Six of our grand kids, along with their parents, have either been to Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, Major League Baseball games and some other world famous vacation spots since the middle of June.
Between our crew they have covered most of the bases between Orlando, Florida and southern California. Some of them, depending on the venue, were far more impressed than others. Still, I believe it's safe to say, a good time was had by all.
Over the last 4 weeks, the grands and sires have covered approximately 6,000 miles and crossed well over a dozen states. As vacations go, they did a lot of getting around.
As I sit here pondering their adventures, I can't help recalling the vacations my three brothers and I enjoyed when we were grade school boys. We each got to spend a whole week with one aunt and uncle or another within 8 miles of Blair Branch and that was it for school vacation.
As far as I was concerned, school, itself, was "vacation." Our summers consisted of farm chores, daylight until dark, at least six days a week, from late May until mid-August. We took Sundays off, to go fishing, if the beans were not in desperate need of picking and the strawberry fields were finally picked out.
Sometimes we'd get 2 miles down Rockhouse Creek from Blair Branch to the mouth of Spring Branch. I don't remember ever catching any fish, big enough to fry, but we'd often catch a few bright red/orange "punkinseeds", called shiners, that we'd bring back to turn loose and "stock" in the head of our holler. We assumed that it took them a few days to get 2 miles back downstream to Rockhouse. I doubt that anybody ever caught a "punkinseed" out of Blair Branch. The shiner stocking effort simply never panned out, but we sure had a lot of fun trying.
But, I'd bet big $, that a week on the North Fork of the Kentucky River, at Uncle Jim's and Aunt Alpha Adams' place, was worth far, far more to brother Keith (Keeter) and I than anything my grandkids got out of their theme park extravaganza.
Around the first of July, we would catch a break between the hoeing and canning seasons of the 6 or so acres we had scattered around at both the head of the holler and 2 miles down the road at its mouth. Late in the day, on one Sunday after, Dad would drop us off at Jim and Alpha's place where we could sit on the back porch and practically spit into the river.
Part of the deal included hoeing and weeding their vegetable garden. It was only about 1/8 acre and half of that was the tater patch. It was already spotless, when we got there because Aunt Alpha kept it tended it as carefully as a city-park flower bed. Still, we had to walk the rows, just in case a weed had dared to sprout or a tater bug needed squashing.
Well before noon on Monday, it was time to spend the next several days fishing and/or catching bait. Uncle Jim had a genuine, manufactured, 4 x 6 feet, minnow seine and several genuine bait buckets. Catching soft crawfish, chub minnows and the ever-elusive grampus (hellgrammites) in his bait gathering equipment was, at the very least, as much fun and as challenging to Keeter and me as actually getting any of that bait onto a fish hook.
We also dug red worms, grub worms and any other sort of thing that wiggled or crawled that we figured a fish might eat and stored them in gallon lard buckets. No digging was allowed in Aunt Alpha's huge yard, which also required a through mowing during our vacation. However, if they were placed back exactly where they originated, a virtual trove of creepy-crawly, fish enticing, critters could be found beneath the dozen, or more, plant containers she scattered around the place.
There simply isn't enough space in this column to describe the actual fishing trips we took with Uncle Jim, but I believe the stage is set for next week and I've already had as much fun, just getting ready, than I suspect my grandkids had on all their recent excursions. I'd also bet that I've done far, far less complaining.