By John Matonich
I received an email recently from a good friend of mine from Virginia. He and I have spent a lot of time together over the years at various meetings of a national professional organization. He has been the Executive Director of this group for a long time and has done a great job in that role. We met back in the mid-90s and have been fast friends ever since.
One of the things I have always enjoyed about him is he is from a very rural part of southern Virginia and his life and mine have many of the same roots. He is a few years older than me, but that never seemed to be a problem. He knows firsthand about “hollers” and was taught the value of hard work by his parents much like mine taught me. He grew up playing sports as I did and actually played high school football with former Virginia Tech football coach, Frank Beamer. They attended the same high school and I have heard many great stories about their friendship which remains strong today.
What really caught my attention was his recent note he told me that two of his grandkids were planning weddings this coming year. That info made me stop and think a bit because my son and his wife are expecting my first grandchild this May and it really hasn’t hit home quite yet. His note though has really got me thinking. They live in Colorado so it won’t be easy to just drop in, but I can’t wait to see and spoil my new granddaughter. I remember my father coming to visit us when my daughter was born and he couldn’t have been prouder. He spent hours in the backyard with Katie watching her find her legs and discovering all kinds of things.
I look forward to watching that little bundle also grow. Given it will be a little girl, I will have to learn a few things for sure, but it doesn’t mean I can’t interject a little of my own upbringing as well. I don’t have much experience with tea parties, but maybe I can introduce her to the beauty of the outdoors. Colorado is a beautiful state, but Upper Michigan is second to none in my book for the abundance of wildlife and scenic views.
I suspect we can find a couple of fishing holes and maybe some rides in the woods in my jeep are in order. Of course fully strapped in and a bag with all the necessities in the back. I still remember how to change diapers and it never really bothered me when I changed my own kids so I don’t think it will be an issue with my new granddaughter.
I guess my friend’s note has really struck a chord and I have this urge to head to the local sport shop and see what kind of fishing poles they have that would fit her. I don’t think it is ever too early to plan that first trip to the fishing hole.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate livin’ amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.