The Facebook Birthday

Once a year, my Facebook wall (and my FB connected cellular phone) becomes a flurry of nearly constant activity.   Of course, anyone who is on Facebook likely knows exactly what I am talking about… Your birthday! 

Each of the past few years, as my birthday approaches – I almost begin dreading the day.  I start worrying about if / how / when to reply.  I mean, do I try to thank everyone as they stream in (all day long) in small batches or do I wait, until the day is over and thank each person individually in one big batch?  What if I miss someone?  Will they be irritated with me?  Will they feel slighted?   What if instead of an individual thank-you for each person, I just did one big massive thank you to everyone all in one singular update?  

These worries (among a few others since I am a chronic “what if’er” – just ask the Mother of Five) start to cause me a little bit of anxiety about my birthday, but….  As the birthday wishes start rolling in I start to really look at them.  Not so much the actual CONTENT but more the SOURCE of the birthday wishes.  That’s when it occurs to me (and I am then reminded every few minutes) just how lucky I am. 

The birthday wishes come from..      

Family.  Immediate, and extended.  These are the folks that (like it or not) you can’t get rid of.  Parents, siblings, in-laws, extended family.  Many of them have been there for us since BEFORE the beginning – and there are many that will be there beyond our departure.  They also have to put up with our $%#@ more than anyone else.  Just as we are stuck with them, they are stuck with us.  Thankfully, I have a wonderful wife and five pretty amazing kids that bring me more joy than I could have ever possibly imagined.  They are essentially what keeps me going every day.       

Neighborhood friends.  The kids and their parents that I grew up around.  The kids were more like siblings.  Our friends’ parents put up with us.  They opened their homes to us (and we opened our homes to them).  Together, we explored our neighborhood, made unexpected discoveries, and expanded our horizons.  This means things like “eating over”, sleepovers, Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, saved Monopoly games, tree forts, the introduction to video games, frog ponds, birthday parties, and summer nights running around the neighborhood in the dark.   

Elementary and Junior-high classmates.  Having “come of age” in a private school setting in a relatively quiet suburban enclave – I had no idea at the time how much of my life and my future memories would be tied to these people.  (I sure wish I had!)  While I had a core group of buds back then, I’m surprised (happily surprised) how much they all (even if they were not part of my regular group of close friends) mean to me.  I have actually enjoyed getting to know some of these folks (thanks to social media) better than I ever did when we spent six hours a day together, nine months out of every year!  I have said it before (proof).  My “Nativity friends” are more like extended family to me.  There isn’t a one of them that cause me to smile when I get the chance to interact with them.       

High School / Youth Group / College friends.  See above – only a larger universe.  My private high school class was (relatively speaking) pretty small.  I was able to name everyone, and I think it would be safe to say that I could call each of them an “acquaintance” at the very least.  These were the formative years of development.  My interaction with many of these people forever impacted who I am today.  Things like music, cars, Boundary Water Canoe trips.  Teachers (and youth ministers) who challenged us, and mentored us, and (I believe some) truly cared for us.  There was girls, and crushes, which sometimes lead to disappointment, and heartbreak (and the friends who helped us through).  Today when I interact with someone from these days gone by, I may hear a song, smell a smell, see a face, or just be whisked back to a memory of some really good times.  
Co-workers, supervisors and mentors  I have been very fortunate.  I have pride in the jobs I have held through the years.  I met some really wonderful people.  People who mentored me, taught me, shaped me – and others who allowed me to mentor them, teach them, and shape them (honestly, most fall into both categories.  I often learn as much as I teach – and try to teach as much as I learn.  Even this 20+ year dispatch veteran is not above learning something from the “newbies”.  I look back at the jobs I have held, as well as my current career and realize how fortunate I have been to be associated with so many amazing and talented people .

Blogging friends The Life of a Father of Five has been a ten year endeavor for me.  At a time (ten years ago) with five kids between the age of 3 and 17 – I had little time for much of anything more than work and home (heck, that’s still true ten years later).  Through this website, I have connected with some REALLY amazing people.  The connections I have made are REAL.  Their lives that they share with me are REAL.  Their pleasures and pains, their successes and their failures.  They are all REAL.  These friends are meaningful to me and have taught me many life lessons -  just as I hope my pleasures and pains, successes and failures have taught them something.   

