Lynn Youngblood: A weekend of eye-opening experiences

Staff Writer
The Examiner

“There’s one!” 5-year-old Sam shouted with glee, as a bright green dragonfly darted around the algae loosely covering the edges of the lake.

Three-year-old Max and 7-year-old Hannah scrambled over to spy the newly found “darting needle” as they are sometimes called. Such are the goings-on when taking three young anglers fishing off a dock on a beautiful, albeit hot, summer day.

Of course, since the three were new to the sport, fishing poles had to be got, adding a few colorful worms with sparkles for bait, hooks, sinkers and a few other odds and ends. Pure joy to Nana and Granddad (pronounced Gandad, by these small fry).

After casting practice on the grass with warnings about looking behind before sending the hook singing over the water to ensure a sibling wasn’t caught in the cheek, the three raced to the dock cheeks doused white with sunblock, life vests snuggly fit across chests, hats on and poles in hand.

Max was thoroughly satisfied to keep his yellow weighted practice fish on the line and simply drop it over the edge of the dock, watching it drop into the depths of the murky water until it disappeared. With large eyes, mouth in a circle, he would murmur “Ohhh” as it fell. Hannah and Sam had visions of pulling out 30-inch northern pike or 10-pound bass like the ones mounted in the small cabin beyond the lake.

Hannah did catch a small bluegill and one of the largest green sunfish ever seen. It was definitely keeper size, but “catch and release” was the goal of the day. Pictures taken of Hannah and her fish were all that were needed. As the excitement of fishing ebbed and flowed, interest in bullfrog searches, dragonfly counts, other bug interests and mosquito slapping kept them busy.

The weekend to the family farm in Iowa included tractor climbing and pretend driving, hiking, prairie flower identifying and walking up the road to the “deep dark forest.” Funny how these city kids could walk several blocks to a park, but walking a country road called for the need to be carried by the nearest adult because their “legs were so tired!” Admittedly, it was awfully darned hot to be trudging up a steep hill in the sun.

After dinner in the cabin, the small rowboat was always launched with the three adventurers. Voices were kept low in the hopes that deer, turkey and other wildlife would be seen as they traveled down to the water for their nightly drink. The scouts were always rewarded with numerous white-tailed deer sightings, fish jumping and other tales to eagerly share with Nana and Gandad. Game boards, cards and other entertainment came out in the evenings, before and after the three had been tucked to bed.

Hours and hours were spent in the shade sorting rocks in the gravel driveway looking for the “prettiest” rocks. Drink cups overflowing with the choicest finds were clutched tightly in small hands as the car drove back home. There is no doubt that heavy eyelids fell on the way, as the excitement of the weekend drifted off into dreamland.

Lynn Youngblood is the executive director of the Blue River Watershed Association in Kansas City. Reach her at