From time to time, this back page column results in a reader sitting down and writing a fine letter, too fine to savor alone. You know, it ought to be shared.
Here’s to Joyce Irwin and her son, who live down in Clinton County, which is bordered on the north by Lake Cumberland and on the south by Dale Hollow Lake. That’s a whole lot of water, especially when you figure in the feeder streams—Wolf River and Illwill Creek. (Anybody know the origin of that name?) There’s Seventy Six Falls, uncounted creeks and branches—a fisherman’s paradise.
Mrs. Irwin writes:
“I enjoyed your October story about the ‘Inspiring youngster.’ It reminded me of my son so much. He too is almost 12 years old and loves to fish and hunt about as good as he loves to eat.
“My son, Butch Allen, never ceases to amaze me in anything he does. With his busy hunting and fishing schedule, he still remains on the honor roll.
“When he was in the fifth grade, his teacher told the class they must write an essay about one of their grandparents over the weekend and that it was due early Monday morning.
“I later found out that my son told his teacher that was impossible for him to do this particular weekend, that he had a full schedule that weekend between deer hunting with his dad, fishing with his Papa, and church on Sunday—that there was no possible way he could have the time to write an essay.
“The teacher said, ‘Butch, you must take time, it’s due on Monday.’
“Between his busy schedule he took the time to write the most touching story about his grandpa that a person could ever read. On January 8, 2003 (Butch’s birthday), Butch Allen Irwin was announced the winner of the ‘Grandparent Essay Contest.’
“I hope it inspires you as much as it has for everyone who has read it.”
5th Grade, Clinton Co. Middle School
By Butch Irwin
“This has been a hard decision for me to make. All my grandparents are really great to me. All of them have taught me things I will never forget.
“But my grandpa, or should I say ‘Papa,’ is who I’m the closest to. We do a lot of things together; in my eyes he can ‘walk on water.’
“It started when I was very young; my mom and dad had to work and my nanny had to work also. So I stayed with my Papa.
“My Papa is extraordinary you see, how many Papas would stay home all day and keep a 1-year-old, play kid games, read, and change diapers?
“I can tell you not many, but my Papa did. As we spent many, many days together we became closer and closer. Now that I am older I help my Papa in a lot of ways, like hooking up the boat, and running the troll motor when we go fishing.
“Papa and I love to go fishing. We would go fishing every day if we could and we just about do, at least every chance we get.
“We spend a lot of time together while we are fishing. When we are not fishing we are talking about fishing, like the different kinds of fish we caught or the baits we used.
“We were sitting on the back porch baiting our fishing poles getting them ready so when the weather is just right our fishing poles will be ready for us to load up and head out.
“My Papa is a good fisherman but that’s not all, he’s a good listener, and good bike fixer. We like to watch all sports on TV together and especially fishing.
“My Papa may have one bad leg but he sure has one great heart. I’m proud to call him my Papa.”