Cast & Blast

Outside the fishing box: Not all Easter blessings are found out on the open ocean

Pappy with Alice and Benjamin
Pappy with Alice and Benjamin Submitted

If you are reading this on Sunday, then it is Easter Sunday. If it is Friday, then it’s Good Friday. With this in mind, I feel like going outside the fishing box and talk about something way more important, family.

Having been raised an Episcopalian, and attending Episcopal boarding schools pretty much all through school, I learned a lot. If you have kept up with my columns over the years then you may recall a few instances that I have said “nature is my church.”

Blasphemy? Not at all, because for me at least, it is God’s greatest creation.

With that said, my religious upbringing taught me lessons that I will be forever grateful for. Right from wrong, appreciation of all my good fortunes and, just as importantly, how to use this faith to emerge unscathed from periods of depression and tragedies, of which there have been many during my time on this earth.

But of all the great things religion has taught me, two in particular stand out.

The first is to help others in need, and the second being the value of family.

Just so you know, when out in my “church,” whether it is deep in the woods or gazing across the open ocean, I give thanks for the very opportunity to experience such wonder. It gets me every time.

I have to give credit to my parents too for teaching me by example. There was never any prejudice, which helped me formulate my own opinions, and of course my rather obvious love of nature. I’ll hand that one to my dad. He let me experience blue water fishing for the first time when I was around 5 or 6, and hundreds of times after.

With four siblings, it wasn’t always rosy, but for most of my youth, family was oh so important.

With two children of my own, I now understand that once kids reach their teen years, they are pretty much on their own when it comes to evolving into adults. It is during this period that parents have to pray that they taught them the best that they could.

What prompted me to head off the reservation in this column?

I almost always get a bit introspective around Easter, but I think it was inspired by a trip my wife, Karen, and I, along with our beagle Butterbean, took last week.

My daughter, Camden, an orthodontist in Charlottesville, Virginia, called a while back asking me to meet her in Charleston where she was attending a medical conference. Of course, I said I would until two hours later when she calls again and says she has a “Plan B.” Instead of me going to Charleston could Karen and I come to Virginia and care for my two grandchildren for a week while she and her hubby took a “date vacation” in Charleston.

How the world turns, huh?

Both Camden and my son, Logan, are awesome, so after scrambling to get work out of the way, we headed to Virginia.

Camden’s two kids, Alice, 5, and Benjamin, 3, are an absolute hoot. My nickname is “Pappy” while Karen is “GiGi,” and for us it was time for payback for the rather clever “Plan B” my daughter conceived. Spoil them rotten the entire week, teach them things mom and dad would never consider, and then leave.

The perks of being a grandparent, in my opinion.

This is where the importance of family come in.

Extremely close with my daughter and her two children, it shocked me how much they had grown in just a few months. And when I say grown I mean both physically and mentally! I felt like I was talking to people my age.

I swear kids these days are way smarter than I was at that age, and all week long I was corrected, belittled and loved all at the same time.

Camden and her husband, Andrew, were raising these youngins right. They showed a sensitivity for others less fortunate than themselves way beyond their years, as well as an appreciation for the lifestyle they have been afforded.

Did I spoil them? You bet I did.

Did I teach little Ben obnoxious traits to use on mom and dad when they got back? I tried but I believe he is too smart to listen to silly old Pappy.

So, enjoy your family this week, and every week, because it ranks right up there as one of the best parts of being alive. Happy Easter everybody!