May 7th – My Personal Holiday

Brook trout roasting by the fire

The seventh day of May is a personal holiday for me in remembrance of an amazing day in the life of a rural kid. Some of the details are lost to the past, but let me tell you what I remember.

It was 1983 in rural New Hampshire, I was in the sixth grade, and May 7th dawned with a clear blue sky. I had a pretty good day in school, and remember sitting at lunch with a few of my friends. We made a plan to go fishing for brook trout that afternoon. I remember getting home, grabbing my fishing rod and hopping on my bike. I had a small nylon creel that I wore across my chest that held a few lures, and would transport any trout I caught home with me after I had gutted them and wrapped them in grass or leaves. It was about five miles to the small stream where we planned to meet, but in those days for rural kids on a bike, that was relatively short distance to travel for an afternoon fishing trip.

There was an old dirt road that crossed the stream on a rickety bridge, and I met two of my friends there. We started fishing and immediately started catching small trout. I remember the smiles, the laughter, the fun of catching a bunch of fish in a small, out-of-the-way stream that no one else seemed to bother with. I remember the camaraderie, the sunshine on my face and the feeling of wishing the day could go on for ever. After a couple of well-spent hours fishing an exploring the stream, we said our goodbyes, see you tomorrow, and we each headed home in different directions.

I remember having an enjoyable dinner with my family and telling them all about how much fun we had fishing that little stream. I had brought home four of the trout to eat later and had put them in the freezer, and was proud to show them off.

As I was getting ready for bed that night, I remember thinking it had been about as perfect of a day as I could remember, one of those epic days when everything seemed to go your way and you were able to share it with your friends and family. I told my young self that for the rest of my life, I was going to remember this day and how much fun I had. It had been a perfect day, and was to become my own personal holiday, an homage to a day well-lived.

It has now been 41 years since that day, and while some of the memories have faded a bit, many of them are still vivid in my mind. I haven’t been back to that stream in 30 years, but I still keep in touch with those friends.

I have had a lot of other great days in my life, but May 7th will always be a special day for me. I hope today, May 7th, 2024, is a great day for you.

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