If you are reading this, more than likely you fall within one (or more) of the categories above – and if that is indeed true – and you are one of those very special people who wished me a happy birthday, then I would like to PERSONALLY thank you!  Whether I “liked” your message, replied to your message, or (heaven forbid) missed dong either – just know that your interaction (regardless of how slight) reminded me just how fortunate I am to have family, friends, co-workers, supervisors, mentors, and even virtual connections that bring me so much joy, fill me with so many fond memories, and help make me grateful for a life that is nothing short of incredible.  

Thank you Facebook.  Thank you for the flood of wonderful birthday wishes, and the reminder how lucky I am to have the people in my life that I do.

If you must know... I sure did.
I had a great birthday, filled with wonderful wishes from amazing friends.      

Grandpa’s Tackle Box

I have often talked about how close I was to my grandparents.  Both my Mémère and Pépère have been referenced here, often.  (Heck, they have their own hyperlinks). 

90031266_133937986664 (1)But, It’s high time that I spread the love a little bit, and share a story about my Dad’s parents. 

Today’s post will be about my Grandpa. 

Sadly, much of my memory of my grandpa is muddied by my age, and the passage of time.  You see, my grandpa was my first grandparent to pass away.  It was February 1975.  I knew as much about death as any five year old does, which, is admittedly very little.  A lot of what I “knew” about death in early 1975 came from A Christmas Carol.  To me that meant that those who care about you will come back to visit you (as Jacob Marley did to Ebenezer Scrooge).     

One thing about my grandpa, was that he was an outdoorsman.  I have memories of him telling us stories from his adventures, and I have memories of doing outdoorsy things WITH him. 

He once showed me a giant bruise on his leg (It was a GIANT multi-colored bruise  Bigger and more colorful than my five year old self had ever seen!).  He proceeded to tell us the story of how a large rock rolled down a steep hill at my Uncle Ron’s cabin, and how the rock hit his leg, giving him that nasty bruise. 

There was the time we were spending time at our “choo-choo house” (don’t ask – there will be a post about that in the not too distant future) grandpa pulled up in his car.  I remember running out to meet him.  Once I met up with him, he brought me to the back end of his car, opened the trunk, and removed a big pail  full of clams.  He and I sat and shucked  (opened) all the clams.  I don’t know if he was going to eat them or not, but he told me we were “looking for pearls” inside the clams! 

There was also the time he and I spent an afternoon together (also at the choo-choo house) shooting slingshots.  He had a factory made one (which I proudly own), and for me he had a “hand made” slinkshot (like Dennis the Menace).  We were shooting rocks at some cans set up across the dirt road from the choo-choo house. 

I remember a boating (likely fishing too) trip with my dad, my grandpa, and myself.  I recall really feeling like “one of the guys” that day. 

I found out much later in life that he (as I do now) enjoyed hunting (link) a little bit too.  (Link to part 2)

But, You already know how this story ends. 
I lost my grandfather two months before I was six years old. 
Way too early.


The pictures below are of my grandpa, my sister, and myself (with a “cameo” appearance by my Pépère)

(Left) – Grandpa, myself, and my sister in front of the fireplace at my mom & dad’s first house.  This would have been very close to the time that he told us the story of the rock.  In fact, he was siting in the couch on the left side of that photo when he told us the story.

(Center) – Grandpa and my sister.  In the right of that photo (almost in the background) is my Pépère.  This photo (despite my sister being in it (wink)) is a favorite – BOTH my grandfathers are in the same photo.  I wish I had more like this.

(Right) – Grandpa with my sister at my grandpa’s house.   Many years in the future, I would spend a lot of time helping mow that lawn, and take down the fabric awnings you see above the window (retracted).  

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Yes, there are a few fun memories, but from what I know of him since his death was that FISHING was his thing.  Grandma often told us how much he loved to fish.

Photos below, left to right…

(Left) Grandpa fishing.
(Center) My Grandma, likely dragged out fishing (looks like it was taken on the same day).
(Right) My grandpa and grandma on an ice fishing trip. 

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When I think back about my grandpa, “fishing” is one of the first things I think of.  When I am out fishing I feel a definite connection with my grandpa, and often spend a little time “visiting” with him.      

