It's all about the kids

By: John K. Flores
A couple weeks back, my 10-year-old grandson and I decided to take a trip down the bayous to do a little catfishing. In order to make things easier on me, his dad dropped him off the night before to spend the night.

On the third trip to his room, I was finally able to roust him out of bed. He still needed to get dressed, and his Nana emphasized the night before I was to make sure he had breakfast. A Pop-Tart wasn’t going to hack it — he needed to have some protein.

I was just about to flip the two eggs I had frying when I asked him how he liked his eggs. “Scrambled,” he replied.

“Scrambled? You don’t like them over easy with the yolk?” I asked.

“Scrambled,” he said.

That’s when I “scrambled” to quickly make the most beautiful eggs I ever cooked look like scrambled eggs. What a travesty to eat eggs in a fashion where you can’t dip your toast in the yolk.

By the time we arrived at the landing and got the boat overboard, we were an hour or so later than I really wanted to be. No problem. As my wife says, you can always count on a catfish.

Turning the key to start the engine, there was the distinct, slow-dragging grunt of a near-dead battery — then nothing.

Sighing, I said, “Well, Gabriel, that’s not good.”

“Is there another place we can fish where we don’t need a boat?” he asked and then said, “Like my mama says, when you get lemons, you can always make lemonade.”

In itself, that statement made the morning entirely worthwhile.

I said, “No, buddy, there isn’t another place we can go, but I have an idea.” And, I commenced pulling my troll motor battery out of its compartment and swapped it out with the engine’s battery.

In a nutshell, that’s my version of how the beginning of our trip went. I’ve often wondered what his version of this story would look and sound like if he wrote it down.

The Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association annually, through its Youth Outdoor Journalism contest, provides young people the opportunity to tell their stories and win cash prizes by writing and entering an essay of no less than 300 words.

The essay must be original and unpublished and about a personal experience pertaining to hunting, fishing, boating, camping, hiking or other related outdoor experience. Professional educators and outdoor communicators judge the contest entries.

The essay contest includes two writing age divisions: the 13-and-under Junior Division and the 14-to-18-years- of-age Senior Division.

The YJC program also has a photography category for aspiring young photographers. Unlike the essay contest, the photography contest is for all ages (18 years of age and under).

Those interested in entering this year's contest can go to www.laoutdoorwriters.com and download a printable .pdf that provides contest rules and guidelines. Deadline for YJC is May 11.

LOWA also partners with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in recognizing two youth hunters (male and female) in their popular Youth Hunter of the Year program. Youth Hunters 15-years-of-age and under can enter by sending in a registration form, short story describing the hunt they were on, and photographs of the hunt.

Registration forms for the Youth Hunter of the Year program can be obtained at www.laoutdoorwriters.com or www.wlf.louisiana.gov.

It’s all about the kids where LOWA and the LDWF is concerned, and if these contests aren’t enough, how about taking your youngsters to Sherburne Wildlife Management Area on May 12 (the day before Mother’s Day) for some all day fun on their “Stepping Outside Day?”

Stepping Outside Day includes all sorts of outdoor activities youth can participate in that include archery, shooting, fishing, rock climbing, decoy painting, duck calling, and that’s just to name a few. Everyone also gets to eat.

All of these programs are made possible by numerous sponsors and volunteers — far too many to list — who care about the future of our youth. When your young person wins and/or participates in any of these programs, be sure to thank these dedicated supporters for their generosity in championing outdoor youth programs.

Once my grandson and I got under way and later anchored at one of my favorite honey holes for blue catfish, we commenced to catch more than enough for supper. It’s too bad he is ineligible for these contests. Unfortunately, his grandpa happens to be a member of LOWA, serves on the board of directors and is on the YJC committee, serving as a judge.

But, that doesn’t mean a few local St. Mary Parish aspiring writers and photographers can’t enter.

What’s more, I hope to see you at our annual banquet in August when you receive your award for winning.

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If you wish to make a comment or have an anecdote, recipe or story you wish to share, you can contact John K. Flores at 985-395-5586 or gowiththeflo@cox.net.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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