For a number of reasons, tonight and into this weekend is typically one of my favorite times of year. The past six years running, I typically go up to northern Wisconsin for three days of muskie fishing with my buddies Steve and John. Because muskies are such elusive trophy fish, it is always a weekend filled with anticipation and what I consider the last fishing outing of the year. (I don't do ice fishing.)

This year is different though. My buddy Steve is going to Italy for a couple of weeks and leaves tomorrow. (Some people should have such a dilemma...Italy or northern Wisconsin. Hmmm). In any case, this leaves me hanging high and dry. There is talk of possibly going up in November, so I'm holding on to that little light.

But there's a few other reasons it's a great time of October.

Today is the birthday of my nephew Nicolas. He's 34 today and, being my godson, we have a pretty tight relationship. I did a lot with him as a boy when I lived in the Twin Cities and tried to get together when I could after moving to Wisconsin. Then, when he went to college, for a time he was at UW Madison and so we saw him a little more frequently.

Now he's in the Air Force and has grown into someone my son looks up to. Ben loves Nick's story and his past and thinks of him as a mentor I think. I saw the full manifestation of Nick's maturity when he went to the BWCA with us in 2012. He helped out with everything from packing to helping with meals. He rounded out the cousin scene quite nicely. I hope we get up there together again sometime.

So, our relationship has come full circle. I look up to a guy who used to look up to me.

L-R Me, Rob, Paul 1988
Another reason this weekend means a lot to me is it is my brother Rob's birthday. He would have been 53 tomorrow. The day always takes me back to 2011 when, with the help of Steve, (my brother from another mother) I managed to catch a Muskie on Rob's birthday while wearing the sweatshirt he'd given me. This was a mere 2 months after he'd passed away. I talk about it more in another post, but suffice it to say, it was a pretty great day.

The last reason it is such a memorable time of year is that it is typically the weekend of the traditional Landwehr Hunt. For years my uncles (and my dad, way back in the day) gathered at a farm in northwestern Minnesota to play cards, drink, break bread and reconnect. The rule for a while was "n
34" muskie caught 10/14/2011
o guns at the hunt." Over time that rule has relaxed and there are a couple of guys who actually hunt at the hunt. (What's with that?) The one year I attended the hunt the highlight was "Shotgun Bowling" which sounds as redneck as it is. I also shot (at some) clay pigeons. It was shocking how bad a shot I was. It explains though why I fish and don't hunt.

Usually when I'm up muskie fishing, I think of those cousins and my uncle Tom, my dad's twin and the only remaining living uncle at the hunt carrying on the tradition of my father. And I think there will likely come a day when I bring my son to the hunt or to our muskie fest to catch a trophy of his own.

Because that's what makes a tradition a tradition.

In lieu of going muskie fishing tomorrow I am taking the day off work and going kayak fishing in my brother's sweatshirt at a favorite local lake.

He would want it that way.

Blogging off...


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