Yes, my grandpa passed away when I was a very young lad, but my grandma (his wife) on the other hand lived on for MANY years afterwards.  In fact, grandma was my last living grandparent.  She passed away thirty years later - in 2005.  Grandma and I were good buds through the years, and I often spent some quality time just hanging out with grandma.  Towards the end of her life, grandma could no longer live in her home alone, and was moved to an assisted living facility.  When that happened, my dad and his brother (Uncle Ron - who’s cabin, hill and rock caused the aforementioned nasty bruise) had to clean out her house. 

Not too much longer after her house was cleaned out and sold, grandma moved from transitional care, to full time nursing home, and eventually (at 93 and a half years old – yes, you get to add the “half” to anyone who makes it to 90…  They earn every “half year” at that point!) I lost my last living grandparent. 

Some time after grandma’s passing, I was given a gift from my dad and my uncle.  While clearing out grandma’s house, they came upon their dad's (my grandpa’s) old fishing tackle box.  They planed on passing along grandpa’s tackle box to me but not before my uncle took it with him in order to research the old lures found within. 

When I received it, I was beyond flattered. 

The tackle box is kept with our family’s tackle boxes, but as an “heirloom” item it is never taken with us when we go fishing.   In fact, it is often pushed behind all the other tackle boxes when we return. 

As they say, out of sight, out of mind. 

Today was a beautiful day outside.  I spent most of the day working on a couple of projects in the garage.  While I was working, I noticed an edge of Grandpa’s Tackle Box peeking out from behind the other Tackle Boxes.  I decided today was the day.  I wanted to document Grandpa’s Tackle Box here.



Yes, my dad and uncle found an old photo of my grandpa fishing, and hung it safely inside Grandpa’s Tackle Box.
Here is the whole photo, and a close up of my grandpa, fishing.

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One of the things I noted was how meticulous my grandpa kept his tackle. 
Almost every piece still had it’s original box.

I’ll go through the box, left to right – top tray and then bottom portion.

You can see my uncle’s research in a couple of the photos. 
He jotted down some notes and some collector values, then placed the note inside the (original) box with the lure. 


First up.  A Lou J. Eppinger K231 (number 18) 3 1/2” red and white Daredevil spoon.   

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In the compartment with the Eppinger spoon is this oddity. 

The box is in German (?) – and is labeled Bergmanspirken.  I took (and combined) photos of each side of the box.  As best as I can tell, it says “Lagligt skydd” on the cover, “För Gädda, Abborre___ös, Laxöring och Röding.” (underline is missing or unintelligible letters) one another side and “INR VARUMÄRKE” on yet another.

It is a very heavy lure.  Hard to see it in the photo, but it is triangular, and solid metal with a single barbed hook.

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Now, and little more commonly know brand…  Pflueger.





The Pflueger #3796. 

A 2 3/4 in “red head” with a propeller and spinning head.

According to my uncle’s research, this lure was in production from 1930-1952.

According to MY research, my grandpa paid $1.59 for it at Montgomery Wards.

Not only did my grandpa keep the lure and the box – he also kept the original instruction sheet!

















Next up, we have a South Bend “Bass-oreno” #973
this one is Red and White, 5/8 oz, and 3 1/2 inches.











A personal favorite, the Fred Arbogast #7504 “Hula Popper”   (I have a couple myself!

This one is yellow.  I have red and white ones, and a larger yellow one similar to this one.








This next lure is also one of my favorites from Grandpas Tackle Box.

The Heddon D350-XRY – Go Deeper River Runt – 3 1/2 inches.
Why is it a favorite?  Not really sure.  I guess I would have to say that it has a nice feel to it. 

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Who can go fishing without a Johnson’s Silver Minnow?

I know I can’t! 

The Johnson’s Silver Minnow has been a staple in MY tackle box since I was a teenager (and spending my hard earned money on fishing tackle)

This golden shiny example is slightly larger, and more gold than the Silver Minnows that currently reside in my tackle box.








Another example of a lure very similar to one I have in my tackle box..

The Helins wooden flatfish X5 – 3 inch.

This particular model (wooden X5) was manufactured through 1948.
They began changing the sizes, colors, and manufacturing materials after 1948.







