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The Last Windrow: Fishing is a big part of this marriage

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I took my wife fishing for our 39th wedding anniversary. It was only as it should have been. I think she enjoyed the trip.

Nearly 40 years ago my wife and I began our journey together and it began with a fishing trip. Those early encounters are rather tentative at best for a young couple. You're under pressure to find if you might share the same pursuits and trends in life.

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In our case, we both came from small farm families, had shared life experiences in our growing up years and we could communicate and know what the other person was talking about.

Fishing was one of my priority passions in those days and one of our first forays together placed us in a boat on Lake Edward, in central Minnesota. It was with some pleasure that I found my wife-to-be actually knew how to handle a rod and reel and seemed accustomed to being in a boat. We set off from shore and headed for a favorite walleye hotspot.

Evidently the one thing my wife hadn't been introduced to yet was the leech, a prime fish bait at that time of year. I could see she was uneasy seeing me dip into the leech container, so I offered to show her how to put the leech on her hook.

I did the first leech. Within a minute, there was a flopping walleye on the bottom of the boat that came from her hand. She out-fished me that day eight to two and it has never been any different. She still doesn't relish touching a leech and has been known to attempt to secure the leech to a hook using two twigs.

We were married on the seventh of June and at the time I worked in probably the most prestigious bait shop in Minnesota, Marv Koep's Nisswa Bait and Tackle. Since this was the prime time of the year in the fishing business, Marv and Judy scrapped up four days off for my wife and I to share a short honeymoon. I promised Jackie that we would go someplace and stay longer in the fall.

And we did. We spent our honeymoon in mid-October on the north shore of Lake Michigan in a run-down resort called Tweety's Retreat and we shared our honeymoon cabin with an old guide friend of mine, Harry Van Dorn. You could tell which direction the wind was blowing because it came through the siding of the cabin in whichever direction it was blowing. So much for privacy!

Each morning Harry, who had medical breathing problems, would be up at the crack of4 o'clock calling from his room whether or not we were ready to go catch some salmon. Harry wasn't really in to honeymoons, and we crawled out of bed and Jackie made bacon and eggs and we were off.

She out-fished me on salmon as well.

It really was a great trip and I figured if she could put up with this situation, we had a long-term relationship on tap.

Over the years we've fished many lakes in Minnesota and Canada. We've cast for muskies from daylight to dark, plied the trout waters, caught crappies in the early spring and canoed across boundary water lakes in search of smallmouth bass.

We've shared shore lunches on a boulder and slapped black flies with the best of them. We've gotten sunburned, windburned and froze our fingers with snow pelting down beside the boat.

Fishing was a part of what brought us together and it still finds us sharing a boat ride.

So, we shared this past week's anniversary on the water with fishing rods in our hands and walleyes in the livewell. It was a much more relaxing day than that wedding day in 1975. At least for me.

And you know what? She still out-fished her guide. I think she enjoyed the trip!

Happy anniversary, Jackie!

See you next time. Okay?

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