My interest in the outdoor sports can easily be traced back to one man, Dave Snow. See, the thing is that not too much talk of hunting or fishing ever took place in my family. That all changed when Dave Snow became a part of our family. He is the man I came to know as dad, yep I’m talking about my stepfather. Though our relationship started with some of the typical “you’re not my daddy” issues these were soon put aside when he decided to introduce me to his passion for sports, outdoor sports in particular.
When it comes to sports I would have to say that Snow knows. In addition to the hunting and fishing he also played softball and even helped coach my football team. Heck he was even the one that introduced my grandfather (his father-in–law) into golf and that became an obsession of his for the next 40 years. Dad was one of those people that would get so excited about sharing his experiences you couldn’t help but to take an interest. You probably noticed I said was, yes we did lose him in Aug 2010 and I will be going to use the rest of this story to celebrate a few of the memories I have of what he taught me and some of the adventures we shared.
The first thing I remember about the outdoors was helping out at a camp out with his Boy Scout troop. Up until this point I had not spent much time in the woods, I was amazed at the truest of 3D movies that is nature as it played all around me. It seemed like dad had not only a name for each piece of nature that gained my attention but a story, or at the very least a woodsy factoid. As cool as this trip was the next one was even better.
What made the next trip so different was that it was just us and you could really hear the woods. We had pitched our tent next to an awesome little creek on my step-dad’s step-dad’s property, that just goes to show you how the outdoors can bring generations of family together, blood related or not. We made our way through the woods with the fishing rods in tow for what seemed like miles. Just as we got to the west side of small lake the sun’s steep angle seemed to ignite the splashes from shallow feeding bass.
My heart was beating like crazy as dad tied on a Hula Popper and tossed it among the fray of hungry fish. When he handed it to me and said “reel it in slow” I almost passed out with anticipation. Now up to this point, I had not caught a fish before this except for a half a dozen very small gills, but I had watched Jerry McKinnis on TV enough to know what was about to happen. The only advice dad gave me was you will know it when it happens and that I did.
The splash was, I’m sure, remembered much bigger than it really was but seemed spectacular. When I asked him what to do now he just said “I guess you’re doin it! Hang on and reel”. It’s amazing how a 12 inch fish can change the path of a life. Over 40 years later I can still be found throwing a popper in the shallows at sunrise.
Well that was the only bass we got to hit but that gave room for a lesson in pan fishing. Dad showed me how to look under logs for grubs to use for bait. Rigging a bobber and a small hook we ended up getting plenty for breakfast in a very short time. On the way back to camp I remember firing questions one after another, dad would answer some and others he would just nod and smile when I strung them together so fast that there was no time to respond. This was a whole new world that I could not wait to be a part of.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would enjoy sleeping on the ground or eating fish off a stick. Even as a young boy these experiences were enlightening. It wasn’t just me that changed when we hit the woods at home dad had to remind me of chores and homework, but out here in the wild we just had fun.
With all the serious stuff left at home I saw a side of the Snowman that I never thought possible. When he took out his hatchet to cut a vine so I could swing across the creek, now that was cool, when he did it after me it was epic. Seeing a 300 pound man swinging like Tarzan is not something you see every day. The way he laughed when he rolled to a stop is something I will always remember.
I can already see these Snow stories will never be all covered in one article so for now I just want to say thanks for the memories. And thanks for putting the ball in motion for my son and I to make a bunch more memories too. Dad I do miss the good times we had and they will be told over camp fires for a long time to come.