Dirty Shirt Character Peek: Issue 11 - Alison

There are eight days until Dirty Shirt hits the streets, so I'm winding down my character peeks. This week's peek is my beautiful niece Alison. She is my brother Rob's eldest daughter and is very close to all of her cousins, but especially close to Sarah, my daughter who's a year older. The two of them grew up together and are now both in their final years of high school.

Alison (near) and Sarah at the fishing contest.
Like Sarah, Alison was raised by her dad with a fishing rod in her hand. She loves to fish. One of the cutest fishing pictures around was taken when her and Sarah were taking part in a kids fishing contest in Hackensack, Minnesota when they were about 4 and 5 years old. It was a zany event that put too many kids and parents onto a large fishing pier and at the signal given by the organizers the kids were to start fishing. Prizes were given to all contestants, but those with the greatest number of fish got better prizes. To prove that you caught the fish though, the parents had to take the fish over to one of the judges and show it. The fish would be recorded and then thrown back.

There is no honor system in the fishing world.

Alison is a trooper when it comes to all things camping. She rarely complains and sees each trip for what it is, and that's usually quality time with her cousins. Last spring when we went trout fishing in southern Minnesota, she fished her heart out, and didn't manage to catch anything. She didn't let it bother her because, again, she was able to do it with Sarah, Ben, Hunter and Jocelyn - her cousins.

She has been on two Boundary Waters trips with us and again, no complaints. The bugs on the 2012 trip were ferocious, but she just donned a head net and dealt with it. She caught some fish and managed to have a pretty good time laughing with Sarah along the way.

If I had to point out Alison's most endearing trait, I'd have to say it's her ability to laugh at herself. She is a lot like me that way. With both of us, it is not a self-esteem issue but rather our innate ability to make lemons out of lemonade and not take ourselves too seriously. I tend to distance myself from people who are incapable of doing it. I think it's a quality I got from my mother and it's what makes Dirty Shirt so unique, in my opinion. A couple of my favorite authors do it with great skill. It endears the reader, in some respect. Often times they think "Oh, I've done that! I know just how he feels." It's certainly nothing I'm ashamed of.

So that's a peek at her in a nutshell. There's a couple of good Alison stories in Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir, but if you want to hear about them, well, you'll have to get the book.


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