Journey to Ukazoo
Slide 31-”On the Pier”
After an overnight stop to break up a 13 hour drive, I arrived at Belgrade Lakes, Maine.
Belgrade Lakes is located between two large lakes, Great Pond to the East and, connected by an inlet ending in a narrow spillway, Long Pond to the West. The village of Belgrade Lakes and Wings Hill Inn, the inn I checked into, face Long Pond.
During the morning of my first full day, with sketchbook in hand, I walked from the inn, to a small park on the banks of Long Pond next to the spillway. Opposite the spillway are a grouping of weekly rented cabins, each with their own weathered wood pier extending, like fingers, onto the lake. The cabin closest to the spillway was newly occupied by a family of six, two parents and their four children of various ages.
Relaxing to the gentle lapping of waves I couldn’t help but overhear the parents relaying directions, tips, and mounds of information to the kids regarding the art of fishing. On the pier with lines cast, it wasn’t long before the next to youngest screamed out in excitement that she had one hooked. With minimal parental assistance she reeled the fish in, unhooked it and dropped her catch into the holding bucket. Shortly, the two older boys saw their red and white bobs dip below the surface and following suit, unhooked fish went into the bucket. Over the next hour or so, the same three managed to catch at least one more fish apiece.
Lost in their success, however, was the youngest of the four had not entertained so much as a nibble.
As the long morning of fishing ended, mom and dad offered assurances to the youngest of possibly catching one tomorrow.
Returning each morning to the park over the following four days, I occasionally watched the parents and the three oldest continue to catch varying counts of fish, and each day the youngest was the only one to walk away empty handed. Dejection was evident but anger, crying, feet stamping, “not fair” never was an emotion I detected and each day he was just as willing to quietly try again.
At weeks end, I noticed the beginnings of packing so it was apparent today was the last day the youngest would get a chance to catch a fish.
Sitting at the park, I noticed an unusual scenario unfolding. With the older kids engaged in other activities, the parents of the youngest, as during the preceding days, set up the fishing gear, pole, worms, etc. As mom helped ready the hook for her son and offered words of encouragement as the line was cast in the water, dad quietly slipped away. Making his way to the park side, close to where I sat, using the reeds and cattails at water’s edge to conceal his presence, he sat and waited patiently, relating what I had already deducted. Giving his youngest son as much an opportunity to catch a fish on his own, he would tip the scales for a moment of success if needed.
As morning waned, sensing a need to finally intercede, “Dad” donned rented scuba gear, readied a fish he had in a water-filled container as his son’s final cast hit the water, and slowly, still out of slight, he eased into the water.
I took this picture as “Dad” made his way to the fishing line and was about to place the fish on the hook.
Completing his task, he gave the line a slight tug. Feeling the bob pull beneath the water, his son, all smiles, reeled in his first ever caught fish.
As mom and son, arm in arm, walked along the pier back to the lawn, he half turned in the parks direction, where dad, still concealed, was slowly climbing out of the water, and said “Thanks mom and (displaying a wink and raising his voice a notch) I don’t see him, but also thank you Dad”.
All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt
Postings of “Journey to Ukazoo” Slides are every Monday Evening.
New arrivals to the “Journey” please see Slide One for a brief synopsis.
Opening Art Reception, Saturday, March 15th, 2014, 5:00 to 8:00 P.M., at Ukazoo Book Store, Towson, MD