Played Forward with Memories

gunnar fish (2)A tale of fishermen. On my refrigerator hangs a picture of my great grandson holding up his first fish caught all by himself. The proud happiness gleams from the pinch of his fingers. This is a pay it forward version of family fun. The stories range from whoppers to minnows, but the love of fishing is paramount and passes from generation to generation. The peace and blessing I receive at looking at this fish picture is payback for the many fishing lines I have untangled, the many disputes over who gets what rod or who stands on what rock that I have settled. And for the skinny, white, hidden bones I have picked from fried trout. Not to mention the hours spent boning and canning smoked sockeye salmon. This picture brings me joy.  So do the others. Hope you have time to go fishing.  Marie

my son's biggest fish

my son’s biggest fish

He is still fishing

He is still fishing

Montana Rainbow

Montana Rainbow


Marie’s Memories, A Memoir, Story Four

Story 4 Diving Boards

The bend in the creek made a great swimming hole. Kids being kids, we were not satisfied with jumping off the bank. Therefore, we spent hours building diving boards of various sizes and shapes. The engineering of these magnificent boards was something to see.
One of the benefits of Dad working in a sawmill was that he brought home scraps and pieces of lumber. He supplied us with old lumber for our projects. One day he even gave us a plank.
Our cousins from Kalispell were visiting. They spent a lot of time at our house in the summer. Jeanie, Bernie and Lyle were a shade older and very sophisticated. They were town kids. Bernie and Lyle lugged the plank the half mile to the creek. We built up the bank with the clay, making it as high as we dared and plenty wide enough to hold the plank. We placed it just prefect with one end sticking out over the water. We piled lots of rocks and boulders on the bank end to hold it in place. After many hours and much labor our supreme board was completed.
Norma was the only one whoever got to make a dive off the boards we made. She was the biggest, and it fell to her to be the test diver. If the board held up for her, then anyone of us could use it in relative safety. We watched from the bank as diving board after diving board fell into the water with great splashes of water when Norma jumped off.
This board was no different.
“We should get to go first,” said Bernie and Lyle. “We lugged the plank to the creek.”
Norma gave them the evil eye.
“All right,” said Bernie, “we’ll watch for weak spots in the rocks.
Norma took her time. She inched her way out onto the board. She jiggled it up and down.
“Any weak spots,” she asked.
“Naw,” answered Bernie.
Norma sprang in the air. Her feet came down on the board for a mighty lift off. It buckled, sending rocks and boulders high. Norma hit the water with a belly flop that shook the earth and sent a spray of water arcing over us. Her scream is what I remember. Never heard one like it again. I wondered how she avoided getting killed and going to heaven.

The Connor Cousins

The Connor Cousins

Memoir is available for all to read on

Sisterly Love

The following is a except from my Memoir called a Grandmother’s Story.  Norma is my older sister by three years.

By the time us kids were in the fourth and sixth grades Norma was a complete through and through tomboy and the controller of the neighborhood. Norma-nator should have been her name.  I drove her out of her mind with my meek and shy ways.

We didn’t lack for playmates. Next door in a long green stucco house lived the Grilley boys, across the highway was the Nelsons. They were old, but their granddaughter played with us when she visited. The three Horner girls lived on the other side and on top of Saurey Hill lived the Saureys. This bunch of kids is who we played with or fought with depending on Norma’s mood for the day. We had my wish. A creek was only a half mile away. We followed a country road north until we came to a spot where the creek passed under the road, made a bend and went back under the road. This area was ours. We fished and swam, built forts and ate picnic lunches there.

Shy Brookies lived in that stream. We caught them on worms and Eagle Claw hooks, size number six. We crept real careful, not making a sound or casting a shadow on the water, as we flung our lines into the water. The current took the worms downstream under overhanging bushes where fish hid.

Norma caught her share as we all did, but woe be to any of us who made noise. One day Norma shrieked. She high-stepped quickly in the opposite direction.”What’s the matter?” I asked in a loud whisper. “You’re scaring the fish.”

“I almost stepped on a damn snake,” she answered.

“Not afraid of a little snake are you?” I asked, surprised at her forbidden word.

“Of course not! I just don’t like them.”

Norma is afraid of the small green water snakes, my mind said. This was an enormous discovery. I now had an equalizer!
I bided my time. Sure enough a few days later she told me to move further downstream, because I was in the particular spot she wanted.

Mumbling to myself, I trudged downstream and plopped on the bank. Movement caught my eye. I reached into the weeds and pulled out a wiggling, hissing snake. It was only a small water snake, but when I held it by the back of the neck, it dangled down a good foot. Wiggling. Mouth open and forked tongue sticking out. Perfect.

“See what I found,” I said as I quietly stood at her squatting back.

She glanced up. “Yukkkk,” she screamed. “Get away!”

I held it closer.

“Wait till I tell Mom what you did!” she screamed at me and ran for home.

A little guilt about having a loving heart should’ve nagged, but fishing was good that day

SCAN_20140206_184835111SCAN_20140206_183248621 This is me and my Sister. Taken just about the time of the fishing story. We are best friends now but enemies as girls. Funny how life does that. Marie F Martin