Sometimes there are things in life that you take for granted. Like going to Grandma’s and just knowing that she was going to cook a great big breakfast bounty with eggs, sausage, homemade biscuits, and that wonderful white gravy that only Grandma could make. It was a given and you expected it. While she was cooking she would tell us stories about life as a little girl in Arkansas during the depression. Grandma was a tough old bird, honed from a rough life in the field, doing hard work without a complaint. She always seemed to have a smile on her face. Grandma passed on in May of 2007. I imagine God’s eating pretty good these days. I loved visiting Grandma and took for granted that she would always be there.
I found Old Number 61 about 12 years ago in northern Minnesota. She was right there on the map, plain as day, but getting close to her always seemed to be a time consuming endeavor. Each year when I would visit, I would spend many an hour trying to get close to her. You knew she was right there, but you couldn’t see her unless you had some assistance. It took a while before I acquired the assistance I needed to make sure our visits were as long as possible. She’s rock solid with quite a bit of character, and willing to share her bounty if you have the patience to stick with it. I don’t have any idea the age of Old Number 61, but she’s been around awhile, much longer than Grandma’s 92 years. She does show her age, as she is a bit lopsided, with some broken pieces scattered at her feet, but she still stands tall and proud. I have gotten to know her pretty well in the last 6 years (assistance came in 2003) and she has always been very good to me. (A lot like Grandma) Sometimes our encounters are short and sweet, other times she will test your patience and make you extend your visit to get what you want. Grandma was like that at times too. I cherish my visits with both of them.
If you haven’t guessed, Old Number 61 is a waypoint on my GPS. She marks a submerged island on a beautiful lake in Northeastern Minnesota. Rising out of 40 feet of water, she’s about 26 feet tall. On the south side at her feet are numerous boulders, some two feet tall. The walleyes love to hang here when the water is calm and the sun is high in the sky. To the north, she slopes rather gradually into 27 feet of water. The smallmouth bass like this area and we have caught many beauties. Her top is only 5 feet wide, and if the wind is up or light levels low, the fish will be on or near the top.
I was recently in Northern Minnesota fishing Old Number 61. We had just got on the spot and it was amazing, I could smell breakfast cooking. Thanks Grandma!