Dear grandpa

Matt Dewell and his grandpa, Bill Flick, share a love of the outdoors.

Bill Flick is a long-time resident of Presbyterian Manor and the Arkansas City community. He is an avid outdoorsman, and has passed his love for nature on to his children and grandchildren. His grandson, Matt Dewell, wrote this essay about his relationship with his grandpa. He was in the eighth grade at this time.

My grandpa is my best friend. He does all the things I like. He is the one who got me hooked on fly-fishing. We do everything together. When I am at his house, we walk, and shoot birds and also ground squirrels. Grandpa buys me junk food even when my parents say no. If I have slipped and fallen into the stream, he is there to pick me up.

He is a fairly tall man with a bald head. His hands are tough and enormous from working with wood and plumbing all his life. His attitude toward life is to do everything now because there might not be any tomorrow. My grandpa is the coolest guy I know.

I started fishing with my grandpa when I was four. I remember having a little Snoopy rod that I caught my first fish on. I was at the lake that he partially owns when I caught this monster fish. I felt the pole jerk, so I yanked it back furiously. My four-year-old body couldn’t hold it. When I felt myself getting pulled in, my grandpa was there to catch me. Then we reeled the fish in together. When we got it up, the fish turned out to be a little four-inch fish. But it was my fish, my first fish.

When my grandpa told me about fly-fishing, I was very excited. It sounded like fun to fling a fly around on a rod like nobody’s business. To have me practice my aim, he made me try to throw the fly into a bucket. Having good aim is important, because if you see a fish in the water, you can just throw your fly right in front of it. Finally, I got out on the stream with a fly.

The fly I used was a mud cricket. I was so eager that I whipped my rod and the fly got caught in a tree. It was my grandpa’s best fly, and I had lost it. I felt so bad, but it seemed he didn’t care. He came over with a smile on his face and just gave me another fly. I didn’t catch anything that day, but I knew whatever I did, my grandpa would still love me.

The next time we went fishing was at a lake. On the way there, he told me that this lake was one of the deepest, and that it had huge fish in it. We started fishing off the dam. Nothing was biting that day. Then we saw a huge gray fish. My grandpa hit it right on the head with a fly and it didn’t budge. The fish just wasn’t hungry. Although we didn’t catch a fish, I have a memory of the biggest fish ever.

When I went to my grandpa’s by myself, I was dreading going to the same streams again. Then when I got there, he told me about his friend Duke. Duke wanted to go fishing with us. My grandpa had a new spot where we could go. This stream was called Turkey Creek. When we got up there, we hiked in about five miles with our gear. Finally, we got to the spot where we wanted to fish.

The sun had not yet come through the trees canopy. Then we saw the hatch on the water and knew it was time to fish.

As we got started, we all were catching fish. This was the best fishing I had ever had.

Next, we found a good clear pool, and my grandpa decided to sit down while I fished there. I threw the fly in a few times and a fish snatched it. By the time I realized what was going on, my grandpa was already on his feet cheering. When I got the fish out of the water, it was a 12-inch Brown. This was the biggest fish I ever had caught. My grandpa had done it. He found the best fishing place ever.

I love my grandpa. He is my best friend. I can do anything with him. He is the most fun guy I know.