It's no simple twist of fate that my sister and I both emigrated from Nebraska to Minnesota, Land of 10,000 lakes.
We have vacationed on Crane Lake in northern Minnesosta - on which Grandpa and Grandma Huff lived for many years - almost every summer since I was born. Minnesota was our home away from home before we made our homes here as adults.
Portrait of the artist -- and his sister -- as a young boy. Lifejacket technology has sure improved much since the 1970s! I was about 6 or 7 in this photo, taken on Crane Lake, in Northern Minnesota.
It was on our family fishing trips Up North that my sister, Rebecca, and I fell in love with fishing and boating.
Rebecca is already passing on that passion to her first child, a son, Finn. At almost 6 months old, Finn had already taken two boat rides. Now three years-old, Finn caught – unaided – his first fish this summer, a walleye.
My dad, whom I call "Pops," is also helping - in his own inimitable way - to prepare Finn for a life on the water, as he did my sister and I previously.
Thanks to Pops, Finn at 6 months had no less than four lifejackets, each in ascending Coast Guard-rated sizes that would fit him from cradle to old age. Isn't that going a little overboard, pardon the pun? Why, we asked Pops, did he buy Finn lifejackets that would not fit him until he, respectively, gets out of diapers, hits puberty and qualifies for AARP membership?
"Well, they were on a good sale,” he said. “I figured he's going to need them anyway, why not get them now?"
He has a point. Finn will more than likely grow up to share his mother, uncle and grandfather's love of lakes, boating and fishing. It's in the blood.
Grandpa Huff, who grew up on an island in the Alaskan panhandle in then territorial Alaska, went to school by school-boat. As retirees, he and Grandma Huff lived for many years in a lake house accessible only by boat in the summer and snowmobile in the winter.
One of Pops' earliest and most-vivid memories is of coming up in the water under a boat his father had capsized in a docking mishap, the legs of his brothers and sister dangling spookily in the dimly lit water above him.
I was solo piloting an outboard motor-powered canoe at seven years old. Rebecca was in infant swimming lessons and later got her first water-skiing lesson when she still had training wheels on her bike.
History repeats itself -- My father and my nephew, Finn, man the helm on a Crane Lake excursion. Finn is wearing one of the four lifejackets my dad had already purchased for him by the time he was only 6 months-old.
So I’m confident Finn's lifetime of lifejackets will not collect dust. In fact, he’s already on his second. And Finn’s baby sister – due in November – will inherit his infant PFD.
And some day, if we are so blessed, my wife and I will have a child for Pops to spoil too. I hope so. I look forward to a day I can bathe my newborn son or daughter as his or her proud grandpa looks over my shoulder.
“Look how much Baby loves the water!” I’ll point out to Pops.
I figure that should be good for a half-dozen lifejackets at least -- perhaps a small canoe.
You can contact North American Fishing Club Social Media Editor “Web Guy Greg” Huff at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter at lazy_ike, or friend him on Facebook at Web Guy Greg. He’s also the editor behind most of the posts on the Fishing Club’s Facebook page and the tweets at @NAFishClub.