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Eighteen in, eighteen out

May 26, 2013
Tom Boheman , Reinbeck Courier

OK, now I understand why the Pilgrims would have perished were it not for their Native American saviors. Take a bunch of green horn caucasians into the wilderness to fend for themselves and you end up with a bunch of really skinny, hungry white people looking at each other like they are a side of beef on the hoof. At least if the kids I took to Pilgrim Heights were indeed Pilgrims, their first order of business would have been to send out a search party looking for a guy dressed like a clown standing underneath a huge golden letter M poking his head out the drive through window. Living off the fat of the land might be a challenge for this bunch!

It was once again time to take our annual pilgrimage (there may be a lot of references to pilgrims in this article!) to Pilgrim Heights for our fishing excursion and service learning opportunity. We loaded our Snoopy poles, sunscreen and bug juice onto the bus on the May the 10th and hoped to bring everyone home alive. Eighteen people left on the expedition and eighteen returned so objective number one was thankfully accomplished. Luckily Mr. Messerly and Mr. Bailey tagged along just incase we needed to form a search party or administer first aid. I thought they might come in handy if any of those services were needed for anyone besides me. Being the dutiful, concerned wife she is, Kress sewed my name in my underwear just in case someone had to identify my remains at a later date.

Mr. Messerly had prepared a list of service learning projects for us to accomplish while we were there. One of those activities included thinning out some invasive tree species. He had asked me to bring along an ax and I reminded him that he had obviously been out of teaching for awhile because I thought it prudent we bring home eighteen bodies and 180 fingers and an equal amount of toes. None the less, the tree thinning went on without incident and he was pleased with the kids hard work. My crew was in charge of applying wood sealer to the outdoor sanctuary and I am happy to report that at least 50% of the sealer did in fact end up on sanctuary wood.

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After the work was accomplished, it was time to drown some worms and see if we could hook anything besides one another. Fishing was obviously something new to several of the kids or they were under the impression fish habitat is found 20 feet above the waterline in a tree. At least that is the impression I got based upon many of the casts I was witness to. One of the annual events while at Pilgrim Heights is our fishing contest. My record was somewhat unofficial this year but none the less, my record does remain unblemished regardless of what Cam Kickbush might say. Evidently there is one altruistic fish swimming within the confines of the lake and it sacrificed its own well being just to lessen the sting of Cam's embarrassment at being shut out in the fishing contest.

Now I consider myself a trophy fisherman and all that seemed to be biting on this day were pan fish and being the selfless person I am, I not only gave my seat in the boat to Mikayla Knack, I also allowed her to use my pole. She hopped into Mr. Bailey's boat and as they pulled away from shore I wished them luck and saw Mr. Bailey put on three life jackets and a hard hat with a somewhat concerned look on his face. Long story short, Mikayla catches the biggest fish of the day on the first cast. After catching the behemoth she must have gotten into the Christmas spirit and began decorating the trees surrounding the lake with an assortment of my fishing lures. Evidently projectile trajectories are yet to be covered in physics class.

All in all it was a great day and I thank Mr. Bailey and Mr. Messerly for helping me out. A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article praising the kids we have here at GR and this day was no exception. They worked hard, played hard and did an excellent job of representing our school and I was very proud of what they accomplished and how they conducted themselves. Based upon the fishing contest outcome, I have offered to be Cam's "Mr. Miagi" and mentor him in the fine art of fishing. Remember Cam, "wax on, wax off"!



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