We at “Personally Outdoors” have fond memories of times spent with friends and family together in the outdoors. You may have some wonderful memories also that you cherish and would like to have a keepsake of for yourself or for someone dear to you. These occasions could include special times like a wedding celebration, years of dedicated service or retirement, a birthday, a special trip, or a gift to a friend that cannot be part of the trip any longer. Other ideas may include a favorite Bible verse, a favorite quote, a paddle to celebrate the life of a friend or loved one that’s passed on.

Contact us to get more information about ordering your own Personalized Canoe Paddle.

Here is an example of a moment in time shared by friends.

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“Bill’s Paddle”

Some of you know that I grew up on a trout stream, caught my first fish illegally at the age of six, and watched my dad show people, who didn’t believe him, that he could catch a trout with his bare hands at the “tickling hole”. Growing up Dad took my brothers and I to many remote lakes in the U.S. and Canada on a quest for the perfect wilderness, trout fishing adventure. I traversed miles and miles of wilderness to find that perfect unknown lake, at fishing trout, a novice, I WAS NOT!

My father-in-law is the best father-in-law that could be imagined. A retired forester from the U.S. Forest Service who was all too familiar with moving, it was an occupational hazard. One of the many places that Beth’s family sojourned was Two Harbors, MN not far from the Boundary Waters Canoeing Area Wilderness, which was part of the Superior National Forest where he was stationed for several years. Dad Titus had known of my travels trout fishing and desired to treat me to some “real trout fishing”. This place that he referred to as the BWCA had trails, designated camp sites with fire grates, ”potties” ,entry and exit permits…… Clearly a city-slicker adventure! This would be a very different experience for me. A trout fishing adventure to me was getting a map, searching for that lake that had no roads leading to it, putting on a back pack, two guys carrying a canoe and “GET THERE”, whatever it took!!

Dad Titus asked two of his friends to join us and make it a two canoe foursome. That sounded great! I had already been acquainted with “Bill” and they were both my father-in-law’s forest service friends. Bill was and is an awesome guy and dear friend, fun and fun to be around, but I would say not quite an experienced “bush-whacker”. You know fanciful tents, preppy canoes, Cub Scout gadgets you know the drill. Not nearly as experienced at “troutin” as I … just saying. Anyway … we got together to plan the trip, and as you know, that’s when the trip starts, the excitement of the soon to be reality! All the usual stuff when four adventurers get together. We don’t need seventeen salad forks, not for me anyway, two tents, not four, etc. I asked Bill, “What should I bring for tackle”, just a courteous question, I already knew of course, I just wanted to make him feel important. He said, “Just a hammered brass spoon”, I thought, “Really?”…picturing my tackle box full of lures. If a hammered brass spoon could catch fish, I had the goods to “slay” them.

As with every planned adventure, the time arrived. Not having ever seen pictures, the beauty clearly was exceptional. Lake after lake screamed, “Stay here, it does not get any better than this”, but it did! We arrived at our planned camp site to find it empty, as a matter of fact the whole place seemed empty! One big, beautiful place. The next morning was my time! I gathered my fish slaying arsenal and ended up in the bow of Bill’s canoe. It was some distance to our destination, a sunken island in the lake where said fish would be for the taking. We arrived, and it was my job to secure the rock-bag anchor to the bow. I had not noticed, Bill had his pole already “rigged” up and simply unhooked the hammered brass spoon from its mooring on the rod and gave it a flip over his shoulder. Three cranks and … “Wham-O”! I put my pole down that I was in the process of rigging and grabbed the net! The first fish! And so quick!! WOW! Bill expertly fought and maneuvered the laker to the side of the boat. Eureka, we had him in the net! In one motion, Bill put his pole down and threw me the stringer that he had ready. He then picked up his pole again, flip … splash … crank, crank, crank, and WHAM-O. I, was still stringing the No. 1 fish on the stringer and No. 2 was on its way. I tied the stringer to the canoe and grabbed the net. Bill was calm, cool, and collected, and all the while looking at … me. Bill placed the fish alongside the canoe like an expert valet ready for me to net. In the net it was! I was a very good netter. I unhooked his lure and threw it over into the water, and yes … over the shoulder it went crank, crank, crank … No. 3, Bill, all the while looking at me. Something strange occurred to me … somewhere there was a string tied on me that led to his hand. Visions of the preverbal monkey, you know, with the symbols, BANG! BANG! BANG!, and somewhere in Bill’s pocket was the wind up key. I noticed that there was something about his look; it seemed like at the corner of his mouth, if it moved ever so slightly, there would be a slight smile or was it a “Smirk”, but he was far too classy to smirk.

I then did was any bush-whacker would do. I tossed him the net and said, “Net your own fish” and then proceeded to tie a snap-swivel on the end of my line.

My father use to quote an old Proverb, “Youth and enthusiasm is no match for age and treachery”.

Thanks for the wonderful memories Bill, thanks for taking time to be a part of my life, thanks for the time together “outdoors”.

P.S. Well…after a brief washing of my wonderful trout slaying weapons,…there it was…the one hammered brass spoon that had found its way into my tackle box…well…just in case there was a remote chance that, well…that I possibly did not know everything.  Those Boy Scouts! …I’ll tell you! …They are pretty good guys!