Here's a story that, while not likely to be presented by Garrison Keeler on the Prairie Home Companion any time soon, keeps popping up
from time to time and did so again just the other day. And it's one that most people can probably relate to in one way or another.
I have an Uncle Bill Hills from my mother's side of the family who, amongst some other good qualities, is a sentimental kind of guy. Well, Uncle Bill
called me the other day at work out of the blue and it sure was nice to hear his voice. He had a tough year last year, lost his wife and broke his foot (I
don't think one had to do with the other) and he had a heck of a time with the recovery. I don't suppose being 88 years old had anything to do with it.
Anyhow, Uncle Bill sounded good and he is up and moving around well.
After some small talk, Uncle Bill said, in his unmistakable Long Island accent, "Hey Danny, do you remember the time when," and I knew
exactly what was coming next because Uncle Bill ALWAYS asks me and my brothers the same question. In fact, he's been asking the same question for as long
as I remember. And he always asks it like it is the first time he ever did.
Anyhow, the rest of the question goes like this. "Hey Danny, do you remember the time when I brought you and your brothers fishing?" And of
course I respond like it is the first time I ever did remember it, like it is some distant memory brought to light only because my Uncle Bill just
happened to remember it, after lying dormant for about 40 years. I of course play along as though I haven't thought of this since I was knee high to a
grasshopper and say, "wow, Uncle Bill, I sure do!"
And then we go on to talk about those days in Fleischmanns, NY, when we lived in the country in the Catskill Mountains across from a creek. And how
Uncle Bill came up and bought us new fishing poles and brought us fishing in the creek. Now I don't know how many fish we caught but it was a probably a
whole lot and I'm sure they were big ones. But that isn't really important (we probably only caught suckers since that's about all we ever caught in the
creek since our fishing skills didn't amount to a hill of beans).
The important thing was that we went fishing. It's a great memory and one I'll never
forget (Uncle Bill is going to make darn sure of that and frankly I'm glad of it). My brother Ryan and I often reminisce about this story and how Uncle
Bill brings it up EVERY time we see him. And we're glad he does, somehow sensing that we'll be there some day ourselves. I know Uncle Bill loves this
memory and so do I, EVERY time I hear it.
They say things somehow end up coming around in a circle. Joni Mitchell has a great song about it. And now Uncle Ru (my brother Ryan), an avid and
accomplished fisherman, is bringing his nephew Shane fishing regularly and they're actually catching some decent fish. It's a good thing because I'm still
lucky to catch suckers. And guess what Uncle Ru bought Shane for this past Christmas? You guessed it, a nice new fishing pole.
God only knows the stories Shane will have to listen to when he gets older!