun.) The kids, having missed their afternoon nap, were asleep before we made it down, the mostly grass hidden, driveway. My copilot/wife was asleep beside me before we found a paved road. It was a long day for everyone but I can't wait to go back next time.

The people we become as we get older is highly dependent on the experiences we have as children. That old cabin has had a huge impact on who I am; giving me a greater appreciation for the outdoors and nature. Exploring the creekbank with my cousins shaped my sense of adventure and the waters that run through them have fueled my love for aquatic-based activity, all my life. I saw part of my future daughter take shape in real-time today as she helped her mother catch the little crawdads in that murky creek water, smiling and laughing the whole time. There is no better teacher than mother nature and there is no better friend than the great outdoors. Introduce your kids to both of them at a young age and I promise you will be amazed at the things that they will learn and do.

But more on that later. I hope this post has found you in good health and of a sound mind. I am just another confused father from Kansas wondering ...

How did I end up here?


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