SENIOR PORTRAITS - Ray Kauffman Photography

June 30th, 2013

Took our first fishin' trip together, today, Sam-o!! You'd fished with both of your Pappy's before, but this was the first time it was just you and I. Until now, birthday parties, t-ball games, and bad weather had usually thrown a wrench in our plans, but not today... this was all US!

When I was your age, Pappy Ray took me on MY first fishing trip, and when we got home, he wrote me a letter. That letter is the coolest thing I own, Sam, so, from the day you were born, I've wanted to do the same for you. I can't imagine that you'll remember our experience today, the way I will, but you're a pretty smart kid, so, who knows! Just in case, I wanted to write it all down for you, from your daddy's eyes.

We hit up McDonald's (of course) before we headed up to Lake Glendale (same lake that Pappy Ray took me to). You had TONS of questions for me (you ALWAYS have TONS questions... smart kids usually do) about fishing and hunting and I did my best to find suitable answers for you. As we got closer to the lake, the weather looked like it might take a turn for the worst, but after a few sprinkles things turned out pretty nice.

We checked out a place or two along the lake, before deciding on Turtle Cove. You were so anxious, you woulda been happy with the first spot, but I wanted it to be special, just right... and just you and I. Until tonight, I had never been to this place on the lake. I think you kinda liked the name, so we parked the car, grabbed our gear, and followed the lakeside trail a few hundred yards to a little tucked-in spot with no trees (trees and 6 year olds with fishing rods NEVER get along). I slipped a bobber on your line and loaded up your hook with a worm and we made the first cast, with your BRAND NEW fishing rod, together. Before you even had a chance to sit down (in the chair that you INSISTED we needed), your bobber disappeared! We missed that first fish, but reeled in your line and cast out again...and plopped your line down 3 feet from shore! But the third cast was perfect and within seconds, you had a fish on the line. You did a great job landing a nice perch ALL BY YOURSELF!

Two more casts and two more fish... this time a couple of bluegills. I had a feeling we were in a good spot and felt good that we would catch a few more, AND WE DID... well, not so much "WE" as it was "YOU". By the time it got dark, you had landed 12 fish and missed a couple more. For the record, it was Sam - 12, Dad - 0! One perch, ten bluegills and one little bass that somehow sucked up your worm just before you lifted it out of the water. Some of the fish were a little small. You knew enough to throw them back, but we brought home 6. I know we'll add at least a few more by the end of the summer. Can't wait to see how they taste!

What a terrific evening! I couldn't have asked for a better first trip with you, Sam, and right now, I am looking forward to many, many more hunting, fishing and camping (oh, golf too!) trips with you.

I am sure that by the time you read this, there will be times when I have been harder on you than either one of us would like, but being your dad is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Sam, I want you to know just how proud of you I am.

You are growing up so quickly. I'd be lying if I said that it didn't make me sad knowing that you won't always be my little boy, but, every day, I marvel at the little man you are becoming. Your mom and I love you and Ellie very much and you have made us both happier than we could have ever imagined!

So there it is, buddy: our first fishing trip, on paper, for you to ALWAYS remember. Maybe one of these days, you'll share your fishing secrets with me!

I love you son, with all of my heart,


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