Then, the third question was “Can you bait your own hook?”
I laughed now, replying, “If you mean digging up some night crawlers or catching minnows and putting them on a hook to catch fish, yes, absolutely yes.”
After the three questions I didn’t even care what the fourth question would be. I knew behind this corporate ladder climbing, soft spoken man was a rugged outdoorsman. The combination of both made my heart flutter. Our interests meshed and merged. I didn’t fish much beyond the dam down the road from our family farm. The only fishing pole I had was an antique. But I knew this man loved the same land I loved. He camped and fished the same areas I knew. I was smiling so tightly from ear to ear that my dimples on my cheeks actually hurt.
The simple questions had sealed our first date for me.
The fourth and final question was, “Do you like my dog? I have a yellow lab, Charlie.” He should have said “Do you like my dog child, Charlie?” I was used to yellow labs as hunting and farm dogs. But yes, I could easily like Charlie.
Today, I love Charlie.
Nearly seven years after that first date and the key questions and almost exactly five years since we moved deep into the heart of the prairie to his hometown, Nathan and I were on the boat last Saturday night with our two young girls and his parents. We were fishing on a local prairie lake.
It was there on the boat while fishing the prairie lake, I observed Miss E, age 4 1/2 and Miss A, almost 3, dig into the night crawlers. I dared Miss E to eat a worm. She did not go through with the dare, thankfully, but thought about it. I smiled thinking back how quickly things changed for Nathan. He doesn’t have to worry about whether his potential date can spend some in the great outdoors with him anymore. I am his lifelong date and I do indeed spend time in the great outdoors with him. But there is a next generation ready to take on the family traditions, ready to ask the tough questions. The next generation includes our teenager son, who loves to hunt and fish and is appropriately named, Hunter. But the next generation also includes two young girls.
I envision Miss A will be on a date some day, far, far in the future I hope. She will ask “Can you bait your own hook?”to her date. And undoubtedly, she will need a “yes” or at least a willingness to learn to continue on with the date. It’s what she knows. Our girls can teach the boys. Because at our house, girls bait their own hooks.
What is the extent of your favorite outdoor recreation?