One more example of the meticulous care that my grandpa had with his lures…

A “made in Finland” Rapala CD-9-G – 3 1/2 inches – in gold coloring.

This one had the box, and also had the instructions / sales brochure still in the box with the lure.






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Another Rapala

This one is the CD-11-GRF – Red – 4 3/8 inch.

Another Rapala made in Finland.










This beautiful specimen is the South Bend Midge-Oreno.

This is the 3/8 oz, 2 1/4 inch, Red and White version.

That is NOT the original box, but it sure fits nicely in there.  I can see why my grandpa put it in this box!








Now, we move to the bottom tray.  The bottom of Grandpa’s Tackle Box contains several ordinary fishing lures (none documented by my Uncle) – many boxed together. 

Floating (pun intended) around the bottom tray were several bobbers of various size, shape, and condition.  There is weights, hooks, and swivels, a spinner and hook rig, and some jigs. 

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There was another small box containing a large spoon and two spinners. 

The back of the orange and black spotted spoon was stamped “FLASH BAIT 66 MPLS, MINN”

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Another oddity (at least to me) was this spoon.  It was GIANT!  I should have measured it.

The Original Doctor Spoon – The 2 in 1 lure.

The instructions (printed on the back) explain how you can convert the spoon into two different (yet equally effective) versions by using the split rings at the head and base – interchanging which end attaches to your line and which end attaches to the hook. 

Another tidbit I found interesting was that the Original Doctor Spoon was made by the Prescott Spinner Company located not far from where I live – in Beautiful Mankato, Minnesota!

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The last lure in this tour is a “Lazy Dazy #503”

Unlike most of the top shelf lures (which were wooden) the Lazy Dazy (proudly?) boasts that it is “Made of Plastic”

I don't know if this is a knockoff of the well known “Lazy Ike” lure (which I own a couple of, and was the first lure I ever received as a young boy!), or if the Lazy Ike is a knockoff of the Lazy Dazy. 

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What fishing tackle box would be complete without a knife (or two) in it? 

Not mine, or My Grandpa’s Tackle Box!

(Top) Sheathed knife.  This one is pretty hefty and has a heavy duty blade (that is corroded and rusted).
(Middle) – Garpin Tackle Company filet knife
(Bottom) – Uh… I don’t know here… I am pretty sure this is just a plain old kitchen knife.  If it is, I am certain my grandma didn’t know it was in there, because I am pretty certain that my grandpa would have got an earful from my grandma! 

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Well, there you have it.  My Grandpa’s Tackle Box. 
For being the avid fisherman he was, he sure had a humble collection of fishing lures. 

I don’t know how true this is, since I really don’t have any recollection of it, but when I picture my grandpa out fishing, I get the feeling / vibe that he was a “hobo fisherman”… What I mean by that is that he was not a “gear guy” who had to have all the best fishing lures and equipment. He didn’t take fishing “too” seriously. 

He seemed to be a guy who only bought what he needed, and took great care of the things he had. 

He seems as if he would have been as happy fishing from the shore or on a dock as he would have been in a boat.

He seems like the kind of guy who could rig up his line (likely, on a cane pole) and just sit back smoking his pipe (as seen in the photo above) while patiently wait for the fish to bite.

He seems like he was the kind of guy who didn’t much care if the fish were biting or not – because “a bad day fishing is still better than a good day working”.

So, I’ll wrap this up with a hop, skip, and a jump up two generations.  Just a couple quick pictures of MY tackle box.

There is a short story behind this box too.  I had an almost identical box from the time I was a young lad.  Over the years, the latch broke, and I have since had a couple of tackle boxes that I have been less than pleased with.  I had explained my dissatisfaction with my tackle box and had been explaining what my old box looked like – when low and behold – about a week later, Best Bud Ed sent me some photos of a tackle box he bought me at a local second hand store!  Other than the color (my original had a green bottom), they were identical.  The “down side” to the box Best Bud Ed found was that many of the dividers were missing.  This, did not bother me, as I still have my empty and broken original!  I will simply pull the dividers out and repurpose them in this box!

I used it once in the fall, and ended up storing it away for the winter before replacing the dividers.  Until then, what you see is what you get!

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