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Remembering the little things

MoonPie, RC Cola, Beanee Weenees

WHEN HOT WEATHER ARRIVES, I always remember my days back home in Tennessee when we would night fish for crappie. I remember vividly the sound of the gumbo mudders on the old Toyota Land Cruiser my dad loved so dearly. I remember dinners of RC Colas and Beanee Weenees followed up with a banana MoonPie—always my favorite. 

Did you know the name MoonPie originated in Kentucky? Around 1917, a traveling salesman asked some Kentucky coal miners if they wanted a snack during their break. One of the miners requested a graham cracker with marshmallow and wanted one “as big as the moon.” Read more of the story at www.moonpie.com/about

Fishing days ended with MoonPies, but began with getting to the boat ramp as the sun was setting and the hot day faded into a bearable evening. I remember my anticipation as my dad backed the boat down the ramp. I held a rope and walked with it. I kept the boat off the rocks while my dad got in until the outboard fired up. As simple as it seems, another great memory is shoving off the rocks and jumping in as the smoke from the outboard covered the boat on a still night. Oh, how I miss that smell. Today, if I get a rare whiff of an old outboard still in service, I think of those memories fishing with my dad. 

My dad hung his Coleman lantern on a lantern hanger mounted to the side of the boat. He claimed that there were two things that brought the crappie to our boat at night: the Grand Ole Opry on the radio and that Coleman lantern. “It’s the bugs getting roasted on that hot lantern that brings in the crappie,” he’d say. I can’t deny it, we did catch a lot of crappies under that lantern. 

The radio is another great memory I have from those trips. The opening of the Grand Ole Opry with “Let ’er go boys,” and the Martha White flour and Goo Goo Cluster commercials. Tuning in to the Grand Ole Opry was part of the ritual on our nighttime fishing trips. 

Sometimes great memories are a culmination of many trips and not one single moment. All these memories never would have made it into the old memory bank had it been just one fishing trip. Over time, these little things came to represent a big part of my youth and the memories mean so much to me today. 

Making memories isn’t something that you plan. Memories are created by having fun alone or with those you care about. Many years down the road, those vivid memories you create will be the fondest of all. 

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