My grandmother recently passed away back in my hometown of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. All of were grieving the loss of my grandmother, and my grandfather was grieving alone. In my telephone conversations, I could tell he was having a rough time. My grandfather had been active all of his life.

He had been a pilot and was always involved in the annual Oshkosh Air Show but now at his age he was no longer flying which was tough for him. My dad traveled a lot so grandpa took me fishing my first time on Lake Winnebago and countless times thereafter. When I was a kid we would fish for large and small mouth bass as well as walleye. I was a rambunctious kid. It seemed that most adults tolerated me, but grandpa had real patience with me.

I learned how to enjoy some quiet time with him as he taught me how to bait a hook, reel in and net a fighting walleye, take the hook out of his mouth, and then clean the fish I caught. More importantly, he taught me how to patiently watch my bobber, and wait for a fish to take my bait. My grandpa is a stoic old Dane, so I learned to enjoy quieter moments…to enjoy my time with him as he told me stories about growing up in Wisconsin and hunting and fishing with his dad.

I now live in Denver, and I wanted to connect with grandpa in a meaningful way while he was grieving. I asked grandpa to fly out to Colorado to go ice fishing with my son and me. His voice lit up with enthusiasm. He loved the idea and he agreed to come see us for a week in January! Unfortunately, I don’t fish much anymore and don’t have any fishing gear. A friend of mine had told me about Big Ed’s Fishing Ventures in Summit County near Breckenridge, so I made a reservation for a day of fishing while grandpa was in Colorado. Big Ed’s gave my grandfather, my son, and me a memorable day of fishing. Bid Ed’s supplied everything: ice fishing equipment, a fishing shanty for us, our rods or dipsticks, propane heaters that kept us warm and comfortable, and fishing tackle.

We caught Kokanee Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and even hooked an Artic Char. My grandpa told his stories. My son had the honor of having his great-grandpa show him how to bait a hook, watch his bobber, land his fish, take the hook out of a fish’s mouth, and clean his fish. My son was so proud, and I was proud, too. It was so special to watch my son enjoying the same experiences I had loved with my grandfather. I could tell how much our day meant for my stoic old grandfather. I knew he would get through this time, and he promised to spend more time with us in Colorado.

It was an extraordinary day for all of us and I am grateful for Big Ed’s Fishing Ventures in making it happen for all of us.